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Area matmen move closer to state in Division III

Barnesville’s Logan Tague and Pleasant’s Skyler Wolf are tangled up during their 132-pound quarterfinal match Friday during the Division III Eastern District wrestling tournament at ‘The Pit’ inside Coshocton High School. Tague won 6-2 to move on to the semifinals.

COSHOCTON — Eleven area individuals have advanced to the semifinals of the Division III Eastern District wrestling tournament after Friday’s action inside ‘The Pit’ at Coshocton High School.

Over half of those advancees hail from Barnesville, which piled up 52.5 points during the morning session to lead the pack. However, the Shamrocks sit in second place with 71.5 points while Sandy Valley tops the team race with 85. Martins Ferry is sixth with 46.

Barnesville, as has been the norm, came out ready to wrestle as freshman Reese Stephen (106), classmate Dakota King (113), junior Griffen Stephen (120), freshman Skyler King (126) and sophomore Logan Tague (132) all won their first two matches during the morning session. However, only Dakota King won both by pin as he prevailed in 1:38 and 5:58. He improved to a nifty 41-2.

Reese Stephen, ranked 5th, had a pin and technical fall, while older brother, Griffen, registered a pin and major decision to hike his record to 31-9. He is ranked 12th and is a defending district and two-time state qualifier. Skyler King, no relation to Dakota, had a major decision and a forfeit. He is also ranked 12th and is now 30-8. Tague, a transfer from Meadowbrook, is now 32-9 after picking up a pin and decision. He is also ranked 12th.

Senior Cameron Woods (160) joined the group with a pair of pins in the second session. He is ranked ninth and was a state alternate last year. He is now 39-7.

Classmate Jacob Boulet (170) is still alive in the consolation bracket.

“The kids came out ready to wrestle,” Barnesville head coach Jayson Stephen said. “We’re starting to expect that out of them, even though most of them are still young. They’ve wrestled hundreds of matches in their lives.”

Martins Ferry sent three to the semifinals while Buckeye Local has a pair.

The Purple Riders’ Dylan Ward (106), Kameron Hughes (170) and Zac Dobson (220) all won two matches in the championship bracket, with Ward, who was third in the Barnesville sectional, opening some eyes with a 1:18 pin of West Jefferson’s Gabe Rhodes, who was second in the Mount Pleasant sectional. He then upset Alexander sectional champion Zane Pickerrell of Zane Trace, 6-1.

“He wrestled well. We’ve been telling him all week it doesn’t matter who’s in front of him, what there record is or where they are from, we work out butts off every day,” Martins Ferry head coach Chad Ware said of his 26-11 sophomore. “We know what we can do, and he did it.”

Hughes is a two-time state qualifier as a fourth-place district finisher at 170, earned a pair of third-period pins in 5:21 and 5:12. The Barnesville sectional champ is now 33-7 and is ranked 7th.

Dobson, who is now an impressive 34-1 and ranked 11th, recorded a pair of pins in 1:15 and 4:22.

“Our kids wrestled well today,” Ware added. “They knew what they had to do and they did it.”

Remaining in the hunt for another state berth is senior Chase Goff (160) who is alive in the consolation bracket.

The Panthers’ Brian Palmer Jr. (152) is seeking his fourth state berth. He is a two-time state placer and became Buckeye Local’s all-time winningest wrestler when he surpassed former head coach Willie Saxton’s mark of 168.

Now 36-1 on the season, Palmer Jr. scored a 15-0 technical fall and a 12-0 major decision in his quest for a third district title. he was runnerup last season and is ranked second.

Classmate Alexio Morales (195) improved to 32-6 with a pin in 2:29 and a 2-1 decision. Morales won the Barnesville sectional.

Toronto’s Garrett Dozier (145) is also seeking a repeat trip to the state tournament. He collected a pin and a decision in advancing to the semifinals.

Several grapplers kept their state tournament hopes alive with consolation bracket victories.

They are Harrison Central’s Lucas Thomas (220); Shadyside’s Brendan Schrader (152); Union Local’s duo of Brady Crum (152) and Claude Romshak (170); the River tandem of Christopher Heavner (120) and Marshal Bier (285); and Edison’s twosome of Ethan Waggoner (152) and Jamison Stiles (285).

The top 4 finishers in each weight class move on to the 84th state tournament to be held at Marion Harding High School on March 13-14.

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