Patriots and Big Reds head to state tournament

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PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (WTAP)- The final adjustments were made for Patriot and Big Red wrestlers as they are set to head to Huntington for the state tournament.

The Parkersburg South Patriots are coming off their ninth straight regional title, which they captured on February 18. The goal this weekend, is to leave Huntington with their third straight class AAA state championship.

12 wrestlers are headed to state and these wrestlers are used to the big stage. So experience is a plus.

Senior Justin Allman, the 195-pound wrestler, accomplished something only two other wrestlers at South have ever done: win four regional titles.

Adding another state championship to his resume would be nice as well as giving South its 21st state championship.

"I just need to keep my mind right, just have no doubt and just work the kids with my feet," Allman said.

"Trust their training, trust themselves and trust us as coaches," second-year head coach Shaun Smith said of his team.

"We will point them in the right direction. Trust what they do well and just go out and take it."

The Parkersburg High Big Reds are searching for their first state championship since 2008 and would love to win their 22nd title in school history.

10 wrestlers from PHS are headed to Huntington and the team's last practice was just to fine tune the things that will get them through matches.

The Big reds have been battle-tested and with the help of a pair of seniors, they are prepared for this moment.

"They've been in these situations before. They've wrestled big tournaments, big matches," said head coach Chris Way who is in his eighth season.

"So they know how to wrestle in an environment like this. They're well conditioned. They're mentally tough. So all of those factors come into play."

"I kind of just wanted to show everybody that I was a hard worker, so they'd be like 'okay, I should listen to him because he knows how it takes to be a state champ, how it takes to be the hardest worker in the room,'" said senior Jared Donahue, who won a state title in 2016.

"Our coaches every day, they're always preaching to us there's a picture on the wall of the last state championship team, 2008," said senior Donavon McCue of what winning a title would mean to the program.

"They always want to replace that and get those guys off. Get them a break and put another one up there to beat."

The state tournament gets underway on Thursday afternoon.

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