Steubenville Wins First Park Duals Crown

Ely’s victory helps Big Red edge Carrollton

Steubenville’s Kieffer Bodnar controls Carrollton’s Chase Baxter during their 195-pound bout at the Wheeling Park Duals championship. Photo by Kim North

WHEELING — One for the ages.

Tyler Ely debuted a new move Friday night and it allowed Steubenville to hold off Carrollton in the championship match of the 28th annual Wheeling Park Duals, 38-31, inside WesBanco Arena.

“A friend of mine showed it to me the other day. He told me to try it out,” the soft-spoken 280-pound senior said. “So I did and it worked.”

Ely, an Ohio state meet qualifier last winter, was leading the Warriors’ Tavis Rutledge by a slim 1-0 count heading to the third period of their heavyweight bout. When Rutledge choose the neutral position to start the final two-minute period, Ely knew it was time. As Rutledge leaned in to tie up, Ely swiftly dipped under and took his opponent to the mat before recording the match-clinching pin with 55 seconds showing on the clock.

“It’s called a duck,” he said with a smile. “It worked.”

Ely, a OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament runnerup last season, also propelled Big Red into the championship match when he defeated Wheeling Park’s Calvin McGaha as the Jefferson Countians won, 39-34.

“Tyler is a senior who is very talented. He’s a very good heavyweight,” Steubenville coach Mike Blackburn said. “If it comes down to him we feel we’re in really good shape.”

The team championship is the first for Steubenville in the prestigious event.

“We lost in the finals to Carrollton once and Parkersburg South once, but we came back to beat South in the OVAC Bill Hinegardner Duals,” Blackburn recalled. “I’m happy for the kids because they work so hard.

“Our semifinal with Wheeling Park was a great match. They’ve got a good team. Carrollton … we’ve been battling them for the last several years now.”

Big Red led 9-6 after forfeiting at 106. Peyton Blasko recorded a lightning-quick pin in 15 seconds at 113 and Bill Murray doubled up his opponent, 10-5, at 120.

The Warriors re-took the lead at 126 when Robbie Hoopes caught Steubenville’s Tyler Muldrew in a spladel for a fall in 1:09.

Steubenville won the next four weight classes to take a 27-12 advantage as Zane Minella recorded a technical fall (16-1) at 132; Anthony Rice pinned Tanner Newbold in 35 ticks at 138; Michael Gray earned a 14-0 major decision at 145; and Jashon Hubbard earned a 3-2 nod over Ben Pasiuk in a marquee matchup at 152.

Hubbard, an Ohio State recruit, has placed three times at the state tournament and is a three-time OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament champion, led 3-0 over the Warriors’ state runnerup after two periods. Pasiuk was awarded a point for stalling early in the third period before recording an escape with 12 seconds remaining. However, he could get no closer.

Brandon Daniels’ 28-second pin at 160 started a run of three consecutive victories for the Warriors. Noah Carrothers secured bonus points with a 12-2 major decision at 170, while Alex Carrothers got a takedown with 10 seconds left to decision David Tuttle, 3-1, at 182.

Big Red stopped the bleeding when Kieffer Bodnar dominated his 195-pound bout with Chase Baxter. He finished it with an 18-3 technical fall at the 4:44 mark that bumped the lead to 32-25.

“That was a big win,” Blackburn said. “Any time you can stay off your back and then get bonus points, it’s a plus. That’s what he did.”

It proved to be a big win as Carrollton’s Noah Rutledge came off his back early in the first period to pin Quinten Moore in 1:16. That cut the deficit to 32-31 and setup Ely for the win.

“It was fun. A very competitive match. There were a lot of matches that could’ve went either way,” Carrollton coach Ken Pasiuk admitted. “That’s the kind of matches we want. We’re glad we got ourselves in that position so we could wrestle the best. That helps our kids for the regular season and the postseason. We’re trying to get better each single match, and those are the type of matches we like to be involved in.”

The Warriors, like Big Red, had to rally from behind in the semifinals as they trailed University, 21-0, before winning, 40-24.

Wheeling Park finished fourth, losing 39-34 to University in the consolation finals.

“Steubenville and University always come prepared. They always come in shape and they always come ready to go,” Wheeling Park coach Clay Tucker said. “We knew that going into the matches. No excuses on our part. There are some things we need to work on in the practice room.

“I think we’re in really good shape. I think we’re tough, but there’s some technical things some of our younger guys need to work on a little bit more.”