OVAC mat seeds unveiled

Outside of the two remaining practice days, the coaches have done their part.

The 59th annual Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament is now in the hands of the nearly 500 grapplers themselves, who will converge on WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling.

Monday evening, the seeds and brackets for the tournament were officially unveiled for the tournament, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday after the annual opening ceremonies at 6 p.m.

Tournament favorites Parkersburg South – which has won the last two overall titles – and Steubenville lead the field when it comes to seeded wrestlers with 13 and 12, respectively.

All told, 27 of the 39 schools competing this weekend have at least one seeded wrestler.

Martins Ferry and Buckeye Local led the local schools with five seeded wrestlers each.

“The seeds were pretty much as I expected,” said Purple Riders’ head coach Scott Roth. “All of our guys are in pretty good spots, and I really like the matchups we have.”

The Purple Riders’ highest seed is senior Jeff Oberdick, who drew the second seed at 182 pounds and is a defending runnerup in the tournament.

C.J. Williams and Damon Outward both are four seeds for the Purple Riders.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have nary a wrestler on a line higher than five, but head coach Nate Skrzypek believes his team could have upwards of eight or nine placers come Saturday evening.

“I really thought we had three other kids who could get a seed,” Skrzypek said. “I am looking to place six to a best case scenario eight or nine, which is better than we have been the last few years, so I am excited. Most of our guys have dropped weight, so how they deal with that will be interesting, but I don’t forsee it being a problem. I am pumped to unleash them and see how they do.”

South has four number one seeds amongst their 12, while Big Red, Shadyside and Harrison Central each have two top seeds in the field.

Both the Tigers and the Huskies have only three seeded wrestlers, but two are on the top line and been proclaimed the top favorite.

Shadyside’s junior duo of Ian Baker (138) and Alex Quinn (152) both advanced to the finals as freshmen before coming up short. Baker placed last season, while Quinn missed the tournament.

“It’s not a bad ratio, I guess,” said Shadyside head coach Scott Kinemond. “The seeding went basically how I expected. I thought (Mason) Gulash could have been a little higher (than a three seed), but the kids still have to go out and wrestle their matches. Those seeds are just positions and don’t entitle you to anything.”

Harrison Central owns the top seeds at 160 and 195 pounds in seniors Doug Eddy and Matt Shurina, respectively. Eddy was a top seed in 2010, but was sent to the consolation bracket in the quarterfinals.

“I kind of expected Doug to be the top seed because he’s beaten most of the guys in the weight class, but Matt was kind of a surprise because he’s been wrestling at 220 most of the year and just dropped, so he doesn’t have any common opponents,” said Harrison Central head coach Bill Bryant.

All told, the Huskies have three seeded grapplers.

“We’ve got tough matches ahead and the kids will just have to focus on one match at a time,” Bryant said.

The entire list of seeded wrestlers can be found on Page C4.

TOURNAMENT NOTES

  • TEN WRESTLERS are coming into the tournament undefeated. Of those, four wrestle for Caldwell. Shadyside boasts two of those, including Mason Gulash, who comes in with the fewest wins of the seeded wrestlers with just two.
  • THE TOP senior finisher in each weight class will be chosen to represent the conference in the OVAC vs. MAC All-Star Match, which will be held at Wheeling Park in early March. One spot’s already been decided. Edison’s Anthony Bell is the only senior at 106 pounds, so regardless of what happens this weekend, he’ll be chosen.
  • DURING THE meeting Monday evening, Indian Creek assistant coach Sean Grinch informed the crowd about an automobile accident in which several Redskins’ student-athletes were severely injured. He indicated that the Indian Creek wrestling team was collecting donations for the families.
  • THE TIMES Leader’s annual OVAC Wrestling Preview tab will be published with Wednesday’s edition.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com