Ferry’s Roth Is Excited About Future

By RICK THORP

Staff Writer

WHEELING – He might not have realized it at the time, but when Scott Roth was toiling on the wrestling mats at Martins Ferry High School in the late 1990s, he was preparing himself for a future in coaching.

”I kind of thought I might end up coaching,” Roth said at last week’s Wheeling Park Duals. ”But I didn’t know I’d end up back here at Martins Ferry.

”I’m happy about this. This is my alma mater and I want to help keep the program where it needs to be.”

Roth would like nothing more to get the Purple Riders back atop the OVAC, a place the program hasn’t been since the 1998 and 1999 seasons, when Roth was competing for coach Jeff Oberdick.

”I’ve been helping out whenever I could,” Roth said. ”And this year my work schedule worked out and the opportunity presented itself and everything took off from there.”

The fact Roth had been working with the Martins Ferry program made the transition almost seemless.

”There haven’t been a lot of changes,” he said. ”I have some new ideas in mind … nothing too crazy. A little tweaking here and there with practice times, when we lift … things like that.”

Roth, the 2000 David Bierkorette winner as the OVAC Tournament’s most outstanding wrestler, certainly has a resume that commands respect.

At Martins Ferry, Roth won a state championship at 145 pounds in his senior season of 2000, was third in Columbus as a junior, and earned two OVAC crowns.

After high school, Roth went on to Cornell where he was a first-team All-Ivy League selection in 2004.

Clearly, Roth has plenty of knowledge to offer young wrestlers. That, combined with the words he soaked in from his prep and college coaches, give Roth some unique insight into the sport.

”I’ve had some pretty good coaches,” Roth said. ”I’ve tried to take a little bit from each of those guys, meld them all together and see what comes out.”

Roth knew what to expect as far as coaching wrestling. But as far as all of the other responsibilities that come with being a coach? Well, he’s still getting his feet wet.

”There’s a lot more paperwork,” he said, laughing. ”I’ve been dealing with these kids for a while, so that hasn’t been an adjustment. But things like getting ready for tournaments, seeding meetings and things like that … there’s a lot more going on from a preparation standpoint.”

This season’s Purple Riders squad is a team in transition, with a mix of veterans and youth.

Martins Ferry is counting on a group of experience in the middle weight classes to anchor the team’s success. Guys like Jeff Oberdick, Ryan Hotlosz and Mike Rose – all of whom placed at last January’s Ron Mauck OVAC Championships.

”That’s the meat of our lineup,” Roth said.

Add in other wrestlers like Dominick Driver and Martins Ferry could ne strong once tournament times comes.

Maintaining a strong wrestling tradition is more than just winning, according to Roth. It also includes having an eye to the future.

”We’re trying to get the younger kids to wrestle,” said Roth, who was a member of the Young Purple Riders Program growing up.

”We’re trying to promote the sport a little bit … build a fan base. If you can make it a more popular sport, more and more kids will want to do it.”