RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Months before winter sports were set to begin, there were a lot of questions as to how different sports would operate.
One of the biggest concerns was whether wrestling would take place at all.
“It’s just been amazing, we didn’t know if we were gonna get the chance now we are here and we are ready to go win another state championship,” said Noah Brown.
Brown, from Greenbrier West High School, took home a state championship in 2020 in the 220 weight class.
He said the uncertainty of the season gave him time to bulk up, paving the way to claim the Region Three Championship in the 285 weight class.
COVID-19 took a toll on sports programs across the country, including the Independence Patriots, who hosted this years’ regional tournament.
“This is the first time we’ve had our whole team together probably all season,” said Jeremy Hart, Independence high school wrestling coach.
The Patriots on the mat showed out in front of the home crowd. All 14 wrestlers on the team qualified for the state tournament while half of them were named the regional champion in their respective weight class.
Hart said he is proud to see his guys become part of the legacy this program carries.
“I mean that’s hard to believe, we have had some great teams and not qualified our whole team for states. This is one of the first times I can remember really,” said Hart.
With 281 points for the program, Independence claimed the Region Three Championship. Hart said the best part about the win was doing so in front of their friends and family.
“It’s fun to win here, we always have some stragglers come in here and root us on here ever year and follow us around wherever they go, and I mean they all talked about how proud they were,” said Hart.
The wrestlers who qualified now look ahead to the state wrestling tournament which begins Apr. 19, 2021 and runs until Apr. 22, 2021.