By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
Last week East Fairmont wrestling coach John Geary called Hayden Stewart “the best-kept secret in Marion County.”
After the 152-pounder took first place in the Region I A/AA Wrestling Tournament at the Woody Williams Armory, it’s safe to say the secret it out.
Stewart was one of six from Marion County who earned first place. East Fairmont’s Dalton Michael (138 pounds) and Cam Stewart (170 pounds), Fairmont Senior’s Vincent Delligatti (220 pounds) and Anthony Alvaro (145 pounds) and North Marion’s Ryan Elliott (120 pounds) also posed for pictures on the top step of the podium.
In total, 28 Marion County wrestlers placed in the top six to make the podium at the tournament. Of those, 22 finished in the top four to advance to the state wrestling tournament in Huntington.
The strong performances from local wrestlers helped propel North Marion (212.5 points), East Fairmont (154 points) and Fairmont Senior (132.5 points) to second, third and fourth, respectively. Oak Glen (253.5 points) won the regional tournament, with 13 of its wrestlers advancing to the state tournament.
Hayden Stewart, who was a runner-up in the regional tournament his sophomore year before sitting out the end of last season with concussions, said it was nice to share the moment with Michael, his training partner, and Cam, his brother.
“We’ve been working hard every day, getting better, pushing each other,” he said. “Hard work pays off.”
The Stewart brothers performance also made their mother, Mellisa, a busy woman, as the winner’s mother presented the medals and trophies to all six winners in that weight class. Because of Cam and Hayden’s performances, Mrs. Stewart had double-duty.
“She’s my number one fan,” said Cam. “I can’t thank her enough for everything that she does.”
Brotherly love was a common theme at the tournament. Not one, but two pairs of brothers helped the Huskies to their second-place finish.
In addition to Ryan Elliott’s first-place finish, Kyle Elliott (132 pounds), Ryan Arnett (145 pounds) and Tyler Arnett (195 pounds) earned second, along with 126-pounder Caleb Kuhn.
Joe Efaw (106 pounds), Austin Stanley (132 pounds) and Andrew Lewis (152 pounds) finished third. And 220-pounder Roger Cummings came in fourth. All will advance to states.
Gavin Barker (160 pounds) and Jakob Guy (170 pounds) took home fifth place finishes.
For East Fairmont, Gianni Vandetta (113 pounds) and Brody Nesslerotte (132 pounds) placed third. Daynon Foster (126 pounds) and Matt Hopwood (160 pounds) took fourth.
Teague Seccuro (106 pounds) wrestled to fifth and Mike Moore (220 pounds) ended up sixth.
And for Fairmont Senior, Brent Barber (285 pounds) placed third. Chris Carvillano (106 pounds), Brent Wyne (138 pounds) and Tre Lewis (170 pounds) took fourth to join Delligatti and Alvaro at next week’s tournament.
Jarrod Bosley (120 pounds) and Jaron Summers (195 pounds) each finished fifth.
Delligatti, who placed third in last year’s state tournament, said that while the accomplishments at the regional tournament are nice, he and the rest of the competitors aren’t finished yet.
“In order to go to states, you’ve got to place at regionals. It’s just another step toward the state tournament,” he said. “The main goal is states.”
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.