OHSAA duals begin Wednesday

The first postseason event of the winter sports season gets under way Wednesday.

It’s actually the first event of its kind in Ohio High School Athletic Association history.

The inaugural OHSAA Wrestling Team Tournament unfolds with first-round regional action across the Buckeye State.

The tournament, which has three divisions, will run on consecutive Wednesdays through Feb. 6 to crown the regional champions.

The eight regional champions in each division will earn a trip to Columbus for the state tournament, which will be held at St. John Arena on the campus of The Ohio State University on Saturday, Feb. 9.

In Division III, area teams compete in Region 21-A and Shadyside earned the top seed.

The Tigers, who won the OVAC Class 1A/2A title over the weekend and produced three individual champions in the process, will play host to its mini bracket.

The hosts received a bye and will face the winner of eighth-seeded St. Clairsville and ninth-seeded Union Local, which begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The survivor will take on the Tigers 20 minutes following their first match.

The other half of the bracket finds fourth-seeded Belpre taking on fifth-seeded Beallsville. That winner will return to meet the survivor of Shadyside, St. C. and UL at a site to be determined based on seed.

The other side of the Region 21-A bracket will be held at Caldwell, which earned the second seed.

The host Redskins will tangle with seventh-seeded River, while the other match in Noble County finds Barnesville, the third seed, taking on Martins Ferry, the sixth seed.

River, which won the OVAC Class 3A title last weekend, and Ferry were recently awarded byes because Shenandoah and Waterford withdrew from the event.

Those winners will meet at a site to be determined on Jan. 30.

In Division II, Eastern District teams were assigned to Region 12. The OVAC membership will compete in Region 12-A.

Top-seeded Steubenville will host one of the sites. Big Red will take on the winner of Meadowbrook and Maysville Wednesday evening. The other match at the Crimson Center pits fourth-seeded Cambridge against fifth-seeded Harrison Central.

The other venue being utilized in Region 12-A is Tri-Valley High School in Dresden. Buckeye Local will head there for its team tourney debut. The Panthers will meet third-seeded Beaver Local, while the host Scotties meet Philo.

The OHSAA made the tournament an optional event and required teams fill eight of the 14 weight classes to enter.

A handful of area schools aren’t competing such as Monroe Central, Bellaire and Bridgeport.

The criteria utilized for determining the seeds of the teams included such factors as dual records, returning state and district qualifiers and the team’s success in regular-season tournaments.

The team tournament has no bearing on the individual tournament, which will run as normal in late February. That tournament will still consist of three levels of competition with the state tournament ticketed for the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.

There will also be team championships awarded there, too. Thus, in essence, wrestling will crown six state champions each season.

Staskey can be reached at