Harrison brings youthful bunch to tourney


Times Leader Sports Writer

CADIZ — Harrison Central has enjoyed success in past Ron Mauck Ohio Valley Athletic Conference wrestling tournaments, but veteran head coach Bill Bryant, who has been associated with the program for 17 years, including the last seven as head coach, brings a young team into this year’s event.

The Huskies will have a lot of fresh faces in their lineup when the 64th annual event kicks off a three-day stay inside downtown Wheeling’s WesBanco Arena on Thursday. They lost 10 lettermen from last winter’s squad and have a mere two seniors in their projected lineup.

Harrison Central was fifth in Class 4A last winter and 15th overall. It captured the 3A and overall titles in 2009 under head coach Todd Dunlap.

“We have a great group of young men that I’m proud of. They all work hard in the practice room and they almost always leave it on the mat, win or lose,” he said. “There is a lack of varsity experience in our lineup, but most of them have been wrestling since 7th grade. They are all getting better each week.

“To do well at the OVAC Tournament, we are going to have to have every wrestler win a match or two,” he continued. “We have several wrestlers that could possibly place, but for all of them to do that we will have to have our best outing of the season.”

Five Harrison Central grapplers are ranked among the top in their respective weight classes by ovaec.com, with junior Owen Ott No. 3 at 106. He has competed most of the season at 113 and is currently 14-6. He placed fourth as a sophomore.

“Owen has seen some stiff competition at 113 this year, so I feel he has been tested,” Bryant said. “If he drops down to 106, he will be tough to beat.”

Freshman Austin Howard is penciled in at 120. He is ranked 13th.

“For a freshman he has done well for himself,” Bryant noted. “He is currently out with an injury, but we’re excited about getting him back on the mats.”

Junior Coleman Dodds is also 9-9 at 152. He is ranked 14th.

“He may have suffered a season-ending injury, but he is remaining very optimistic,” Bryant pointed out. “If he gets a chance to compete, he should be a placer.”

Sophomore Blayne Erwin is No. 6 at 170 despite his 8-9 record.

“He is wrestling very well this season and has recently dropped a weight class,” Bryant said. “He should be ready to compete full speed by the OVAC Tournament.”

Senior Brenton Stull is an impressive 18-1 this season at 285. He has a career record of 87-40 and is ranked eighth.

The remainder of the lineup consists of:

At 126 is sophomore Zane Everhart, who is 9-9.

“He has developed as a wrestler over the last year, and if he can continue I feel he could push himself deep into the tournament,” Bryant allowed.

Freshman Bryce Ward is 4-11 at 132.

“He is undersized at his weight, but he goes out every match and gives us everything he has,” Bryant added.

Zach Marbais is 4-5 as a sophomore at 138.

“He is having a rough start to the season with multiple injuries, but he is battling and staying competitive.”

At 145 is junior Jabyn Moore who is 10-7.

“He has really been wrestling to his potential and if he continues to be committed, I believe he has a chance to place at the OVAC Tournament,” Bryant stressed.

The other senior, 160-pound Malcolm Boyer is 10-5 thus far.

“What a great individual. He’s all about this team,” Bryant noted. “He has been in our lineup for four years. He will battle with the best of them.

“He could make a push for placement depending on the draw.”

Cody Gamble is a sophomore 182-pounder with a 10-5 mark.

“He is another kid that may have suffered a season-ending injury, but he is ready to go if released,” Bryant said. “He is a very hard worker and has been the biggest surprise so far this season. I believe if he can get through the injury, he’ll have a chance to be on the podium Saturday night.”

Junior Chandler Greer is 0-0 at 195.

“He is a first-year wrestler who hasn’t been allowed to compete yet, but we are excited to get him on the mat because he is a very coachable wrestler and listens to what the coaches are telling him,” Bryant explained.

Josh Croft, a sophomore, is 9-10 at 220.

“After missing most of last year with an injury, it has taken him some time getting back in the groove, but he has started to wrestle better lately.”

Lost to graduation were third-place winners Brandon White and Antony Risley. The duo were state qualifiers.

Bryant is assisted by Dunlap, Bill Bryant, Richard McKinney, Joe Thomas, Adam Cummings, David “Opy” Nameth, Ian Howell, Matt Shurina and Brad Bryant.


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