Three more wins!
That's all that stands between 29 area grapplers and a trip to the Ohio High School Athletic Association's State Wrestling Tournament.
However, the competition will be fierce as the local matmen trek to Philo Junior High School, which is just eight miles south of Zanesville near Duncan Falls, for the Division III District Tournament.
T-L File Photo/KIM NORTH
BARNESVILLE FRESHMAN Hobie Howiler controls Sandy Valley’s Evan Offenberger during their 120-pound Division III?sectional final match last Saturday at Barnesville High School. Howiler prevailed by a 7-1 decision to earn a trip to this weekend’s district at Philo Junior High School.
The tournament opens Friday at 4 p.m. and two championship rounds will be contested that evening. Saturday's morning session will begin at 9 a.m. with consolation matches. Championship semifinals are slated to begin at approximately 1 p.m.
The final session of the tournament, which includes all place matches, will begin at 5 p.m. The top four finishers in each weight class will earn a trip to Columbus for next week's state meet at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
Here's a look at area team's entrants and first-round matchups.
BARNESVILLE - The Shamrocks will take a trio of grapplers, all of whom are underclassmen, into this weekend's district tournament.
Freshman Hobie Howiler leads the way for the Shamrocks after he won the sectional title last weekend. He's currently 38-5 on the season and will tangle with Garaway's Logan Hershberger, who is 14-25 in the first round.
Sophomore Colin Wilson has had a very strong season for the Shamrocks. He's currently 28-7 on the season and was sectional runnerup last weekend. He'll meet Adena's Nic Peecher, who is 15-6 in the first round.
Freshman Taylor Griffin earned the fourth and final spot from the Barnesville sectional at 132 pounds. He's 27-13 on the season and will meet Danville's Cade Mickley (43-2) in the first round.
BEALLSVILLE - The Blue Devils will be represented by just one wrestler this weekend, but he's a quality one.
Junior Bruce Sefert finished third in last weekend's sectional to earn his trip to Philo. He'll bring a 35-16 mark into his first-round match with Westfall's Colton Park, who is 15-16 on the season.
BELLAIRE - Carrying the torch for the Big Reds is senior standout Nick Maffe, who's enjoyed an impressive final campaign.
Maffe finished third in the sectional last week at 152 pounds. His next match will come against Johnstown-Monroe's Alex Workman. Maffe is now 29-10 on the season, while Workman is 29-6 on the season.
MONROE CENTRAL - The Seminoles have a solid trio of entrants in this weekend's district meet.
Leading the way are a pair of sectional champions.
Rodney Richter was the gold medalist at 113 pounds. The Seminoles' sophomore is 17-2 on the season and will meet Mt. Gilead's Brock Moreland in the first round.
Sophomore Chase Carothers rallied for a victory in the 132-pound final last weekend. He'll meet Coshocton's Brennen Alverson. Carothers is 25-6 for the season, while Alverson is 24-24.
Senior Zac Potts, an all-Ohioan a season ago, was sectional runnerup last week at Barnesville and is now 26-9 on the season. He'll meet Columbus Bishop Ready's Will Martello (27-12) in the first round.
MARTINS FERRY - The Purple Riders' contingent is five deep with a trio of sectional champions included.
Senior standout Damon Outward leads the way as he seeks yet another trip to the state tournament. He was a winner by decision at 126 pounds in last week's secitonal. Now 41-5, Outward will meet Johnstown-Monroe's Hayden Bullard, who is 34-17.
Senior Zac Coole has had a strong season as well. He was the sectional champion at 220 pounds. He's now 39-7 on the season and will meet Paint Valley's DeShawn Davis on Friday.
Sophomore Theo Zoumpoulidis was crowned sectional champion at 106 pounds last week. With a 23-11 record, he'll face Southeastern's Alex Gordy, who is a 22-10 freshman.
Sophomore Bryce Coleman is the Purple Riders' 138-pound entrant. He finished second in last week's sectional and will now take on Belpre's Daniel Law, who is 11-5.
Sophomore Jonathan Bodkin finished third in the sectional and is now 23-3 on the season at 285 pounds. He'll Grandview Heights' junior A.J. Pinyard (26-9).
RIVER - The Pilots, who have had an impressive season under first-year head coach Eric Rosen - will be represented by three grapplers this weekend.
Senior J.D. Dotson was sectional runnerup at 220 pounds last week. Now 31-5 on the season, he'll meet Nelsonville-York's Justin Coon (23-15).
Junior Brett Rosen earned the bronze medal at last week's sectional at 195 pounds. He's now 23-12 on the season and will meet Columbus Academy's Dan Jones (27-5) in the opening round.
Junior Kole Smith qualified at 160 pounds by virtue of a fourth-place finish in the district. He'll tangle with Galion Northmor's Rob Mickey (39-7) to begin the district.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Red Devils have one of the area's largest delegations with six wrestlers making the trip to suburban Zanesville.
Senior Corey Ernest, who narrowly missed a state berth last season, will lead the way with a 36-3 record. He was sectional champion and will now meet Amanda Clearcreek's Seth Hollet (18-22).
Senior Dalton Nolte has had an impressive season at 160 pounds. He was sectional runnerup and will now meet Centennial's Jared Pack, who is 32-10.
Junior Alex Timko was runnerup last week in the sectional. Now 26-13, he'll meet Fredericktown's Cameron Snyder (27-15) in the first round.
Senior Justin Callarik gets the call at 138 pounds for the Red Devils. He finished third in the sectional and is now 32-7 on the season and will meet Southeastern's Travis Abner, who is 36-8.
Senior Seth Benge was sectional silver medalist at 170 pounds. He's now 32-7 on the season and will meet Wellston's Marcus Mullens, who is 31-5 on the season.
Freshman Michael Furbee has put together an impressive first campaign at the challenging 220-pound weight class. He was third in the sectional last week. His reward is a date with Meigs' Daylen Neese, who is just a sophomore and 38-6.
SHADYSIDE - The Tigers equal the Red Devils for the highest number of competitors with six.
Coach Scott Kinemond's squad is led by its senior trio of sectional and OVAC champions.
Senior Alex Quinn, the defending bronze medalist in the state, is one of just two wrestlers at Philo this weekend still sporting an undefeated record. He's 37-0 on the season and will begin his quest for a return trip to Columbus against Columbus Academy's Jeremy Schroeder, who is 21-16.
Senior Ian Baker, who is a returning all-Ohioan for the Tigers, is seeking his third trip to the state tounament. Baker is now 38-2 on the season and will meet Paint Valley junior Dominic Salmone, who is 15-19 on the season.
Senior Chase Kinemond rounds out the Tigers' 'Big 3' at 160 pounds. He's seeking his first trip to state since 2010. He's 34-2 on the season and will meet Garaway's Tucker Boreman, who is 24-14.
Junior Zach Meadows qualified to the district at 285 pounds by finishing fourth in the sectional. He'll meet Columbus Bishop Ready's Patrick Garren, who is an impressive 34-1.
Sophomore Wyatt Skapik has put together a solid year for the Tigers with a 24-15 record at 106 pounds. He was fourth in the sectional and will meet Belpre's Gavin Stahnaker, who is 28-5.
Freshman Brett Kahl has also had an impressive campaign at 138 pounds. He sports a 27-13 record, entering a district meeting with Crooksville senior Aaron Keister, who is 30-9.
UNION LOCAL - The Jets will take just one entrant to the district and that's junior Zac Sowers at 132 pounds.
After finishing second in the sectional, Sowers will put his 26-11 on the line against Garaway's Jesse Blake, who is 29-13.
Staskey can be reached at email@example.com