Barnesville wins Panther Classic title
CONNORVILLE — While Barnesville had some goals dashed over the last couple of weeks, the Shamrocks rallied around those setbacks to capture the Ohio Coatings Panther Classic Saturday night inside Buckeye Local High School.
With four runnersup and a third-place finisher, head coach Jayson Stephen’s squad piled up 127.5 points, which was 9.5 ahead of second-place West Mifflin (Pa.) to take home the coveted Dave DeYarmon championship trophy.
“It’s always a good thing to win a tournament as a team,” Stephen said. “I think the kids thought going to the (OHSAA) state regional duals that we could seal the deal, but you have you’re good days and you’re bad days … on days, off days … so it’s good to bounce back like we did today.”
The championship marks the third of the season as the Shamrocks also ruled the OVAC Ron Mauck Wrestling Championships Class 3A, while also ruling the Zanesville Tournament.
“We’ve been right there at the top in a few tournaments,” he added.
Finhishing second for Barnesville were freshman Griffen Stephen (106); sophomore Cameron Woods (152); and seniors Brylan Clouse (182) and Zack Meade (220). Freshman Carter Wells (113) took third.
Four local wrestlers turned in championship-caliber performances, those being Bellaire’s Joseph Bonfini (120); Buckeye Local’s Brian Palmer Jr. (132); Bridgeport’s Tino Kusic (170); and Harrison Central’s Cody Gamble (285).
Bonfini, now 25-6 as a senior, scored an 8-5 decision over Tri-Valley’s Cullen Van Rooyen.
“Joseph wrestled well today,” Bellaire head coach Andrew LaMotte said. “This is his second championship. He’s starting to get where he needs to be at this time of the year.”
Palmer Jr., who improved to 34-2, used a takedown with 15 seconds remaining for his 5-2 nod over West Mifflin’s Tony Salopek.
“Brian wrestled a tough kid and he wrestled a smart match,” Buckeye Local head coach Willie Saxton said.
With the championship, the sophomore returning state-placer becomes the Panthers first titlist since Josh Sokolowski in 2015.
Kusic continued his dominating senior season with a second-period 15-0 technical fall of Cambridge’s Justin Bartlett.
“Tino did what he always does. He went out and took care of business,” Bridgeport head coach David Nelson said of his 34-1 standout.
Gamble earned a 4-2 decision over Martins Ferry’s Donte Lewis in the final bout of the night. The Huskies seniors, now 30-6, trailed 1-0 after two periods before earning a reversal and late takedown after Lewis escaped .
“Since the OVAC Tournament, Cody has learned how to wrestle as a heavyweight,” Harrison Central head coach Bill Bryant said of his 245-pounder.
Martins Ferry had another second-place finisher in senior Drake Dobson (195). He fell 9-3 to Dublin Scioto’s Deron Pulliman, who is now 31-1 and repeated his title performance of 2018. Irish teammate Daniel Segura (145) also repeated, as did Newcomerstown’s Logan Hursey (138).
Other champions were Dublin Scioto’s Dylan Le (106); West Mifflin’s Jesse Galioto (113); Warren Local’s Peyten Kellar (126) and Trent Sayre (152); West Allegheny’s Ty McGeary (160); Trinity Area’s Cole Whitmer (182); and East Liverpool’s Skyler Wooley (220).
Kellar was voted the Gary Glover Moust Outstanding Wrestler Award by tournament coaches.