WHEELING - Parkersburg South's first foray into the Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Championships has already proved successful as 12 Patriots earned seeds for the 57th annual event, which takes place later this week at WesBanco Arena.
Coaches and tournament officials gathered at the arena's Heath Plan Pavilion on Monday to go over the seeds for the event, the 32nd in downtown Wheeling.
Thirteen-time defending West Virginia Class AA-A champion Oak Glen garnered nine seeds, while Beaver Local and Steubenville picked up eight each.
BY RICK THORP
Ron Mauck, namesake of the OVAC Wrestling Tournament, goes over changes to the brackets Monday night. View additional photos at theintelligencer.net
"If we're lucky enough to win this tournament, I think it will prepare well for the state tournament," Parkersburg South coach Paul Jackson said. "It's going to have to be consistent wrestling all throughout the tournament for us to win it."
The Patriots, defending West Virginia Class AAA champions and 22-0 in dual matches this season, are bolstered by No. 1 seed David Jeffrey (112) and No. 2 seeds Tyler Green (140), Bo Cooper (152), Chris Smith (171) and Steven Brogle (189).
While South is the favorite among many to win the tournament, Jackson is cautious, especially after the seeding meeting Sunday.
"I was just amazed when we came up for the seeding meeting of all the quality wrestlers," he said.
"I'm sure we'll have some blips on the radar and stuff like that but if we get beat we'll just have to come back and win in the consolation rounds."
Oak Glen has two No. 1 seeds in sophomore Zach Brown at 103 pounds and Joel Paolo at 140 pounds.
The Golden Bears sport a younger squad than normal this season, but Larry Shaw, coaching his last OVAC tournament, said his wrestlers are about where they should be.
"I tell our guys all the time that every match matters," he said. "We messed up in some matches early this season and that's come back to haunt us in moments like this.
"What we have to do is deal with the positions we are in and go from there."
Beaver Local's seeds are led by No. 1s Arizona Miller (125), Dylan Ice (145) and Jake Henderson (189).
Art Hobley (135) is Steubenville's lone No. 1 seed. Big Red is also bolstered by a No. 2 seed - Jamey DeVaul (215).
The other top seeds are St. Clairsville's Dillon Nolte (119), Cambridge's Dillon VanDyne (130), Barnesville's Kurtis Jefferis (152), defending champion and Harrison Central's Doug Eddy (160) and John Eckroth (285), Weirton Madonna's Max Nogay (171) and Buckeye Local's Rylan Piciak (215).
The tournament begins at 6 p.m. Thursday with the opening ceremonies, followed by first-round action at 6:30 p.m. Wrestling begins at Noon Friday and Saturday.
Ron Mauck, the event's namesake and longtime director, said it's his favorite week of the year.
"We are about to create some great memories," he said.