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St. Clairsville wrestlers fall in regional semifinal

T-L Photo/KIM NORTH ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Derek Witsberger grapples with West Holmes’ Skylar Anderson during their 220-pound bout at the Ohio Division II, Region 13 Team Tournament Saturday at Philo Junior High School. Witsberger won, 9-5, but the Red Devils fell 60-19 in the semifinals.

DUNCAN FALLS — St. Clairsville’s bid for a berth in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Team Tournament was derailed Saturday afternoon inside the “Power Plant” at Philo Junior High School.

The Red Devils, seeded fourth, had advanced to the Division II, Region 13 semifinals with impressive victories over No. 13 New Philadelphia (58-24) and No. 5 Indian Valley (50-27) before running into top-seeded West Holmes in a 60-19 loss. The win over the Braves avenged a setback in last year’s regional final at Granville High School.

“We wrestled very uninspired. They didn’t want it. In a big match like this, you’ve got to get fired up,” St. Clairsville head coach Joel Sansone assessed of his team’s performance against the Knights, who eventually won the title with a 39-24 nod over third-seeded New Lexington. “We had no upsets. They just weren’t ready.”

Sansone said maybe his team was burned out after the grind they’ve been through this season.

“We’re going to give the kids a couple of days off,” he said. “Then we’ll start getting ready for the (Div. II) sectionals.”

Only for St. Clairsville grapplers were able to collect three victories on the day. They were junior Koen Kish (126), sophomore Cade Stout (138), junior Reese Skaggs (195) and senior Derek Witsberger (220).

Kish recorded three first-period pins, including a 28-second fall in the first round. He only needed 54 ticks in the quarters before notching a 1:17 pin in the semis.

Stout had a pin (1:46), a technical fall (17-2) and a major decision (17-5).

Skaggs scored a major decision (13-5) against New Philadelphia before being awarded a forfeit at 220 against Indian Valley. He pinned his opponent in the semifinals in a mere 36 seconds.

Witsberger earned a pin (0:45) and a decision (9-5) at 220. He also decisioned his foe at 285 against Indian Valley.

“The guys we expected to go out and win did,” Sansone noted. “They all wrestled well.”

In the triumph over New Philadelphia, Gannon Kazmirski (106), Zach McKeever (113), Kish, Stout, Austin DaRe (152), Pablo Escarcega (170) and Witsberger had pins. Nate Witsberger (120) and Reece Spomer (160) were awarded forfeits.

Against Indian Valley, Kazmirski, Kish, Mason McCort (145), DaRe and Spomer all recorded pins. Stout and Derek Witsberger earned decisions, while George Harrison (195) was awarded a forfeit.

Division III

AT ALBANY, top-seeded Barnesville and No. 2 Martins Ferry both lost their first-round matches at Alexander High School. Both are riddled with injuries as several starters were out for both squads.

Barnesville dropped a 43-33 decision to No. 9 Bidwell River Valley after leading 33-14. However, it lost the final five matches, the last four by pins.

The Shamrocks’ Jacob Boulet (145) earned a 9-2 decision. Griffen Stephen (113), Easton Little (120), Carter Wells (126), George Hoover (132) anhd Owen Oliver (160) all won by forfeits.

Martins Ferry saw its valiant comeback fall just shy in a 39-36 reversal to seventh-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek. The Purple Riders trailed 39-6 before claiming the last six bouts.

Winning by pins were Kameron Hughes (170) and Noah Duck (182). Chase Goff (160) posted a major decision, while Zakary Dobson (220) won by decision. Dylan Ward (106), Richard McFarland (182) and Zeke Bruney (285) were awarded forfeits.

Shadyside lost to Westfall 66-18 in the first round.

Winning for the Tigers by pins were Jakob Klug (170), Robert Klopp (220) and Jalob Honeywell (285).

Shenandoah, the No. 4 seed, defeated Amanda-Clearcreek, 63-18, for the championship. The Zeps will compete on Sunday, Feb. 16 in the state tournament.

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