BARNESVILLE - Despite having just one individual champion, River navigated its way past 19 other teams to capture the 44th annual Doan Ford Barnesville Wrestling Invitational Saturday night inside the Green House at Barnesville High School.
The Pilots of head coach Eric Rosen tallied 135.5 points, which was 13 points better than runnerup Sandy Valley. Coshocton finished with with 101, followed by Claymont and Linsly which tied for fifth with 91.5.
"Wrestling is truly a team sport," Rosen stressed after his team was presented with the championship trophy. "It's a total team effort and the kids wrestled hard. They did what they needed to do to win as a team.
"We told them earlier in the week that it (wrestling) is not just an individual sport. It's a team sport, as well, and our depth carried us through," he added.
River, which only lost four individuals from last year's OVAC 2A team, had six wrestlers place in the top four of their weight class, with senior Kole Smith claiming the 170-pound crown with a 5-1 decision of Union Local's Matt McFarland. Smith was the No. 2 seed, while McFarland was No. 1.
"He's really turning it on," Rosen said of his 5-0 grappler. "He's a dedicated leader and puts the time in the (wrestling) room and out of the room. I'm glad he finally won a tournament and maybe he'll get some recognition. He deserves everything he gets."
Smith credited his aggressiveness for the win.
"I knew I had to stay on top of him," he said. "I did it."
The Pilots had a pair of second-place finishers in Dakota Dunn (195) and Brett Rosen (220), while a trio won their consolation finals match for third-place. They were Loren Thomas (132), Jordan Sapp (160) and Brandon Reusser (182).
Dunn, the No. 2 seed, was pinned in 1:51 by top-seeded Hudson Cole, of Sandy Valley. Rosen, also the No. 2 seed, dropped a 7-3 decision to Linsly's Chimeki Oparanozie, the top seed.
The future is bright for a pair of Shadyside flyweights who walked away with several pieces of hardware.
Tigers' freshmen Greg Quinn (113) and Josh Kahl (120) ruled the weight classes, but took entirely different paths in doing so.
Quinn, the younger brother of Alex Quinn who completed an unbeaten season last year as state titlist for the Tigers, didn't waste any time in his finals match with Pymatuning Valley's Mitch Skerles. On the opening whistle, Quinn, the No. 1 seed, raced across the circle and grabbed the third-seeded Skerles by the head. He then knocked his feet out from under him for a 10-second pin.
"It's not really I move for me, it just came to me at the time," the soft-spoken Quinn offered. "It was a good tournament for me."
For his accomplishments, he was presented the Peck Award for the most pins in the championship round. He had four that took 5:39.
Kahl, on the other hand, was unseeded in his weight class and used that as a motivating factor in mowing down the No. 1, No. 5 and No. 3 seeds for his championship. He held off Sandy Valley senior Evan Offenberger, 6-5.
"It was a tough tournament," he said. "It was pretty inspiring for me to not be seeded.
For his accomplishments, Kahl was voted the Most Outstanding Wrestler by the 20 head coaches.
"Josh is a solid kid," Grinch continued. "He was in the toughest weight class in the tournament. It had a couple of state qualifiers and all of the kids he beat in the tournament place in it."
First-year Shadyside head coach Sean Grinch had nothing but praise for his pair of titlists.
"Both of them are just freshmen, but they were very-well coached at the youth and junior high levels," he explained. "They've traveled everywhere and put the time in in the off-season. Even as freshmen, it's paying off now. They wrestled really well."
Two other locals came away with the top trophy, those being Bellaire's Myliek Green (160) and Martins Ferry's Jonathan Bodkin (285).
Green, the No. 2 seed despite having won the Rick Link Union Local Tournament the weekend before, posted a hard-earned, 3-1, nod over Martins Ferry's top-seeded Bryce Coleman.
"He still has some things to work, but this being his senior season, he knows he has to the little things to be successful," Bellaire first-year head coach Mick Nicola said. "We're gonna keep jamming forward and moving on."
Green used a late takedown in the first period to grab a 2-0 advantage and then added an escape in the second before Coleman earned a third-period escape.
"There was a little incentive because he was seeded above me, but it didn't matter," Green said.
Bodkin needed just 1:33 to flatten Coshocton's Josh Ackley in their heavyweight final. When the referee's hand slapped the mat, Bodkin's roar could've been heard in Purple land.
"I get excited after wins," Bodkin admitted. "It's fun."
Other titlists included: Linsly's Tommy Curtin (106) with a 5:01 pin of Martins Ferry's Thomas Campbell; Sandy Valley's Joe Newman (126) by a 5-0 decision over Morgan's Hayden Matheney; Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy's Zach Alvarado (132) with a 2:47 fall of Coshocton's Brennen Alverson; Caldwell's Kameron Rayner (138) with a 3-0 blanking of Union Local's Bobby Stewart; Morgan's John Haines (145) by virture of a 3-0 win over Barnesville's Hobie Howiler; Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy's Kealii Cummings (152) with a 14-5 victory over Beallsville's Bruce Sefert; and Newark's Dan Pastorious (182) by pin in 4:23 over Newcomerstown's Mitchell Weeks.