By Allen Hamrick
The annual Bob Stover Classic Duals was held this past Saturday, and what a tournament it was. Bob Stover and wife Rozella was in attendance and accepted the Lifetime Commitment award for their unwavering service to the youth of this county in the field of wrestling. Coach Stover has long been a legend in the world of wrestling, coaching many young wrestlers to go beyond what is asked and become champions. Coach Stover, now 86 years young, could probably still easily handle most wrestlers on the mat. His lifelong dedication to the sport will never be forgotten as long as the mats are rolled out on the floor. More than congratulations, a big thank you is more appropriate and a place of honor is given to you for living a life of service to the sport.
With that being said, the wrestlers from all the schools represented brought their A game and put on a show. A team simply cannot come into the Panther’s den to attempt to whip them out and not expect retaliation. Clay’s team went undefeated in the first four rounds and sent their opponents home with a big box of tissues crying to Grandma. They defeated Webster 78-6 in a pure unrelenting beast mode, no quarter given match. They went on to beat Hurricane JV 71-6, Buffalo 48-30, and the X-team 78-6. Roane melted through their rounds, as well, beating Doddridge 54-24, Elkins 72-6, Cabell Midland JV 63-9 and Clay JV 66-13.
This put Clay Varsity and Roane County into the championship round and it was a doozie. It was a pinning frenzy for the Panthers with six of the matches ending in pins. Roane had four of their own. In the end, it was the Panthers becoming champions handily beating Roane 51-27.
No one, it seems, can handle the speed and power the Panther wrestlers have. It was said several times at the tournament, “No one is going to come into our house and beat us,” and they proved it because no one did. If you were there, you got to see some of the best gut-wrenching, heart thumping action. If you weren’t there, you missed some great wresting that was probably some of the best around, all out bone crushing action.
Participating in the duals was Clay, Roane, Buffalo, Doddridge, Hurricane JV, Cabell Midland JV, Elkins, Webster, Clay JV and the X-team. Thanks to all the teams who came out and made the Bob Stover Classic a great one once again. The Bob Stover Classic Duals was a great tournament, a great testament to unwavering will of the Clay County Panthers wrestling team. Receiving the Most Outstanding Wrestler award in the 106-144 weight classes was Zane Minger of Clay and in the 150- 285 weight class was Lane Watson of Roane.
All in all, the Panther wrestling team is at the top of their game and top horses in the stable, for now. On Saturday, January 6th, they will travel to the WV Armory in Summersville for the WV Army National Guard Duals, a huge tournament that will test every muscle in each wrestler.
It also has to be said a big thanks goes out to all those who worked behind the scenes, either fixing the king’s banquet in the cafeteria to cleaning up afterward – all was appreciated. Also, big thanks go out to Tim Casto and his wife Michelle for providing the mats and clocks for the event; without people such as these, there would be no events. Tim has been on the front lines of the wrestling and football worlds for a long time making sure local youth get the chance to compete. His good will is nearly unmatched for the youth of this county. Congratulations once again to Bob Stover and his achievement award and to the Panther wrestling team.