From the Bench: Making an Early Top Athlete Call in Harrison County for 2022-23 - Tribe's Kamar Summers

By Jeff Toquinto on March 12, 2023 from Sports Blog via

As is often the case in this blog, I like to talk about some of the things from the past and rank them. There have been blogs on the greatest athlete in Bridgeport High School history, who are the coaches on the BHS Mount Rushmore, my own personal top performances I have witnessed in several sports.
I have even done a blog on the greatest sports venue in Harrison County. One thing I have never done is a blog proclaiming who is currently the best athlete in Harrison County.
That changes today.
You can agree. You can disagree. You can be indifferent. What you cannot do is change my mind since, after all, this is my opinion, and I am going to lay out my argument.
As a preface to this, this is not a slight to any other athlete in Harrison County. Believe, there are plenty of talented young women and men out there doing big things, leading their team to victory, and even earning college scholarships.
With that formality out of the way, allow me to introduce you to the best athlete in Harrison County. And that would be Bridgeport High School senior Kamar Summers.
I am making the proclamation prior to the start of the spring sports season. I am making the proclamation fully aware the spring sports season has not yet started. I make that fully aware that Summers is not a spring sports participant – although I have a suspicion that he might make a pretty good addition to the shot put crew for the BHS boys track team.
What makes me think Summers has separated himself from the pack? Summer just wrapped up his prep career in wrestling. He finished as the Class AAA heavyweight champion with a 34-0 mark and was ranked number one the entire season.
The ranking and title came after he missed his entire junior year with a knee injury. It came after a sophomore year coming off a knee injury where he also went 12-0 due to matches being canceled by COVID. As a sophomore, he was considered a favorite by man to win the heavyweight division but the team could not compete in Huntington due to COVID exposure.
For his career, Summers finished 77-15. The 15 losses? They all came during a 31-15 freshman year where he still made the podium in Huntington as he finished sixth in the heavyweight division when the Indians were in their last year in Class AA.
I think we can safely say he would have finished his career with 100-plus wins rather easily without COVID and without injury. But, for the sake of this year, he was healthy, and dominant to a level that is difficult to achieve in what I have always called the most difficult sport there is.
His coach, Chris Courtney, who knows just a bit about wrestling, had nothing but praise for his state champion.
"He was very dominant.  He went 34-0; 28 of the 34 wins were by fall," said Courtney. "Actually his last loss was during his freshmen year ...  He put it all on the line for his senior year and it showed.  I cant be more happier for him.  He has transformed over the last 3 years both on and off the mat into a true leader and champion."
And if he wants to wrestle at the next level?
"If Kamar sets out to accomplish a goal then no one should put a ceiling on what that young man can accomplish," said Courtney. "He is an exceptional competitor.  Any athlete moving on to compete on the collegiate level should be open-minded and critically examine any and everything that can help them evolve in their sport.  As a coach, it is tough to teach grit.  Kamar has plenty of that!  He would just need to fine tune his approach to wrestling to adapt to the next level." 
While it can be argued there were better wrestlers in different weight classes, it will be hard to argue about the second part of the argument of which I am about to put forth. It comes in the sport Summers played in the fall – football.
Not only did he help lead Bridgeport to its 55th-straight non-losing season, and its 30th-straight state playoff appearance, and into the quarterfinals where they fell to state power Martinsburg, but he did so like he did in wrestling – he was dominant.
Like the wrestling argument, this is not some homer trying to promote the local guy because his results proved how solid he was. This time, I have been beaten to the punch in singing his praises.
Summers was selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association as the Stydahar winner. That award is given to the best lineman in the state regardless of classification. Regardless of what side of the ball he was on, Summers was in a word you have already seen too often – dominant.
Defensively, his numbers as a defensive tackled do not jump off the page but he did face a double-team on virtually every snap and still finished with 29 tackles, five for a loss and three sacks. If he wasn’t making a play, the attention commanded by Summers paved the way for other Indians to make a stop.
Offensively, which is where he earned Class AAA all-state honors, Summers was a monster in Bridgeport’s single-wing offense. The Tribe, which rarely throws the ball, managed to average 368 years rushing per contest with much of it behind the power blocking of Summers.
Summers’ accomplishment this year is rare but has happened before. Most recently, in 2019, Fairmont Senior’s Zach Frazier was a heavyweight wrestling champion and the Stydahar winner.
In fact, in 2011 Garrett Stanley won the state heavyweight championship in wrestling and managed to earn recognition as the state’s top lineman – then called the Hunt Award. I imagine one could have made the argument Stanley was Harrison County’s top athlete or, at worst, in the argument.
This year, in my eyes, no one has dominated two sports to the level Summers in Harrison County, perhaps the region, and maybe the state. There is no award for Jeff Toquinto calling you the best athlete in Harrison County and even if you do not agree with my assessment, it would be hard to disagree what he has done is worth talking about.
Congratulations to Kamar Summers on entering some rarified air that includes some very special company.
Editor's Note: Photos of Kamar Summers in wrestling and football by Joe LaRocca.

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