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Barnesville is sectional champion

Photo by Kim North Barnesville’s Skyler King has a leg up on Union Local’s Brody Perzanowski during their 157-pound championship bout Saturday at Barnesville High School.

BARNESVILLE — For the fifth time in the last six, Barnesville is the Ohio Division III sectional wrestling tournament champion. The highly regarded Shamrocks piled up a whopping 266.5 points, which was more than double that of runner up Waterford’s 120.

Half of Barnesville’s 12 district tournament qualifiers are going as sectional champions, and all accomplished that feat with pins. The Shamrocks also had a trio of second-place finishers and three third-placers.

The only time the Shamrocks weren’t sectional champs was in 2022 when they were second to Martins Ferry, but won the district the next year. They are three-time district champs.

“We didn’t enter a full lineup because of some sickness and health reasons,” veteran Barnesville head coach Jayson Stephen said. “I am happy with the way the kids wrestled, but a few of them could’ve had higher finishes. As a coach, you want them all to win.”

The top four finishers in each weight class move on to the district tournament on Friday and Saturday at Heath High School near Zanesville. The top four there advance to the state tournament at Ohio State University’s Jerome Schottenstein Center on March 8-10.

Winning sectional titles for the fourth consecutive season were senior stalwarts Dakota King (138) and Skyler King (157) — who are not related. Claiming their third was classmate and Cleveland State University signee Reese Stephens (150), a defending state champion who didn’t compete in the postseason as a sophomore, and junior Ayden King (165), the younger brother of Skyler. Senior Johnathan Huntsman (113) won for the second time, while freshman Colt Carpenter (126) won in his first attempt.

Huntsman needed a mere 29 seconds in dispatching Union Local’s Gavin Bolock; Dakota King’s pin came in 1:53; Stephen used 55 seconds; Skyler King’s came in 4:32; and Ayden King’s in 1:15.

All of the aforementioned are returning state qualifiers, except, of course, Carpenter, as Ohio State University recruit Dakota King, now 48-2, and Stephen, who improved to 46-3, are three-time state placers. Two-time state placers Skyler King, who is 46-3, and Huntsman, 27-6, are both two-time champions and both placed at last year’s state tournament. Another returning state qualifier, Karson Milhoan (144), finished third.

“Those kids there know what they have to do and this was the first step,” Coach Stephen said. “They will have to step it up another notch next week.”

According to the website Borofan, Barnesville is predicted to win the state title.

Other Barnesville district qualifiers include runners-up Easton Stephen (106), Hines Ford (175) and Marshall Meade (285). Also taking third was Brayden Trigg (132). Ayden Andrews (120) was fourth.

Union Local was fifth with 100.5 points, just a half-a-point ahead of Nelsonville-York and had four district qualifiers, including a trio of runners-up. River finished 10th and is sending four individuals to the district tournament. Monroe Central has one district qualifier.

In addition to Bolock, two other Jets lost in the championship finals, those being Gunnar Gossett (144) and Brody Perzanowski (157).

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