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Area teams hitting the road for state dual regionals

Assignments for the 8th annual Ohio Dual Team Regional Tournaments, set for Saturday, Feb. 8, were released last week, and for the local schools competing, they had better gas up the buses.

St. Clairsville is the lone Division II entrant from the local area. The Red Devils, who were runnersup at Granville a year ago, will make the trek to Duncan Falls, where Philo High School is located, for Region 13 action.

Other schools heading to the “Power Plant” are Athens, River View, Fairfield Union, Meadowbrook, West Holmes, Tri-Valley, New Lexington, Sheridan, Claymont, defending champion Indian Valley, New Philadelphia, Warren Local and Carrollton.

OVAC schools Beaver Local, Indian Creek and Steubenville are heading to Beachwood High School for Region 12 competition.

In Division III, Barnesville, Martins Ferry and Shadyside are headed to Alexander High School in Albany for Region 22 action.

They will be joined by fellow OVAC entrant Shenandoah, along with host Alexander, Amanda-Clearcreek, Liberty Union, West Jefferson, West Muskingum, Westfall, Adena, Paint Valley and River Valley.

Southern Local and Wellsville will represent the OVAC in Region 20 at Rootstown High School, while Buckeye Local heads to Mapleton High School in Ashland for Region 21 action.

Seeds should be completed by the weekend and the pairings will be released.

The state dual team tournament will be held inside St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State University on Sunday, Feb. 16. Quarterfinal action begins at 11 a.m. on three mats. The winners of the eight regions in each of the three divisions (I, II, III) will compete for titles.

Panther Classic on Tap

Buckeye Local High School in Connorville will be the site for the annual Panther Classic wrestling tournament. The one-day, pool-style event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and continue throughout the day with 27 teams seeking the team title.

The tri-state area will be represented by Ohio schools Beallsville, Bellaire, Bridgeport, Buckeye Local, Caldwell, East Liverpool, Edison, Indian Creek, Hilliard Bradley, Martins Ferry, River, Shadyside, Steubenville Catholic, Union Local and Washington Courthouse. West Virginia schools are Brooke, Linsly, Madonna and Weir, while teams from Pennsylvania are Ellwood City, Hampton Township, Keystone Oaks, Obama Academy, Plum, West Allegheny, West Mifflin and Westinghouse.

Six WLU Wrestlers Ranked

A half-dozen West Liberty wrestlers have received regional recognition, with a pair of them earning the top spot when the latest set of NCAA Division II Super Region 3 rankings were released.

Head coach Danny Irwin’s Hilltoppers have been fighting through a series of injuries but with ranked wrestlers in six of the 10 weight classes – including four in the top three of their brackets – Irwin and his squad expect to make their presence felt in the regional tournament and beyond.

“With this set of regional rankings coming out, it paints a pretty clear picture of where everybody is in the region at this point in time,” Irwin noted. “From now until the Super Region 3 tournament, our training will be focused on putting the final few details in place that will allow us to qualify as many wrestlers to nationals as possible.”

The Super Region 3 event is set for Feb. 29 at 9 a.m. at the University of Indianapolis. The national tournament is March 13-14 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Returning All-Americans Cole Laya (125) and Darius Bunch (141) are ranked No. 1 in the region at their respective weights while true freshman phenom Zane Lanham, a Huntington High product, has jumped up to No. 2 at 184 pounds.

Senior Chris Cook, a multi-year letterman at 184, has been wrestling up at 285 since the injury to Francesco Borsellino and established himself as the No. 3 heavyweight in the region. Rounding out WLU’s regionally-ranked contingent are the Morgan twins — Chase is fifth at 165 pounds while Chance is sixth at 174.

Notre Dame is No. 1 in the region with ranked wrestlers in all 10 weight classes and three No. 1s giving the Falcons 89 ranking points. Ashland, with nine ranked wrestlers and two No. 1s, is next with 82 points while Tiffin is third with three No. 1s and eight regionally-ranked wrestlers.

Indianapolis didn’t have any top-ranked grapplers but squeezed into the No. 4 spot with eight wrestlers in the rankings and 63 points. West Liberty and Findlay were tied for No. 5 with 53 points. Like Indianapolis, the Oilers lacked any No. 1-ranked wrestlers but had wrestlers ranked in eight of the 10 weight classes.

The Black-and-Gold return to the mat Saturday when it hosts the inaugural Mountain East Conference championships at the ASRC.

Some Dates to Remember

∫ Saturday, Feb. 8, Ohio Team Duals Regionals, TBA

∫ Friday, Feb. 14-Saturday, Feb. 15, W.Va. Class A/AA Regional at Fairmont; W.Va. Class AAA Regional at Buckhannon

∫ Sunday, Feb. 16, Ohio Team Duals State Tournament, Ohio State University’s St. John Arena.

∫ Saturday, Feb. 22, Buckeye 8 Tournament at Indian Creek Middle School

∫ Thursday, Feb. 27-Saturday, Feb. 29, W. Va. State Tournament at Huntington’s Big Sandy SuperStore Arena

∫ Saturday, Feb. 29, Ohio Division II Sectionals at Claymont, Steubenville; Division III Sectionals at Barnesville, Sandy Valley; NCAA Division II Super Region 3 Tournament at the University of Indianapolis

∫ Friday, March 6-Saturday, March 7, Ohio Division II Districts at Claymont; Ohio Division III Districts at Heath High School

∫ Friday, March 13-Sunday, March 14, Ohio State Tournament at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.

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