Big Red takes OVAC crown

WHEELING – The king has been dethroned.

Steubenville ended Parkersburg South’s three-year reign as Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament champions on Saturday night in the closest finish in four years

Big Red topped the team standings with 267.5 points in winning the tournament for the first time 1995. South totaled 257.

Wheeling Park was third with 197, while Brooke (139) and Beaver Local (132.5) rounded out the top five.

Harrison Central edged Bellaire by 16.5 in 2009, the year before South entered the conference.

”John Craig started this huge tradition back in the day and we’ve steadily been trying to get the program back to where it was,” an elated Steubenville coach Mike Blackburn said at WesBanco Arena. ”This is just a stepping stone and these kids deserve it.

”We have a lot seniors that have been with me for a long time.”

Four Big Reds earned championships, the most of any school. But Steubenville’s championship dreams were bolstered by a solid performance in Saturday’s afternoon session.

”It definitely showed where we placed,” he said. ”We had more than half the team either finish first, second, third or fourth and those are big points right there.”

Freshman Tariq Wilson started the night off right by winning the 106-pound championship against South’s Logan Ball. Anthony Craig followed later at 126. And when Charlie Kennan and Greg Moray won back-to-back titles at 195 and 220, Big Red knew the overall crown was theirs.

”All of our young kids came in and wrestled great,” Blackburn said. ”And that’s the kind of stuff you need to win tournaments like this.

”South set the bar pretty high the past few years and everyone has been trying to get to where they were at.”

Steubenville also won the Class 4A crown. South took home the 5A title, with River and Shadyside winning championships in Class 3A and 2A/1A, respectively.

Wheeling Park boasted two champions – Dylan Taylor at 138 and Cody Amos at 182. It was the third straight crown for Amos, a senior, who received the David Bierkorette Award as the event’s top wrestler as voted on by coaches.

”Dylan and Cody deserve everything they got,” Park coach Jack Doyle said. ”They came out and did what they needed to do.”

Amos also won both the Hercules Award given to the wrestler with the best time in pinning opponents. During the three-day event, Amos won five matches by pin in 6:40.

”His goal just isn’t to win championships,” Doyle said of Amos. ”His goal goal is to pin his way to a title.”

It was a big night for the Tigers as the senior trio of Ian Baker (145), Alex Quinn (152) and Chase Kinemond (160) won back-to-back-to-back crowns.

Quinn won his second straight title, while Baker and Kinemond stepped to the top spot on the awards’ stand for the first time.

”This is something special,” Shadyside coach Scott Kinemond was lifted into the air for the third time. ”This is the best wrestling moment for me.

”To see these three seniors accomplish this is great. Coaching them from kindergarten, first grade and just being with them throughout their lives and watching them grow up.

”I’m speechless.”

St. Clairsville’s Corey Earnest won his first OVAC crown by upending 2012 runner-up Taylor Ortiz of Morgantown at 220.

South’s Lance Hill (113), Meadowbrook’s Jerad Patterson (120), University’s Scott Lopez (132) and Beaver Local’s Daniel Lattanzio (170) were the other individual champions.