Prep mat squads looking ahead to rest of campaign

With the 66th annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Ron Mauck Wrestling Championships in the rear view mirror, teams on both sides of the Ohio River can now fully concentrate on the second half of their respective seasons, which ultimately culiminates with state tournaments.

However, before that can happen there are several notable events on the prep mat calendar.

Cut-offs for the OVAC Bill Hinegardner Dual Meet Championships was last night (Wednesday). The entrants will be released sometime today.

The Class 3A and Class 5A tournaments will be held next Wednesday at the John Marshall Fieldhouse in Moundsville. The Class 4A and Class 1A/2A will be staged Thursday at Brooke High School in Wellsburg.

Action begins both nights at 6.

“We had more teams commit to the duals this year,” OVAC Wrestling Commissioner Dan Doyle said.

On the Horizon

This weekend is a huge one for the sport as teams are competing in a wide variety of tournaments across both states.

However, the biggest match should take place inside Steubenville High School’s Crimson Center when Big Red hosts OVAC Ron Mauck overall champion Beaver Local as part of a triangular with Upper Arlington also involved.

It should also be interesting to see if Bierkortte Award winner Peyton Blasko of Steubenville and Beaver Local’s Cole McComas clash again at 126. Blasko edged McComas, a two-time OVAC Tournament champion and two-time Division II state runnerup, in last week’s OVAC Tournament finals.

Steubenville finished third in the recent three-day mat extravaganza.

Other events this weekend include the Buck Bailey Invitational in Wellsville; Frank Ferguson Brooke Classic; Williamstown Zide Rumble; Peg Leg Scuffle in Sugarcreek Garaway; Watkins Memorial Tournament in Pataskala; and West Holmes Invitational.

The Frank Ferguson Brooke Classic is a true 16-line bracketed one-day tournament on Saturday and includes some top-flight entrants in Brecksville-Broadview Hts., Licking Valley, Mayfield, Thomas Worthington and St. Clairsville from Ohio; Blue Mountain High School from Schuylkill Haven; Erie Cathedral Prep; Hampton; Mars; Penn Hills and Seneca Valley from Pa.; and Brooke, Buckhannon-Upshur, John Marshall Oak Glen, Spring Mills and Wheeling Park from West Virginia.

Teams in the Buckeye State also have their sights set on the 6th annual Dual Team Tournament, which has changed its format for this winter.

The road to St. John Arena in Columbus starts on Saturday, Feb. 2 with regional tournaments. The state tournament is Sunday, Feb. 10

Tournament assignments were issued last week and are as follows (local teams that have entered):

Division II

Region 12–Alliance H.S.: Beaver Local, Harrison Central, Indian Creek and Steubenville

Region 13–Granville H.S.: Meadowbrook, St. Clairsville and Warren Local

Division III

Region 20–Rootstown H.S.: Buckeye Local, Crestview, Steubenville Catholic, Toronto and Wellsville

Region 21–Nelsonville-York H.S.: Barnesville, Beallsville, Bridgeport, Caldwell, Fort Frye and Shenandoah

Congratulations in Order

First of all, Barnesville (AAA) and Bridgeport (A/AA) deserve kudos for winning their classifications at last weekend’s OVAC Ron Mauck Championships.

Neither school had won a title in quite some time.

In fact, Bridgeport’s drought wasn’t as long as initially thought. After fielding numerous phone calls, it was determined that the Bulldogs won the 1994 Class 2A crown by 1.5 points over Cadiz.

Secondly, Bridgeport’s Tino Kusic became the school’s all-time win leader with 157 victories. He topped the previous mark shared by Brian Roskovich and Bryan Skoff.

OVAC Leftovers

Speaking of Kusic, he was only one of two Class 1A/2A individuals to earn a spot in the championship finals. The other was 195-pound titlist Garrett Cook of Madonna.

In fact, only nine of the smallest school wrestlers reached the top 8 in their respective weight classes.

Beaver Local made a strong point in an attempt to take over Parkersburg South’s stranglehold on the bi-state conference’s winter spectacle. The Beavers came close to reaching the Wood County Patriots scoring mark of 324.5 set in 2018. They finished with 303.

I think, and still do, that the championship semifinals are the best session to watch at any tournament. You get, usually, two good matchups instead of just one in the finals.

Two observations from the tournament: Beaver Local freshman Logan Ours (120) and Parkersburg South junior Braxton Amos (220) certainly lived up to their much-hyped abilities.

OVAC vs. MAC

The annual “Clash of Champions” will be held Tuesday, March 12 at an undetermined site in western Pennsylvania. The event’s banquet will be staged the night before at Undo’s in Weirton, starting at 6 p.m.

Danny Doyle, assistant coach at Wheeling Park, is the tournament director. He took over for Steubenville head coach Mike Blackburn who served as the director since the event’s inception.

The highest-placing senior in each weight class at the recent OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament is eligible to participate.

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