By DAVE MORRISON
WHEELING - There were a lot of great moments for Wheeling Park at the 2014 Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Championships on Saturday at WesBanco Arena.
Shadyside’s Greg Quinn wrestles with East Liverpool’s Alex Potts during the OVAC Tournament. Potts won the 106-pound bout 4-2.
That the Patriots had four individual champions was the tip of the iceberg.
There was the David Bierkotte Award, given to the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler, won by Park's 152-pound champion Jonny Davis.
There was the fact the Patriots finished second to overall winner Parkersburg South.
All that came in second for coach Jack Doyle.
Park's greatest moment just might have been the highlight of the tournament, when James Parsons, a freshman, came out of basically nowhere to place third in the 113-pound weight class.
Sure, it wasn't a championship.
Those went to the more accomplished of Park's wrestlers, the seeded guys like Dallas Baciak (25-2) at 120 pounds, Davis, Eric Banks (16-0) at 160 pounds and Geremy Paige (16-1) at 220 pounds.
He entered the tournament unseeded and with a losing record.
"He came in here and wrestled the tournament of his life," Doyle said. "Honestly, I thought he might have a chance to place, but to place third, and win the way he did, it says a whole lot about the kid. He was transitioning from middle school to high school and that took some time."
Apparently, mid-January to be exact.
"I wasn't sure what to expect even coming in here," Parsons said. "I was nervous, even a little scared. But after I got on the mat for that first match (Thursday) it was like something clicked. When I won that first won I started thinking I might be able to do something."
He did something all right.
He raced all way to the third-place match, where he faced Jack Dawson, a Beaver Local junior.
Dawson took a 4-3 lead and seemed to be in control of the match as time was ticking away.
With five seconds left, it happened.
"I tossed him," Parsons said. "I couldn't believe it."
You would have thought he won a title.
"Jack kind of wears his emotions on his sleeve," Doyle said. "And that is what we love about him. He's really starting to come on. Plus he gets to wrestle against an OVAC champion (Baciak) in practice every day. That really has helped him out."
Parkersburg South, who had won two straight titles before losing it to Steubenville last year (Big Red placed third), got the title back, something coach Donna Davis had hoped to do, for more far-reaching reasons that just an OVAC title.
"It's big and I am very proud of these boys. They came to wrestle," she said. "We have been underestimated all year and they wanted to come in and prove they belong in one of the toughest tournaments there are. They did that. They proved to everybody that they can wrestle and, more importantly, they proved it to themselves."
The South Patriots did a bulk of their damage in the early rounds, pinning 24 of 26 opponents in the first two rounds.
"Tournaments are won in the consolation rounds," she said. "We did well."
South did have two wrestlers in the championship round Hunter DeLong (145) and Justin Allman (182) and both won their respective classes.
Steubenville's 113-pound ace Toriq Wilson won the Hercules Award, given to the wrestler with the most pins in the least amount of time. Wilson had four in 5:09.
Other 2014 OVAC champions (and their weight class) include East Liverpool's Alex Potts (106), Meadowbrook's Tyler Jenkins (126), University's Isiah Hood (132), Caldwell's Kameron Rayner (138), Steubenville Catholic's Leo Herrmann (170), East Liverpool's Johnny Miscuk (195) snf Martins Ferry's Jon Bodkin (285).