Roller coaster ride has begun

WHEELING – At the amusement park that was WesBanco Arena on Thursday night, wrestlers in the OVAC tournament went on a relaxing boat ride, so to speak.

Next comes the upside-down, stomach-churning, thrill-seeking adventure.

“Day 2 is always a roller coaster,” said Steubenville Catholic Central coach Aaron Henry. “It’ll get louder upstairs as the tournament goes on.

“As the roller coaster starts taking it’s course, it gets a lot louder. It’s exciting for all of us.”

After the first day of competition in the 61st OVAC wrestling tournament, Parkersburg South is in the driver’s seat with 44 points, while Oak Glen and Steubenville are in the next car with 41.5 and 41 points, respectively.

“It’s way too early to get a gauge on how the finals will shape up,” said Big Red coach Mike Blackburn. “I thought we came out strong. As young as we are, we wrestled with some confidence and we weren’t too scared out there.”

Steubenville’s No. 1 seeds, Tariq Wilson at 113 pounds and Brandon Jones at 170 each earned a technical fall win.

Wilson handled Thomas Mosman of Linsly in 1:45, while Jones downed Preston Miller of Cambridge in 0:52.

“They worked a little bit in the first period and each handle it for the fall,” Blackburn said. “After that, We knew we had a couple of tough matches against some seeded guys, but I can’t complain. It was a solid day.”

Edison’s No. 1 seed, Mitchell Wells in 182, earned a 16-1 technical fall over Cole Beckett of Beallsville in 2:22. He’s set up to face Big Red’s Mario Harvey in the next round.

Harvey earned a technical fall over Meadowbrook’s Trey West in 0:50.

Central’s top two seeds, Leo Hermann at 170 and Isacc Sanford at 195 were each place No. 2 in their respective weight classes and each earned a win by technical fall.

Hermann downed Magnolia’s Joel Hatfield, while Sanford handled Meadowbrook’s Austin Warford in 1:23.

“Every guy that steps on the mat is told to be focused on that guy in front of them,” Henry said. “We can’t be looking ahead to anything.

“It was a solid round of wrestling. Their attitude this season has been, no matter what, to get better every match. We go out there with that mentality every match and every tournament, especially here at the OVAC.”

The Crusaders currently sit in 12th place with 18 points, while Toronto is tied for 21st with 12 points. Donald Starkey (120 pounds), Charles Ross (152 pounds), Drew Lowery (170 pounds) and Alec Haynes (220 pounds) earned Day 1 wins for the Red Knights.

Indian Creek (27th place with 10 points) was led by Daniel Hague (113 pounds), Tyler McAffee (145 pounds) and Seth Williams (160 pounds).

At 132 pounds, Lane Weaver also earned a win for Edison, as did Nick FIsher at 145. The Wildcats sit in 28th place with 9.5 points.

Other Big Red winners include: Dakotah Goff (120), Jesse Hubbard (132), Brian Ferguson (138), Shawn Livingston (145), Niko Moray (152), Austin Deffenbaugh (160), Brandon Jones (170), Mario Harvey (182), Tim Albertson (195) and William Poplowski (285).

Timmy Young (106 pounds), Luke Coniker (120), Blake Kiedrowski (132) and Mike Crosby (152) also won for Catholic Central.

“The competition gets stiffer as we go,” said Henry, a Central grad and 8th year head coach. “We have a lot of wrestling left. It’s going to be an exciting day on Friday and Saturday.”

The only seeded wrestlers that lost was Beaver Local’s Jack Dawson, who was ranked third. Wheeling Park’s James Parsons pulled the upset with a 3-2 decision.