Ohio-side OVAC schools faced with a busy weekend

Mother Nature has put a full-nelson on Ohio high school wrestling teams that had a busy schedule already on their plates.

With postponement of the sixth annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Bill Hinegardner Dual Meet Wrestling Championships from Wednesday night and tonight until Friday, eight OVAC squads will find themselves doing double-duty this weekend while also competing in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Regional Dual Team Tournament on Saturday at various sites around the Buckeye State.

In addition to their OVAC competition on Friday, also competing on Saturday are Barnesville (Class 3A), Bridgeport (Class 1A/2A), Caldwell (Class 1A/2A) and Shenandoah (Class 1A/2A) in the Division III, Region 22 event at Nelsonville-York High School near Athens; Toronto (Class 1A/2A) is involved in Division III, Region 20 action at Rootstown High School; St. Clairsville (Class 4A) is entered in Division II, Region 13 at Granville High school; and Indian Creek (Class 5A) and Steubenville (Class 5A) both trek to Alliance High School for Division II, Region 12 competition.

“I don’t like it,” Barnesville head coach Jayson Stephen said of the move to Friday. “I didn’t think they (the OVAC) would do that, especially to us Ohio schools that are involved in the OHSAA Duals on Saturday.”

Stephen said the second-seeded Shamrocks are set to depart western Belmont County at 5:45 a.m. Saturday for their nearly 3-hour trip to northern Athens County.

“When you get involved in a team tournament like Saturday, you always want to stay as long as you can, so it could make for a long day,” he said. “But I think the kids will be up for it. This is where we will see what they are made of. They know what is at stake for them at both events.”

Barnesville will meet No. 15 Huntington in the second round after both received opening-round byes.

Bridgeport head coach David Nelson, whose Bulldogs are the No. 7 seed Saturday and will face Caldwell for the second time in two days in their opening bout, said it’s all about wrestling hard.

“It’s not the best situation, but we have to deal with it,” he noted, saying the Bulldogs will board their bus at 5 a.m.. “When obstacles present themselves, you have to find a way to overcome them.”

For St. Clairsville head coach Joel Sansone, delaying the OVAC Duals a day was a blessing in disguise for his squad, which is seeded No. 1 in the OVAC event and No. 2 in the OHSAA bracket where a pair of byes has the Red Devils in the quarterfinals already.

“Hopefully it ends up working out for us,” Sansone said, noting his squad has a 5:30 a.m. departure time. “We have had some sickness … the flu … run through our team. We had three kids have to default out of the Brooke Tournament last weekend because of it. We only had six kids at practice Monday and seven on Tuesday.

“Wrestling on back-to-back days like this won’t be the perfect situation, but I’d rather wrestle back-to-back than have a day in between that makes the kids make weight twice.”

Individual Postseason Action

Regional tournament action begins in West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 9 with Class AAA teams headed to Morgantown, while Class A/AA teams venture to East Fairmont High School. The top 4 placers in each weight class advance to the 72nd annual state tournament which is set for Feb. 21-23 inside Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.

In Ohio, Eastern District sectional tournament action begins that same weekend as Division II squads converge on Claymont and Steubenville high schools, while the Division III is split between Barnesville and Sandy Valley high schools.

Making the trip to Steubenville, in addition to host Big Red, are Beaver Local, Minerva, River View, East Liverpool, Indian Creek, New Philadelphia, Harrison Central, Meadowbrook and Zanesville.

Treking to Uhrichsville will be Carrollton, Indian Valley, West Holmes, St. Clairsville, Maysville, John Glenn, Cambridge, Philo and Morgan.

Headed to Barnesville are Belpre, Chesapeake, Crooksville, Federal Hocking, Nelsonville York, Reedsville Eastern, Trimble, Waterford, Buckeye Local, Newcomerstown, Martins Ferry, West Muskingum, Bellaire, Union Local and Fort Frye.

Going to Magnolia are in addition to the host Cardinals are Coshocton, Shenandoah, Bridgeport, Caldwell, Toronto, Garaway, Malvern, Tuscarawas Valley, Edison, River, Ridgewood, Tuscarawas Catholic Central, Shadyside and Beallsville.

Division II district qualifiers will head to Heath High School.

In Division III, the top 4 placers in each weight class advance to district tournament which will be staged at Buckeye Local High School in Connorville on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2.

The 82nd annual state tournament will be held in Columbus on the campus of Ohio State University on March 7-9 inside Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. The top 8 finishers in each weight class earn all-Ohio honors.

Harrison Central’s Erwin Tops Field

Blayne Erwin, the Huskies’ 182-pound senior, won the Peg Leg Scuffle last weekend at Garaway High school. His performance helped Harrison central to a runnerup finish with 161 points.

Placing second were Josh Croft (195) and Cody Gamble (285), while Zane Everhart (132), Austin Howard (138) and Logan Ellis (220) finished third. Hayden Wallace (160) was fourth.

Results of Interest

Beaver Local defeated Steubenville 40-30 Saturday inside the Crimson Center. A rematch of the 126-pound OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament finals never materialized as the Beavers bumped up talented freshman Logan Ours from 120. He decisioned Bierkortte Award winner Peyton Blasko, 6-4.

Cole McComas, a two-time OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament champion, who Blasko defeated for his honor, did not compete in the triangular, which also featured Division I Upper Arlington.

Down the Ohio River and across into Wood County, homestanding Parkersburg South romped past Parkersburg, 47-15, inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

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