ST. CLAIRSVILLE - It wasn't the decision the OVAC All-Stars were looking for Tuesday night during the 19th annual "Clash of the Champions" inside St. Clairsville High School.
Dropping eight of the 13 matches - seven by decision - the locals came out on the short end of a 28-20 decision to Western Pennsylvania's Midwestern Athletic Conference on John Jenkins Court.
"We were on the other side as far as the last couple of years," OVAC and Steubenville Catholic coach Aaron Henry said. "We wrestled well. We lost a couple of close matches, but this is a great group of talent."
Wheeling Park 220-pounder Geremy Paige won by pinfall and was named the OVAC’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. MAC Coach Mike Johnson gives him his award.
Despite the loss, the OVAC still holds a 13-6 advantage in the all-time series, which dates to 1988. It was held annually until 1995, and resumed in 2003.
Trailing 9-0, the OVAC reeled off a trio of victories by University's Isiaih Hood (132), Caldwell's Kameron Rayner (138), and Union Local's Zac Sowers (145).
Hood and Rayner, both 2014 Ron Mauck OVAC Tournament champions, scored major decisions to cut the gap to 9-8, and Sowers' 4-0 blanking of Ellwood City's Donnie Kerr gave the hosts their only lead at 11-9.
The Pennsylvania squad ran off victories in four of the next five weight classes to build a 25-14 lead.
South Fayette's Grant Fetchet and Chartiers-Houston's Derek Hull scored a pair of decisions against the Wheeling Park duo of Johnny Davis (3-1) and Eric Banks (9-2) at 152 and 160, respectively.
Steubenville Catholic's Leon Hermann, also an OVAC champion this season, stopped the bleeding when he rallied past Laurel's Dalton Rosta, 6-5. Trailing 5-4 late in the match, the Crusaders senior, who will play soccer in college, recorded a takedown with 22.2 left and held on for the thrilling victory.
"That was great for Leo," Henry said. "It was good for him to get a win in his last match. He had a really good season."
The MAC regained the momentum as Ellwood City's Brad Grinnen pinned Steubenville Catholic's Lucas Borden in 1:25 at 182 and Montour's Cole Macek, who finished sixth in the PIAA state meet last weekend, posted a 9-1 major decision on River's Brett Rosen at 195.
The OVAC pulled to within a pin of winning the match when Wheeling Park's Geremy Paige pinned Butler's Will Bortas in a quick 1:20 at 220. Paige, another Ron Mauck champion, was named the OVAC's Most Outstanding Wrestler for his short performance.
It all came down to the heavyweights, but Beaver Local's Cody Martsolf, a last-minute replacement for Brooke's Preston Wise, dropped a 3-1 decision to Ambridge's Calvin Sittig after leading 1-0 after two periods.
Officiating the match were Jack Regis Sr. and Ray Marling.
South Fayette's Fetchet was named the MAC Most Outstanding Wrestler.
MAC 28, OVAC 20
113: Bruce (Trinity) d. Wiley (Caldwell), 7-2; 120: Price (Canon-MacMillan) d. Cornell (Oak Glen), 3-2; 126: Sonson (Hopewell) d. Singleton (Barnesville), 10-3; 132: Hood (University) md. Braddock (Blackhawk), 14-1; 138: Rayner (Caldwell) md. Winkle (Hopewell), 10-0; 145: Sowers (Union Local) d. Kerr (Ellwood City), 4-0; 152: Fetchet (South Fayette) d. Davis (Wheeling Park), 3-1; 160: Hull (Chartiers-Houston) d. Banks (Wheeling Park), 9-2; 170: Hermann (Steubenville Catholic) d. Rosta (Laurel), 6-5; 182: Grinnen (Ellwood City) p. Borden (Steubenville Catholic), 1:25; 195: Macek (Montour) md. Rosen (River), 9-1; 220: Paige (Wheeling Park ) p. Bortas (Butler), 1:20; 285: Sittig (Ambridge) d. Martsolf (Beaver Local), 3-1.