OVAC Wrestling format changed announced
WHEELING — The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things locally, regionally, nationally and across the world. The 68th annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Ron Mauck Wrestling Championships is the latest to fall victim to the virus.
For the first time in quite some time, the three-day event has been reduced to a pair of Saturdays in January, 2021. The announcement came during Monday night’s preseason press conference inside WesBanco Arena.
“The committees met and looked over the modifications from each state association and come up with a plan that, No. 1, I think is a safe one for our wrestlers, coaches, fans and workers,” Director Dr. Dan Doyle explained. “No. 2, I think it is fair to all the 41 schools that have wrestling. I also think our champions will be true champions and they will get their due recognition that an OVAC champ earns.”
The event schedule is broken down into two sessions each on Saturday, Jan. 9 inside the John Marshall Fieldhouse and Saturday, Jan. 16 inside WesBanco Arena.
Only the top 12 wrestlers in each weight class will be entered with the seed/selection committee meeting on Sunday, Jan. 3 for the seedings, plus one alternate in each weight division. The final top 4 seeds will receive automatic bids to the conference championships, with the seeds 5-12 competing on the first weekend.
“Only the top 8 wrestlers in each weight class will receive berths to the championships on the 16th,” Doyle noted.
On the first day, preliminary round matches at 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138 and 145 will be contested, beginning at 11 a.m. with first-round bouts. Second round championship matches, along with first- and second-round consolation bouts will be run from noon until 1:30 p.m., with third-round championship and the final consolation matches held from 2-3 p.m.
The fieldhouse will be cleared and deeply sanitized prior to the second session beginning at 4 p.m. with bouts at 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. Second round championship matches, along with first- and second-round consolation bouts will be run from noon until 1:30 p.m., with third-round championship and the final consolation matches held from 2-3 p.m.
On the second weekend inside WesBanco Arena, quarterfinal matches in the championship bracket will be contested, starting at 10 a.m., at 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138 and 145. Semifinals will follow at 11, with the introduction ceremony beginning at 1 p.m. The championship finals and matches for third-, fifth- and seventh-places start at 1:20.
The downtown facility will once again be cleared deeply sanitized prior to the second session beginning at 4 p.m. with bouts at 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. Championship quarterfinal bouts kick off the final session, with the semifinals starting at 5. The introduction ceremony begins at 7 and the championship finals and matches for third-, fifth- and seventh-places start at 7:20.
âI commend the committee because they have been getting together the last 4-5 weeks once we received word on what our states were doing,ã Doyle praised. âTo come up with this format is a great thing, but the only thing we do know is itás going to change, and if it does, letás hope itás for the good because weáll go right back to having all 41 schools here on Thursday, Friday and Saturday like in the past, but we have to be flexible this year.ã
Wheeling Park head coach Brian Leggett liked what he heard.
âFirst and foremost, Iám just glad itás happening. A lot of people were fearing the worst, but we (the committee) came together and itás worked out to where weáre going to get these kids wrestling. Thatás the main goal, really.ã
Barnesvilleás Jayson Stephen echoed Leggettás thoughts.
âObviously itás different. Tonight is the third meeting Iáve been through and itás basically about the kids,ã he stressed. âI feel bad for some of the other kids being left out, but when it comes down to guidelines and rules itás either play by them and have something, or donát and have nothing at all. Hopefully, it works.ã
All high school schedules must be turned in by Dec. 1 and all results by Jan. 16;
The cut-off for the OVAC Bill Hinegardner Dual Meet Championships is Jan. 20. Responses if participating are due by Monday;
The duals are tentatively scheduled for Jan. 27 at the John Marshall Fieldhouse for Class 3A and Class 5A, and on Jan. 28 at Brooke for Classes 1-2A and 4A
There will be no reunion of the 25-year champions this year;
There are 11 new officials completing the required certification this year;
Only one new coach, Guy Nestor at Buckeye Local, came aboard this season. He is a former Panthers coach.