WHEELING - Conventional wisdom says Parkersburg South is the heavy favorite to three-peat at next week's Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Championships.
Steubenville might have something to say about that.
Two weeks after giving the Patriots all they could handle in the finals of the Wheeling Park Duals, Big Red put its sights on another group of Patriots on Wednesday night.
Wheeling Park’s Danny Colby, top, gets position on Big Red’s Trent Mays. Mays major decisioned Colby during their 152-pound bout Wednesday night.
This time they emerged victorious in a big way.
Steubenville, the top-ranked squad in OVAC 4A, had its way with Wheeling Park, ranked second in Class 5A, 50-12 in a key dual match at Wheeling Park High School.
Steubenville (15-1 in dual matches) won 11 of the 14 matches, including a forfeit, to garner plenty of momentum heading into the OVACs.
''We knew coming in that it was going to be a really good dual,'' Big Red Coach Mike Blackburn said. ''I'm happy with the way we wrestled. Hopefully, we can continue this for a few more weeks.''
With the seeding meeting for the OVACs set for Sunday morning at WesBanco Arena, Blackburn said his team's performance came at the right time.
''At 132, 138, 152 and 160 (pounds) our opponents were all ranked higher than us in the OVAC,'' Blackburn said. ''So, those are all big wins.
''For seeding it's huge. If you win, it's huge, especially if you're the underdog. It gives those guys a lot of confidence.''
One of Big Red's biggest victories of the night came at 152 pounds where freshman Trent Mays major decisioned Park's Danny Colby, 11-3.
Colby entered the night top-ranked in the weight class.
''For Trent, that was a huge victory,'' Blackburn said. ''He's definitely not a freshman anymore.''
At 132, Steubenville's Jake McKitrick rallied past Johnny Davis, 5-3, on a takedown in the third period.
Big Red's Chastin Hobley followed with 2-1 decision of Eric Banks at 138.
After Steubenville's Shawn McGhee picked up a tough 5-1 triumph against Kodiac Garcia at 145, and Mays' victory, Big Red's Mark Cole pinned Greg Myers in 4:26.
''I knew Steubenville would challenge us at every weight, that wasn't a surprise to me,'' Park Coach Sean Doyle said. ''Our lightweights did a fantastic job of fighting hard against kids that were superior to them and when we hit the middle weights some of our older and more experienced kids plain just didn't get the job done.''
Cody Amos, a defending OVAC champ, and Luke Braunlich picked up back-to-back victories at 170 and 182 for the Ohio County Patriots.
Park's other victory came at 126. Freshman Dylan Taylor won by injury default after Brandon Llewellyn had to leave the match with an elbow injury.
Devan Brown (106), Anthony Craig (113), Anthony Parada (120), Charlie Kennan (195), Ryan Wood (185) and Greg Moray (220), via forfeit, also won for Steubenville.
''I knew we were going to have a lot of tough matches ... our better kids were going to have a lot of tough matches,'' Doyle said. ''But their kids came to wrestle. I don't know if, emotionally, our guys were too involved in the match but some of our better kids struggled mightily to finish third periods.''
As for Steubenville, Blackburn knows South will pose a big challenge next week, but his team's ready.
''They've set the bar high and they have a couple of starters back from injury,'' he said of Coach Paul Jackson's Patriots. ''Our thing is we want to be in the best shape we can be and, hopefully, Brandon's (Llewellyn) healthy and we can make a run at it.''