WHEELING - The Shadyside Tigers' trio of Alex Quinn, Ian Baker and Chase Kinemond have spent countless hours together in the wrestling room.
However, this is the first time since 2010 that all three are in the OVAC Tournament together for one reason or another.
The trio is on cusp of adding their names to a large and crowded board of OVAC champions at Shadyside High School.
SHADYSIDE’S Chase Kinemond wrestles against Caldwell’s Caleb VanMeter during their 160-pound quarterfinal Friday night. Kinemond won with a pin.
However, you'll only hear each talk about the next match at hand and not get caught looking ahead.
"It's same stuff, different day," said Baker, a two-time runnerup. "You just have to go out and wrestle. You have to seize the moment."
Baker has been in the finals as a freshman and junior and is looking to get the OVAC monkey off his back this year at 145 pounds.
"Having (Chase and Alex) in the semifinals too means the world," Baker continued. "We all work hard together and we should all be rewarded together."
Quinn, meanwhile, was a finalist as a frosh, missed his sophomore campaign and came back last season to win the 152-pound title and has his eyes on a repeat.
"It's the same routine," Quinn said. "It's nice that we've been here before because we know we won't be starstruck. We know what to prepare for and know how to get past this."
Quinn knows he's got a match to win before reaching the finals, but he's also well versed in his Tigers' wrestling history.
"I want to be in the same breath as guys like Mike Miller, Johnny Merryman and guys like that," Quinn said. "I feel like I am wrestling pretty well right now, but I know there's room for improvement."
Kinemond, meanwhile, is back in the semifinals for the first time since 2011 after missing last season with a knee injury he sustained in football. He's bumped up several weight classes to 160 pounds and has cruised through three rounds thus far.
"Getting this far is a great feeling, but I've been here before and I am still taking it one match at a time," Kinemond said. "I felt a little sluggish and rusty when I first came back this season, but I feel good about where I'm at now."
The coaches proved once again this season they know what they're doing when it comes to the seed meeting.
For the first time in a long time, nary an unseeded wrestler has made his way into the championship semifinals. Three of the weight classes had a perfect eight for eight in the quarters and three have all four of the top seeds still alive and kicking for the individual title.
On top of those facts, all of the top 28 seeds in the tournament are still alive, meaning nary a first or second seed has tasted defeat.
ON THE BOARD
All 39 schools entered in the tournament got on the board, but a few won't produce a placer. Clay-Battelle was the first school eliminated. It packed up its team area before the Friday evening session.
During the second round of Friday's action, love was in the air when Beallsville's Robert Valentine and Meadowbrook's T.J. Love in the second round consolation match. Valentine prevailed in the match by a 3-2 count.
Another batch of special presentations was made prior to the start of action Friday evening. The Syd Stolz Award was presented to recognize three gentlemen who've been long-time volunteers at the tournament. They were Bob Butts, Mickey Duffy and Sam Sadoski.
A newly created award, the Cindy Clegg Medical Award, was presented to Todd Fullerton, who spearheads the medical staffing at the OVAC Tournament.
Mr. Mat - the top award in OVAC Wrestling - will be presented this evening.
CHANGE IN SCHEDULE
Tonight's finals won't begin until 7 p.m., which is a half hour later than normal. According to announcements made at the event, the shift in time was made because of television. NBC is carrying the Pittsburgh Penguins opener this afternoon and WTOV-9 will carry the wrestling finals live. Thus, the schedule needed to be altered.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org