MOUNDSVILLE - A pair of first-year head coaches guided their teams to titles Wednesday at the 2nd annual Bill Hinegardner OVAC Dual Meet Championships at the John Marshall Field House.
Wheeling Park defeated John Marshall, 45-22, for the Class 5A crown, while River downed Monroe Central, 48-19, for the Class 3A title.
Steubenville High School will play host to Class 4A and Class 2A/1A action tonight at 6. There, in Class 4A, Big Red will battle Martins Ferry, while Oak Glen will face Harrison Central. Shadyside and Toronto will face off in one Class 2A/1A semifinal, while Steubenville Catholic and Caldwell will tangle in the other.
MONROE CENTRAL’S Ryan Ruble, left, shoots on River’s Chase Schultheis during their 113-pound bout Wednesday night.
Almost three weeks after winning the Class 3A crown at the Ron Mauck OVAC Championships, River picked up some more hardware by drubbing Monroe Central.
The Pilots also picked up some momentum heading into next week's sectional tournament.
''It's a big confidence booster for our kids,'' River coach Eric Rosen said. ''We're just happy we can fill almost all the weight classes. With the exception of 106, we have a good lineup. We'll keep doing that as we plug our way into sectionals.''
River led 18-15 before blowing things open in the later weights. In fact, the Pilots won the final five matches.
Picking up pins for River were Joe Dotson (285), Freddie Mundt (145), Brandon Ruesser (170), Dakota Dunn (182) and Brett Rosen (220), in what was the final bout of the match.
The Seminoles got pins from Jaren Hupp (126) and Chase Carothers (138).
''For us, it's been a total team effort,'' Rosen said. ''Hopefully, we can keep this going.''
The victory is especially gratifying for Rosen, who has been with the program for five years. He served as an assistant under Marty Winkler before taking over for legendary mat boss Dr. Vince Monseau upon his retirement.
River advanced to the finals by defeating Tyler Consolidated, 57-24, in the semifinals.
Monroe Central topped Barnesville, 37-36, in its semifinal bout after coming out on top in Criteria D.
The Shamrocks went to capture third place with a 39-36 victory against the Silver Knights in the consolation match.
The Patriots scored some redemption after falling to the Monarchs in last year's 5A final at WesBanco Arena.
''We felt like we really didn't wrestle our best last season,'' Wheeling Park coach Jack Doyle said. ''So, we were out to make sure it didn't happen again.
''We didn't want to leave any doubt.''
With the score knotted at 18-18, Park won seven of the final eight bouts, the final two by fall.
''I told the kids we were going to go on a run starting with 138 (pounds),'' Doyle said. ''And with Dylan (Taylor) getting a pin at 138 and Johnny Davis wrestling against a good kid at 145 and Alex McGlumphy at 152, we had the ball rolling.
''It's easy to win after you follow a guy that just won. It's a nice wave you can really ride.''
Danny Colby, who won his 100th career match Wednesday, secured a technical fall at 160. Later, Isaiah Myers won at 182 before Cody Amos and Geremy Paige finished things off at 195 and 220.
Amos pinned his opponent in 16 seconds before Paige pinned his in 28.
John Marshall's Cullen Ebbert got things started by pinning Casey Hewitt in 2:36. It was Cullen's 101st career triumph. He reached the century mark in his first match of the night.
Dallas Baciak won by technical fall at 113 before JM went on a tear.
Zach Tubaugh (120), Tyler Goode (126) and Casey Mowder (132) won three straight matches to tie the score.
The Patriots, who thrashed Morgantown, 62-9, in the semifinals, are off until next week's West Virginia Class AAA regional at Brooke High School. The Monarchs, who topped Brooke, 39-21, in their semifinal, will also be there, along with Morgantown and perennial favorite Parkersburg South.
The Mohigans defeated the Bruins, 47-24, in the consolation match.
''We'll be ready,'' Doyle said.