MORRISTOWN - For the second consecutive year, Wheeling Park has opened the 2011-12 wrestling season by winning the 19-team Union Local Doan Ford Invitational.
Saturday at 'The Hangar' in Morristown, the Patriots 'A' team recorded five individual champions on its way to a whopping 387 points, easily outdistancing second-place University, which had 311. Buckeye Local was third with 238, Watkins Memorial fourth at 220 and Edison fifth with 207, three more than Meadowbrook's 204.
Taking home first-place trophies were Dylan Taylor (126), Jonny Davis (132), Danny Colby (152), Cody Amos (171) and Casey Hewitt (285). Taylor, the Patriots' freshman phenom, was voted the Most Outstanding Wrestler by the tournament's coaches. He won his title with a 11-2 decision over Buckeye Local's Nathan Kirk.
"Dylan has put in a ridiculous amount of time training and he deserves everything he gets, but he is still young and has some things to work on. He did pretty good here today."
Davis could be called a natural as his father, Jason, was a three- time West Virginia state champion.
Davis claimed his championship when he blanked Weir's Hunter McLaughlin by a 6-0 count. Colby outpointed University's Jessee Perroots 7-2 and Amos pinned his fellow teammate, Greg Myers, and Hewitt outlasted Steubenville's Darrelle Solomon 1-0 in an overtime thriller.
"It's a great credit to these kids because they have trained so hard," said Wheeling Park head coach Sean Doyle. "Whenever we go to a tournament, we like to think that we've built our program to where we can 14 kids place."
The Patriots also had runnerups in Josh Dent (160) and Luke Braunlich (182), while two others finished third and another pair fourth. Buckeye Local and University were the only other squads to have more than one titlist, as each had a pair.
The Panthers' champions were Sam Ronevich (113) and Corey Slaga (195). Ronevich defeated Edison's Robert Shannon for his championship, while Slaga won his pool with a forfeit win over teammate JP Solomon.
The Hawks' first-placers included Blake Lillard (160) and Nate Constantine (182).
Other individual champions were Bellaire's Josh Davis (145); Meadowbrook's Jerad Patterson (106); Bloom-Carroll's Chandler Minnard (120); Watkins Memorial's Nick Lancia (138); and Wellsville's Seth Bloor (220).
Davis, who earned several honors during football season, claimed his weight class with a pin of Barnesville's Mason Plumly in 1:24.
Buckeye Local finished with five place-winners, including Tyler Singleton (120), Kirk (126) and Antonio Marques (138).
In addition to Josh Davis, Bellaire had a third-placer Christian Edmonds (170) and a fourth in Nick Maffe (160).
Barnesville's Chance Andrews (132) and Union Local's Zac Sowers (120) also finished fourth.