Barnesville mat tourney hosting an impressive 28-team field

BARNESVILLE– It promises to be a huge weekend locally of high school wrestling as 28 teams are entered in the 48th annual Barnesville Doan Ford Invitational. The two-day event gets under way Friday at 4:30 p.m. and continues all day Saturday, starting at 9:30 a.m. The championship finals are set for approximately 5 p.m.

Of the 28 teams (some will not field full squads), 22 are from the Buckeye State, with the remaining half-a-dozen from West Virginia. Ohio schools include the host Shamrocks who are coming off a win at the Union Local Rick Link Tournament last weekend, perennial powerhouse and defending champion Claymont, Beallsville, Bellaire, Buckeye Local, Caldwell, Coshocton, East Liverpool, Indian Valley, John Glenn, Martins Ferry, Meadowbrook, Monroe Central, Ridgewood, River, Sandy Valley, Shadyside, Shenandoah, Steubenville Catholic, Union Local, Westfall and West Muskingum. Mountain State squads are state powerhouse Parkersburg South, Brooke, Cabell Midland, Hurricane, Weirton Madonna and Wheeling Park.

All rosters must be entered by 7 p.m. Wednesday on Baumspage. Weigh-ins will begin at 2:30 on Friday, with a coaches meeting set for 4. Weigh-ins for Saturday start at approximately 7:30 a.m., with the coaches meeting at 9.

Tournament Director Clint Abbott explained of one change this year.

“To help alleviate some of the crowd in the gym we will use a bullpen this year. A few weight classes will be called to go to the bullpen to warmup and a runner will report to the bullpen to get wrestlers ready and take them directly to the table,” he noted.

Personally, I love the Barnesville Tournament. No, not because of the food spread that they lay out for the coaches and media, but the fact it is the lone remaining true-bracket tournament besides the annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Ron Mauck Tournament in mid-January.

Those of you that know me know that I loathe pool tournaments. Sure, if wrestlers are good enough to win a handful of matches in one or two days, that’s great for them. However, how about the kids that aren’t that good and lose every match they compete in? Is that good for their self-esteem? Is it good for the sport? Not in my book.

Bracket tournaments are usually double-elimination, but in some cases, like the OVAC where they place eight wrestlers, extra elimination bouts are needed. I like that fact Maybe more bracket tournaments can go that way.

Union Local Rick Link Wrapup

— Congratulations go out to Barnesville for winning the 17-team event. The Shamrocks didn’t have a full lineup, but still managed to amass 198 points, which was three better than second-place Indian Creek.

— According to tournament officials, there were 32 scratches prior to the start of the tournament. Some were for weight issues, which is to be expected in the opening week of the season, but many were for various skin issues.

— Four females competed in the tournament. They were from Buckeye Local, Indian Creek, Monroe Central and Shenandoah.

— Beaver Local and Claymont sent their ‘B’ teams.

— It was nice to see Buckeye Local’s Travis Light, who was seriously injured during the Panther Classic last February, back on the mat.

— Linsly’s Zachai Simmons suffered a serious elbow injury during Saturday’s tournament. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. The crowd gave him a huge ovation when he was wheeled out of the gym on a stretcher.

Warner, Leppla Lead Four Cardinals Placers at Lake Erie Open

PAINESVILLE, Oh. — Tyler Warner and Sawyer Leppla led Wheeling Jesuit wrestlers at the Lake Erie Storm Open over the weekend.

Both went on to finish second at 133 and 197 pounds, respectively. Leppla, from Cambridge, fell 7-2 to John Borst, an unattached University of Virginia wrestler, and Warner, a Claymont product, dropped a 5-0 bout to Nick Henneman, unattached from Kent State.

After improving his season mark to 10-2. Warner is now 6-4.

WJU (2-0) returns home for its second home dual meet of the year on Friday. The Cardinals host the Scots of Ohio Valley starting at 7 p.m.

Big Day for West Liberty Wrestlers

WASHINGTON, Pa. — West Liberty University bounced back from a tough loss to Wheeling Jesuit with a trio of impressive wins over the weekend at a quadrangular meet hosted by Washington & Jefferson.

The Hilltoppers opened with a 37-6 romp past Penn State-Behrend before handing Thomas More (Ky.) a 41-4 defeat. The finished up with a 34-18 victory against the hosts.

In the opening match against PSU-Behrend, West Liberty got a 14-0 major decision from Steven Slack at 125, picked up a pair of forfeits at 133 and 141, and never looked back.

West Liberty (3-2) heads to Ashland on Friday for a 7 p.m. dual.

If anyone has any information related to either high school or college wrestling, please contact me at the following address. North can be reached at