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Cuffaro, Crosier honored with prestigious Mr. Mat awards

WHEELING – The most prestigious special award presented at the annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Ron Mauck is Mr. Mat.

Prior to championship finals of the 68th edition Saturday inside WesBanco Arena, two individuals were honored for their service and commitment to high school wrestling in the Ohio Valley.

Due to the three-day event being canceled last winter due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 and 2022 were awarded.

Wheeling’s Pete Cuffaro was presented with the 2021 Blue jacket, while Barnesville’s Jeff Crosier received the 2022.

CUFFARO has been instrumental in supporting and promoting the sport. Over a quarter century, he served as a volunteer clock operator and official scorekeeper as the OVAC Ron Mauck Championships, as well as other tournaments around the valley.

He didn’t let a spinal cord injury from a freak diving accident in 1983 keep him down. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, he continued to be involved in athletic events for decades, as well as numerous civic organizations in the Wheeling area.

Just prior to his injury, Cuffaro started the Daniel M. Burke Memorial Wrestling Scholarship in honor of former Wheeling Park wrestler Daniel M. Burke, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident.

He lives by the following motto: “No matter how bad you think you have it, look around. You can always find someone else who has it worse than you do. Count your blessings.”

CROSIER has been a fixture around OVAC wrestling events for more than 40 years, serving in a variety of capacities.

He began his coaching career in 1981 at Mingo High School. He then matriculated to Barnesville where he spent 15 years. He had 52 OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament placewinners; 32 Ohio state qualifiers; and 11 Ohio state placers. His teams won four Ohio sectional tournaments and one district crown, as well as a trio of OVAC Class AA/AAA Dual Meet titles.

He was honored as the 1994 Ohio Division III Coach of the Year. He was also presented with the OVAC Class AA Coach of the Year in 2000.

Crosier has also held several leadership roles in the OVAC, including OVAC Executive Board president from 2018-20.

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