CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington will try do to something this weekend that coach Richard Harper says hasn't been done in quite a while at - win a regional wrestling championship.
The Patriots, who have risen to the No. 7 spot in the most recent wvmat.com rankings, will travel to Ripley High School on Saturday to compete in the Region 3 tournament. Weigh-ins will be at 8 a.m. with wrestling starting around 10 a.m.
The top four finishers in each weight class clinch berths to the state meet held Feb. 27-March 1 at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.
GW has nine wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in their respective weight classes on wvmat.com, with five ranked among the top four.
"Overall, we've done pretty well," Harper said. "We've had some good finishes at some of these bigger tournaments, but we're going to keep working at it. The season is practice until you get to the regionals, which are basically an extension of the state tournament. Our goal is to do well in the regionals to put us in a good spot at the state tournament and get on the podium or win a state title as an individual or team possibly. You've got to go in aiming to win it."
The Patriots were in the brutally tough Region 4 until a couple of years ago, when Point Pleasant moved from Class AA to Class AAA. That move caused a redrawing of regions and moved the Patriots into a more manageable region.
George Washington will be the highest-ranked team in Region 3 on Saturday with Ripley coming in at No. 10 as the only other team to appear in the rankings.
Harper said that he believes the last GW regional title came in the 1960s or '70s.
And while he knows his team is in a good spot and he admits a region title would be a special accomplishment for his squad, he's not ready to declare the Patriots the winners just yet.