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Ferry, St. Clairsville will both grapple ways to Columbus

The Road to Columbus and the 8th annual Ohio State Wrestling Dual Meet Championships begins this weekend with regional competition for 13 Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Eastern District schools, with seven of those being located in Division III. The remaining half-a-dozen are in Division II.

Only three OVAC schools have ever advanced to the state duals, which are held inside venerable St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State University. They are Beaver Local, Shadyside and Steubenville. The Beavers reached the state semifinals last season. Big Red made the semis in 2016.

The winners of the eight regions in each of the three divisions (there are no Division I schools in the Eastern District) qualify for quarterfinal action at the state tournament, which will be held on Sunday, Feb. 16.

In Division III, Region 22 action at Alexander High School in Albany, Barnesville and Martins Ferry are the top two seeds, respectively. Both received byes in the first round and are battling the injury bug. The Shamrocks handled the Purple Riders earlier this season in a dual. No. 3 West Muskingum and fourth-seeded Shenandoah also received first-round byes into the quarterfinals.

The Shamrocks await the winner of the Bidwell River Valley-West Jefferson bout, while the Purple Riders get the winner of Amanda Clearcreek and Trimble, the 7th and 10th seeds, respectively.

Shadyside, the No. 11 seed, meets sixth-seeded Westfall in a first-round matchup. That winner gets the third seeded Tornadoes. Shenandoah awaits either Liberty Union, the fifth seed, or No. 12 Alexander.

I’ll take Martins Ferry to reach the state championships by avenging that prior setback to Barnesville.

At Mapleton High School in Ashland, Buckeye Local is the eighth seed in Region 21 and meets No. 9 Garaway in a first round match. Should the Panthers prevail, they would meet top-seeded Galion Northmor.

I like Buckeye in the first match, but not the second.

At Rootstown High School, Wellsville is the No. 7 seed and faces 10th-seeded United in Region 20. Saline Southern, No. 15, tangles with second-seeded Rootstown. No OVAC matchup in the quarters as the Tigers win, but the Indians don’t.

In Division II at Philo, St. Clairsville is the fourth seed in Region 13 and goes against OVAC newcomer New Philadelphia, seeded 13th. A win gets the Red Devils to the quarters where they would face either No. 5 Indian Valley, whom they lost to in the finals last year in Granville, or 12th-seeded Fairfield Union. Another victory would push the locals into the semifinals where top-seeded West Holmes most likely awaits.

Meadowbrook, the other OVAC entrant, is seeded 15th and meets No. 2 Carrollton.

I’ll go with St. Clairsville over Carrollton in the finals, giving the local area two squads in Columbus.

At Beachwood High School in Region 12, Beaver Local received the No. 2 seed behind perennial power Louisville. Steubenville is fourth and Indian Creek ninth.

Big Red meets the 13th-seeded hosts in a first-round pairing. The Redskins have No. 8 Revere in their first bout. The Beavers are into the quarterfinals with a bye.

This region has a host of talented squads. Not quite sure how Indian Creek and Steubenville ended up here when Carrollton and New Philadelphia were shipped south. I’ll go with Louisville over Beaver Local in a close match.

Panther Classic Leftovers

It seemed like a Pennsylvania dual meet at times last weekend at Buckeye Local High School in Connorville. Ten Keystone State grapplers came away with titles as only four OVAC individuals prevailed.

Two of the titlists from Pa. Are top-notch wrestlers. Carlynton’s Oleg Melnyk was the Ukraine Grand Champion last summer, according to his coach. Ellwood City’s Austin Walley improved to 31-1. He finished fourth in the PIAA Double-A last year and is ranked No. 3 this season.

Heavy Duty Quad

Parkersburg South hosted its annual Quad Classic last weekend as Huntington, Lakewood St. Edward and Wheeling Park competed.

The Ohio powerhouse flexed its muscles with victories over the Highlanders (73-4), the Ohio County Patriots (64-12) and the Wood County Patriots (41-22).

Locally, Wheeling Park earned a victory over Huntington (53-21) but fell to Parkersburg South (45-23).

Marshall County “Oldtimers” Tournament

The John Marshall Wrestling Boosters are holding an “Oldtimers Tournament on March 15 at the John Marshall Fieldhouse in Moundsville.

Age divisions are broken down into three groups: Youngens (19-35 years old); Middle Age (36-49); and Over the Hill (50-and-over).

All entrants must be postmarked by March 12. Emails will not be accepted after March 13.

For more information, text David Simmons at (304) 312-7362.

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