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Barnesville Doan Ford Invitational draws impressive list of teams

Photo Provided PICTURED PREPARING for the 50th annual Barnesville Doan Ford Invitational wrestling tournament are, from left, Barnesville head coach Jayson Stephen, Shamrock wrestlers Jacob Boulet, Griffen Stephen, Cameron Woods and Owen Oliver; Doan Ford Sale Associate Joe Miller; and Tournament Director Clint Abbott. The event begins Friday and continues through Saturday night’s championship finals.

The Barnesville Doan Ford Invitational wrestling tournament is celebrating a milestone this weekend. The only “true” bracket tournament during the regular season, the event has been around now for 50 years.

Twenty-one teams from three different states will make the trip to western Belmont County for the two-day tournament, which begins Friday at 4:30 p.m. with two rounds of championship bracket bouts and two rounds of consolations being contested. Weigh-ins start at 2:30 and a coaches meeting will be held at 4. Action will again commence Saturday at 9 a.m., with the championship semifinals set for 12:30 p.m. and the championship finals scheduled for approximately 4:30 p.m.

The Barnesville Doan Ford Invitational is a “true” double-elimination tournament. All wrestlers are guaranteed at least two matches.

That is why I really like this event. I know there are a lot of people out there that are in favor of “pool” tournaments because wrestlers can get up to six matches in a day. That’s fine and dandy for the kids who win all of their matches or only lose one or two, but what about the kids that lose every single time they step on the mat? Do they want to continue?

Teams entered in addition to the Shamrocks, who are coming off a team title at the season-opening Union Local Rick Link Invitational last weekend in Morristown, include Bellaire, Buckeye Local, Cabell Midland, Caldwell, Cambridge, Claymont, Coshocton, East Liverpool, Hurricane, Indian Creek, Indian Valley, Martins Ferry, Mountain View, Va., Parkersburg, Sandy Valley, Shenandoah, Union Local, West Muskingum, Westfall and Wheeling Park.

Indian Valley is the defending team champion. The Braves narrowly edged out Wheeling Park, 227.5-222.5, for the title.

Only three of 14 individual champions return. They are Shenandoah’s Alex Overly (106), Coshocton’s Lucian Brink (113) and Martins Ferry’s Donte Lewis (285). Brink was also a Division III state champion and is ranked No. 1 in at 120 pounds this season by Borofan. Lewis is ranked 12th. Overly was a Division III state qualifier.

Mountain View is based in Stafford, Va. The Wildcats will be making a nearly 350-mile trek to Barnesville.

Barnesville’s Griffen Stephen, the Most Outstanding Wrestler at last week’s Union Local Rick Link Invite, was a state qualifier last year. Teammate Cameron Woods is ranked 11th at 160.

Buckeye Local’s Brian Palmer Jr. is 4th at 138. Teammate Zac Cesario is 11th at 220. Bellaire’s Cody Albaugh is 16th at 170.

Caldwell’s Colin Wiley is ranked 8th at 145. Shenandoah’s Easton Hitchens is 11th at 285. West Muskingum has a pair of state-ranked individuals in Carter Winegardner (4th-152) and Andrew Knaup (4th-160).

Wheeling Park, which defeated rival John Marshall Wednesday night in dual meet action, has seven placers back from last year’s W.Va. state tournament. However, only Nate Shelek won a title. Older brother, Andrew, finished second.

Parkersburg brings four state placewinners to Barnesville, with John Martin Best being a state champion. Cabell Midland, which just completed its football season last Saturday with a loss in the Class AAA finals on Wheeling Island, have a trio of state placers returning.

Trophies will be presented to the top two teams, with plaques going to the top six individuals in each weight class and the MOW. An award will also be presented to the wrestler in the championship bracket with the most pins in the least amount of time.

Greenwood Places Fourth

Union Local’s Colin Greenwood placed fourth at 106 pounds during last weekend’s Union Local Rick Link Invitational. He was incorrectly listed on the bracket as being from Wirt County.

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