Bodkin lone local champion
WHEELING - And then there was one.
Martins Ferry's Jonathan Bodkin was the lone local survivor as the 61st annual Ron Mauck Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Wrestling Tournament concluded its three-day stand inside WesBanco Arena late Saturday night.
The Purple Riders' junior 285-pounder held off a stiff challenge from Linsly's Chukwudi Chukwu, 3-1, in the last bout of the tournament.
"It's a great feeling," Bodkin said while being congratulated by family, teammates and friends. "Really great."
Bodkin, who was seeded No. 3, scored two of his three points on penalty infractions by the Cadets' junior. The other came on an escape. Chukwu escaped in the third period for his lone tally.
With the hard-earned victory, Bodkin improved to 23-1.
He was one of four wrestlers from the immediate area that advanced to the finals, but, unfortunately for the other three, things didn't work out their way.
Shadyside's Greg Quinn, Union Local's Bobby Stewart and Bellaire's Myliek Green all turned in splendid efforts, but they weren't quite enough as all three came up just short of their goal.
The top-seeded and previously undefeated Quinn dropped a tough 4-2 decision to East Liverpool's second-seeded Alex Potts. The Potters' junior scored an early takedown to start the bout, but the Tigers' freshman countered with a late first-period escape. After a scoreless second period, Potts executed a reversal for a 4-1 advantage. Quinn recorded a late escape for the final margin.
Quinn is now 26-1, while Potts improved to 32-1 and placed for the third straight year. He was eighth as a freshman and third as a sophomore.
"Alex is a tough kid and we knew that going in," Shadyside head coach Sean Grinch said of Potts. "He's good in all positions and is a great scrambler. It was a great match by two good kids."
Stewart, who was seeded third, was locked in a scoreless battle with University's top-seeded Isiaih Hood through two periods, but the Hawks' senior scored a trio of points in the third period for a 3-1 nod.
Stewart is now 31-6 on the year, while Hood, who placed sixth in both the OVAC and W.Va. state meet at 126 a year ago, went to 30-5.
"Bobby wrestled a great tournament and I couldn't be any prouder of him," Union Local head coach Jim Bob Lewis said. "We strive every day to get better in practice and knowing Bobby, he'll pick it up a pace in the practice room and start getting ready for the sectionals, districts and states."
Green suffered, perhaps, the toughest loss of the three when he was outlasted, 6-5, by Wheeling Park's top-seeded Eric Banks at 160 in sudden-death overtime.
The two athletic combatants were tied at four after three two-minute periods, but Green, the Big Reds' No. 2 seed, posted an escape in the first 30-second OT. Banks, who remained unbeaten at 17-0, got an escape of his own in the second 30-second extra session to knot things at five. Because Banks scored the first points of the match, he was given the option of what position he wanted. He took down and escaped just seven seconds in for the victory.
"That was a heartbreaker to lose," Bellaire head coach Mick Nicola said. "We wrestled pretty much to our game plan. We wanted to keep our hands up because he (Banks) is probably the best athlete in this building.
"Myliek wrestled a very good match," Nicola continued. "We're only half way through the season. Now we start preparing for the state tournament."
Green is now 21-3.
Other champions included Steubenville's Tariq Wilson, the No. 1 seed, who won at 106 a year ago; Wheeling Park's top-seeded Dallas Baciak at 120; Meadowbrook's No. 1 seed Tyler Jenkins at 126; Caldwell's top-seeded Kameron Rayner at 138; Parkersburg South's Hunter DeLong, who was seeded fifth, at 145; Wheeling Park's top-seeded Jonny Davis at 152; Steubenville Central's No. 2 seeded Leo Hermann at 170; Parkersburg South's third-seeded Justin Allman at 182; East Liverpool's John Miscuk (195) and Wheeling Park's Geremy Paige (220).
Shadyside had another pair of placewinners in the Kahl brothers - Josh (120) and Brett (138). Josh, just a freshman, and Brett, a sophomore, both finished fifth.
Barnesville had a pair of placers in Austin Singleton who was sixth at 126, while Hobie Howiler finished fifth at 138. He was third at 120 a year ago.
Buckeye Local's Josh Sokolowski came in fifth at 170 pounds.
Harrison Central had four placewinners in Hunter Pizzino (3rd, 132), Brandon White (5th, 113), David Forrester (7th, 126) and Cole Howes (7th, 182).
In addition to Bodkin, a trio of other Purple Riders reached the podium. They were Thomas Campbell (8th, 103), James Wise (7th, 145) and Bryce Coleman (5th, 152).
Monroe Central had two individuals receive medals, those being Rodney Richter (4th, 120) and Tanner Potts (7th, 220).
The River pair of Kole Smith (6th, 170) and Eric Rosen (6th, 195) also placed.
St. Clairsville also had two placewinners, Cole Skaggs (7th, 160) and Michael Furbee (3rd, 220).
In addition to Stewart, Union Local's Zac Sowers (8th, 145) also placed.
Team-wise, Parkersburg South ran away from the 39-team field with a whopping 264.5, which was 55 more than second-place Wheeling Park. The Ohio County Patriots used a late rally to slip past defending champion Steubenville, which finished third with an even 200.
Oak Glen and Beaver Local were fourth and fifth, respectively, with 139 and 134.
The top finisher from the immediate area was Martins Ferry at 11th with 80 points, thanks to four placewinners. Harrison Central was 13 with 77, one spot and 4.5 points ahead of Shadyside. Union Local (65) was 19th, St. Clairsville (56.5) 21st and Monroe Central (50) 24th.
The Wood County Patriots also captured the Class 5-A title, while Steubenville won 4-A, Steubenville Central 3-A and Caldwell 2-A/1-A.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org