OVAC?wrestling season gets under way soon

WHEELING – To understand exactly where Ohio Valley Athletic Conference wrestling is at, you need only look at the two area college programs at West Liberty and Wheeling Jesuit.

Both programs are replete with OVAC talent.

West Liberty’s Brian Davis has always scoured the OVAC for talented grapplers, and Wheeling Jesuit, a first-year program under Sean Doyle, has a wealth of freshmen wrestlers among its first class of 29.

“The two colleges that we have right here both have a valley flavor,” OVAC Wrestling Director Dan Doyle, Sean’s dad, said. “To me that tells the quality of wrestlers that we have right here.”

That and other issues were among the topics at the annual OVAC wrestling press conference Monday at WesBanco Arena.

The area coaches of the year were named, including Dave Wiles, of 1A Beallsville, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. His award was accepted by Ted Bier, who is taking the reins for Wiles.

Other OVAC coach of the year winners were – 2A: Scott Kinnemond, Shadyside; 3A: Scott Roth, Martins Ferry; 4A: Mike Blackburn, Steubenville and 5A: Jordan Williams, Beaver Local.

There will be 10 new mat coaches around the area this season, although many of those are familiar around the local wrestling community, including former West Liberty coach Dr. Vince Monseau, at Magnolia.

Other new coaches include Bier (Beallsville), Wyatt O’Neil (Cameron), Scott Hiemstra (Wellsville), Chas Yoder (Martins Ferry), Raphael Johnson (Bishop Donahue), Troy Kirby (Clay-Battelle), Sean Grinch (Shadyside), Mick Nicola (Bellaire) and Tom Taylor (Weir).

The annual OVAC Tournament, the area’s pre-eminent wrestling event, will be held at WesBanco Arena Thursday, January 16 through Saturday, January 18. Some 850 bouts will be conducted over the three-day event.

The OVAC Duals will be held Wednesday, Feb. 5 for 3A and 5A schools at John Marshall while the 1A, 2A and 4A event will be Feb. 6 at Steubenville.

Also, the annual all-star meet with Pennsylvania’s Midwest Athletic Conference, will be held March 11 at St. Clairsville.