FALLING ROCK, W.Va. -- A freshman is supposed to have a rough time adjusting to the fast and physical competition at the high school level.
That hasn't been the case with Herbert Hoover's Chase Stover, who was among nine wrestlers to capture their individual weight class Wednesday evening in leading the host Huskies to the title at the Class AA Cardinal Conference Tournament in Falling Rock.
Stover turned in a 3-0 record in the quad format to capture the 106-pound class in what amounted to a light workout, with only four schools participating and not every team fielding a grappler in all classes. Mingo Central only had two wrestlers.
The 5-foot-6 Stover is rising to the top this season and is now fifth in the West Virginia Coaches Association-wvmat.com Class AA-A individual rankings. Two weeks ago, he finished seventh at the prestigious WSAZ Invitational, which is also the largest tournament in the state.
"It's been kind of tough,'' said Stover, who owns a 27-4 record with 20 pins. "You've just got to go out there and wrestle smart.
"I didn't think the matches would be this tough. Kids are smarter in high school. I just take it step by step. Just got to work hard to achieve my goals.''
Stover moved up from the middle school ranks with some skins already on the wall. He was runner-up at the WSAZ Invitational middle school division last year, then captured the Kanawha County championship, finishing with a 41-1 mark.
"He's a little better than I expected,'' said Hoover coach Heath Perry. "He's experienced and athletic, fast and strong. He's been wrestling a long time. He's come in a couple of steps ahead of everybody else. He's got what it takes.''