Shadyside shooting for high place; Quinn looks to repeat championship


Times Leader Sports Editor

SHADYSIDE — Basically every coach would love to go into a game or event under the radar, if you will.

As it pertains to this weekend’s 64th annual Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament, Shadyside isn’t afforded that opportunity.

After all, the Tigers are coming off their best showing in school history in 2016 in the three-day mat extravaganza that opens Thursday evening. Last season, the Tigers finished third overall, had an individual champion and eight total placers.

“There were pretty high expectations surrounding us coming into the season because of how well we did last year and we have such a strong senior class,” Shadyside head coach Sean Grinch said. “We have a target on our back and our guys realize that. They also know and understand the expectations of the program. We just need to go out and perform. We don’t want any additional stress or pressure placed on our guys. We’ll wrestle as hard as we can and see where the chips fall.”

Along with its OVAC success last season, the Tigers advanced to the OHSAA state team tournament and had an individual state runnerup.

This season hasn’t gone totally as planned for the Tigers. Whether it because of injury or a challenging schedule, Shadyside hasn’t had quite the amount of success it enjoyed last winter. But, according to Grinch, that’s OK.

“We have a solid lineup, but we might not have the depth for a dual because of we’re down in numbers and because of some of the injuries we’ve dealt with,” Grinch continued. “We don’t have a slouch in the lineup. We’re probably a better tournament team than we are a dual team and we’re hoping for a good weekend.”

The OVAC Tournament will always be one of the main events on the Shadyside schedule, but Grinch has stressed to his team that it’s not “the end all, be all” of the season either.

“I think sometimes I may have put too much emphasis on the OVAC,” Grinch said. “It’s a good tournament and a tournament we want to do well in, but it doesn’t determine the rest of our season. The ultimate goal is to get as many guys to Columbus for the (individual) state tournament and then hopefully get them onto the podium there. But, a good performance in the OVAC hopefully will lead to good things down the road.”

Grinch, who was an OVAC Coach of the Year finalist last year, believes the 1A/2A race could be a battle that comes all the way down to Saturday night’s rounds.

“Hopefully, we can duplicate what we did last year, but it’s going to be tough within our division,” Grinch said. “We want to get as many guys to Saturday as we can. I know Madonna and Caldwell are both solid teams. Our guys are looking forward to going and competing.”

The Tigers have certainly challenged themselves to help prepare for the stretch run of the season, which begins this weekend. They took part in a loaded Brecksville Tournament over the Christmas break. They also took part at Union Local and Barnesville’s invitationals. They won the team title at their own event earlier this month. In duals, the Tigers are 3-2 with losses to Indian Creek and Wheeling Park.

“For a school our size, I think we’ve wrestled a very competitive schedule,” Grinch noted. “December was tough on us and we knew that going in, but it’s starting to come together for us.”

The Tigers will fill 11 of the 14 weight classes this weekend. Their only vacancies come at 106, 113 and 195.

Shadyside is led into this weekend by senior standout Greg Quinn. The reigning 120-pound champion is back at that weight and owns a 24-0 record for the season. Quinn was a Division III state runnerup last season is now Shadyside’s all-time win leader.

Along with his title last season, Quinn was second as a freshman and and third as a sophomore.

“Greg’s done it all, basically,” Grinch said. “His story isn’t finished though. His ultimate goal is to win a state championship. He wants to win every tournament he enters and dominate. He enjoys imposing his will on his opponents. He’s a fun wrestler to watch because he’s good in every position.”

Sophomore Jacson Muldrew follows Quinn at 126 pounds. After finishing fourth at 113 last winter, Muldrew has bumped up two classes. He was a state qualifier as a frosh at 120 and is currently 20-3 on the season.

“Jackson had a good OVAC last year and it kind of springboarded him into the postseason,” Grinch explained. “He’s carried that over to this season. He’s gotten bigger, stronger and he works hard in the room. I expect big things from him.”

Senior Josh Kahl holds down 132 pounds. He’s a three-time OVAC semifinalist, but has yet to reach the title match. He’s placed sixth, fifth and fourth in the conference tournament. He enters with a 15-3 mark.

“It’s time for Josh to punch his ticket (to the final),” Grinch said. “On paper, 132 is one of the deeper weight classes in the tournament. Regardless of where he’s seeded, Josh has the talent to win it.”

Senior Billy Johnson is one to watch for the Tigers at 170 pounds. After being slowed early by a football injury, Johnson is 7-1 on the season and is coming off a fourth-place finish last season.

“Billy’s been beat up since football, but he’s starting to get healthier and I think he needs more mat time,” Grinch explained. “His goal is to win the OVAC title, and I think he can do it.”

Senior Collin Hunter, who is 14-7 on the season, resides at 138 pounds. He was eighth last season in the conference and is looking to build on that.

“I don’t think his record shows how solid of a season Collin has had,” Grinch said. “He’s battled a lot of tough guys. Confidence and pace are a big part of it for him.”

Cody Hawthorne gets the call at 145 pounds. Though he didn’t compete at the OVAC last season because of injury, he bounced back and qualified for the state tournament. He’s currently 16-9 on the season.

“Cody has had an up and down year, but he wrestled well at our tournament and is starting to show some flashes of where he was last year,” Grinch said. “He’s going to have to wrestle well to place, but I think he has it in him.”

Senior Will Brown will be entered at 152 pounds with a 14-8 record. He, too, didn’t wrestle in the OVAC last season. He’s bounced around in terms of weight class this season.

“Will has really grown and is still adjusting to wrestling at the heavier weight,” Grinch said. “He needs a good draw, but I think he can knock some guys off.”

Josh Robinson will enter at either 220 or 285, according to his head coach. Now 12-7, Robinson has placed in three tournaments. If Donnie Meadows, who was a placer last season, is able to compete for the first time this season, Robinson will go at 220.

“Josh has had a pretty good season,” Grinch said. “I know his goal is to place (in the OVAC) and I think he has the ability to do it, but it’s probably going to come down to the draw.”

Two relative newcomers to the team will enter at 160 and 182 pounds, respectively. Dale Hawthorne will enter in the lighter weight, while senior Taylor Prickett holds down the latter.

Along with Meadows being slowed by injury, Shadyside is also without the services of D.J. Hoge and Wyatt Schrader.

Graduation claimed OVAC placers Brett Kahl and Austin Allen as well as Bailey Chaplin, Matt Shaw and Eli Karkowski.

Grinch is being assisted by Chase Grinch, Bryan Crozier and Luke Burkhardt at the varsity level. Kurt Glasser and Jeff Campbell guide the junior high program.


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