Ten OVAC wrestlers win at UL

BRIDGEPORT’S MASON Kuneff has Barnesville’s Owen Oliver in a bad situation Saturday night during the 160-pound finals at the Union Local Rick Link Invitational wrestling tournament. Kuneff won by pin.

MORRISTOWN — Ten Ohio Valley Athletic Conference wrestlers reached the top step of the podium as the 20th annual Union Local Rick Link Invitational kicked off the high school season wrestling season Saturday night inside ‘The Hangar.’

Three different schools — Bridgeport, Indian Creek and Weirton Madonna — produced two champions each. Winning titles for the Bulldogs were the senior tandem of Mason Kuneff (160) and Tino Kusic (170), while the Redskins duo of Zac Ross (113) and Logan Wilson (182) ruled their weight classes. The Cook Brothers — Alec (138) and Garret (195) — also topped their weight divisions.

“Mason and Tino both wrestled really well. They’ve been working hard in the (wrestling) room all year,” Bridgeport head coach david Nelson said of his two senior stalwarts. “They came out and took care of business.”

Kusic was a state placewinner last year in Ohio, while Alex Cook won a state title in West Virginia. His brother was third last winter.

Forty other OVAC matmen placed in the top 4 of their respective weight classes, but it was the Eagles of Geneva High school that flew past the 15-team field with 276.5 points, which was 48.5 better than second-place Wirt County. Defending champion Indian Creek was the top OVAC squad at third with 221, while Shenandoah (199.5) and Buckeye Local (188) rounded out the top 5.

“We came here and finished third. We really liked the tournament, so we came back,” Geneva head coach Chris Stamper said. “Our team grew a lot last year. We won our league championship last year which was unexpected. We’re still young, but they’re improving.”

Other local champions included Meadowbrook’s Terry Gattrell (126); Buckeye Local’s Brian Palmer (132); Edison’s Hayden Johnson (138); and Shenandoah’s Evan Hitchens (285).

“Brian wrestled really well. he is very determined this season,” Buckeye Local head coach Willie Saxton said.

Palmer is a returning state-placer from last winter as a freshman.

Gattrell was selected as the Most Outstanding Wrestler by tournament coaches in a very close vote.

Rounding out the list of winners were Wirt County’s Logan Powell (106) and Kolton Parsons (120); and the Geneva pair of Brian Bilicic (152) and Charles Taylor (220).