WSAZ Invitational concludes with Vaughn, Lanham taking titles

January 20, 2019

HUNTINGTON — Saturday night’s conclusion of the WSAZ Invitational wrestling tournament at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena marked a transition from the regular season to the post-season and plenty of contestants showed they’re ready.

Cabell Midland, for instance, will have its next meet Jan. 26 at the Mountain State Athletic Conference tournament at Parkersburg. Two final regular season meetings between Saturday’s WSAZ Invitational final and the end of the month await the Knights and the first meet in February will be the WVSSAC Region IV tournament also at Parkersburg.

Isaiah Vaughn will be among those looking to take his performance from this weekend’s tournament into the post-season.

Vaughn, a sophomore, battled his way through to the finals in the 138-pound weight class for a shot at the final for his fifth match in two days.

“Yes, I’m tired,” Vaughn said after defeating Point Pleasant’s Mitchell Freeman for the championship. “But it’s all in the head. If you want to push through it and block the negative then you will.”

The sophomore won the championship this year after finishing seventh this season, the only Cabell Midland wrestler to win in the championship round.

Point Pleasant, however, dominated the rest of the event.

Sophomore Isaac Short (106-pounds), freshman Derek Raike (120) each won championships while a host of other wrestlers from the Class AA school took home plaques as finishing among the top eight in their weight classes.

In the end, Point Pleasant easily defeated its Class AA competition scoring 230.5 points, the highest point total at the high school level. Ranked No. 1 in its class by West Virginia coaches the Big Blacks outdistanced East Fairmont (160) and defending state champion Independence (151). Additionally, Point Pleasant brought so many wrestlers it wound up fielding a second team in the competition that scored 92.5 points, good for seventh place in Class AA.

Zane Lanham continued his dominance also. The Huntington senior won his weight class at 182-pounds with a 7-1 victory over Nate Kotsko of East Fairmont to help push the Highlanders to the Class AAA championship with 194.5 points. Johnson Central came in second with 176.5.

Class A went to St. Joseph Academy from Pennsylvania with 213 points from several individual championships. Edison won the middle school team championship with 256 points, the most of any team.

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