COLUMBUS - The area's number of grapplers still alive in the Division III State Wrestling Tournament has been trimmed to seven.
However, four of the 10 matmen on the campus of The Ohio State University this weekend are still alive, as of this morning's quarterfinal round, for the coveted state championship.
The tournament got under way Thursday afternoon at the Jerome Schottenstein Center with first-round bouts in all three divisions as well as a consolation round in each division.
Shadyside and Martins Ferry, which each sent three grapplers, to the state tournament both had two win their opening-round matches.
The Tigers, who are currently tied for 17th place in the team rankings, will have seniors Ian Baker and Alex Quinn taking part in this morning's quarterfinals.
"Ian wrestled really well and Alex was impressive in winning big," said Shadyside head coach Scott Kinemond. "Obviously, with each round, the matches get tougher, so we'll have to be ready (for Friday)."
Baker, who was beaten in the district final, took down Genoa Area's Drew Kennon, who had 61 victories coming into the weekend, by a major decision, 9-0.
The Tigers' 145-pounder will next face defending state champion Jacob Danishek of Dayton Christian in the quarterfinals.
Alex Quinn, who is the defending bronze medalist at 152 pounds, stayed undefeated for the season with another impressive victory. He posted an 11-0 victory against Genoa Area's Jake Fejes.
Quinn will meet Cincinnati Madeira's Tyler Williamson in the quarterfinals.
At 160 pounds, senior Chase Kinemond's return to the state tournament didn't go as he had planned. Kinemond was edged, 3-2, by Massillon Tuslaw's D.J. Blair.
However, Kinemond, who won the district at Philo, bounced back and posted a 5-1 decision of Harrod Allen East's Max McAdoo to earn a spot in today's consolation second round.
Martins Ferry senior standout Damon Outward, fresh off winning the district tournament at Philo, continued his string of fine wrestling. The Purple Riders' 126-pounder posted a 13-5 major decision victory against Versailles' Andrew Slonkosky.
"Damon dominated his match," Ferry head coach Scott Roth said.
Next up for Outward is a date with Norwalk St. Paul's Wes Fritz in today's quarterfinal.
At 220 pounds, senior Zac Coole continued his strong postseason with a slim 4-3 victory against Freemont St. Joe's Corey Durbin.
Coole will seek a berth in the state semifinals this morning when he squares off against Blanchester's Travis Boyd.
"Coole really gutted one out," Roth said. "He got a big last-second takedown to win."
Roth, a former undefeated state champion in 2000, was able to get a bit of scouting report on Outward and Coole's next opponents.
"I think their quarterfinal matchups are favorable," Roth said. "I had a chance to watch their opponents and I think we match up well."
The first time to the state tournament wasn't as kind to sophomore Theo Zoumpoulidis, who took part at 106 pounds.
Zoumpoulidis was banished to the consolation bracket after an 11-6 setback in the first round and then was dealt a 16-4 major decision, eliminating him from the tournament.
River's J.D. Dotson, competing at 220 pounds, was pinned in the opening round at the 4:23 mark of the opening round match. However, he bounced back and posted a pin of his own at the 3:50 mark to remain alive in hunt for a place.
St. Clairsville's Corey Ernest, who finished fourth at the district, was beaten in a tough overtime match, 3-1.
However, Ernest bounced back in impressive fashion in the consolation round, posting a pin at the 35-second mark.
Other wrestlers to be eliminated were: St. Clairsville's Justin Callarik, who was pinned twice and Monroe Central's Rodney Richter, who was pinned and dropped a tough 4-2 decision in the consolation round.