UL wrestling tournament renamed after Rick Link

The 2012-13 high school wrestling season gets under way Saturday when 17 teams convene at Union Local High School for the 14th annual Rick Link Union Local Invitational.

Pool tournament action gets started at 10 a.m. with first-round bouts. The championship finals are scheduled for approximately 6 p.m.

“We inducted Rick into the UL Hall of Fame recently, so we thought it would be nice to name this tournament after him,” said current Union Local mat boss James Lewis. “He’s what UL wrestling is all about. He was the most successful coach in this sport and he is really responsible for where UL wrestling is where it is today.”

Teams entered include Barnesville, Bridgeport, Bloom-Carroll, Buckeye Local, Weir, Meadowbrook, Toronto, Bishop Watterson, Watkins Memorial, Wellsville, Bellaire, Wheeling Park A, Wheeling Park B, Bishop Donahue, University, Edison, Tuscarawas Central Catholic, Steubenville Central and the host Jets.

“We’ve got 17 teams coming in and I think it is going to be a really tough tournament,” Lewis added. “Most of the good teams are back once again.”

Wheeling Park is the defending two-time champion.

As far as the Jets go, Lewis said, “We should be competitive. we’ve got all of our weight classes filled, so that is a plus. We’re young, but the kids are working really hard.”

One Jet, junior Zac Sowers, has placed twice in the event. He was the champion as a freshman at 103 pounds. He finished fourth at 120 last year.

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com