Steubenville Wrestling Cruises To Dual Meet Championship

Big Red rallies after elimination at Ohio tourney

Photo by Kim North Steubenville’s Anthony Rice defends against St. Clairsville’s COrey Naylor during their 145-pound match at Thursday night’s OVAC Bill Hinegardner Dual Meet Wrestling Championship in Wellsburg.

WELLSBURG — Steubenville isn’t used to losing in anything.

Following Wednesday night’s elimination from the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II Wrestling Dual Team Tournament by nemesis Claymont, top-seeded Big Red took no prisoners in repeating as Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 4A champions Thursday night inside Brooke High School.

Steubenville defeated No. 4 Oak Glen ,54-15, in the semifinals before rolling past second-seeded St. Clairsville, 54-12, for the title.

The championship was the eighth for Steubenville, with two of those coming in Class 5A.

“(Wednesday) night was definitely hard. Claymont is a great team and we were setup this year to have a really good dual team, but a lot of injuries have hurt us,” Steubenville coach Mike Blackburn said. “That loss last night was definitely a hard one to take, and we came out sluggish in the first dual. We didn’t wrestle very well and we talked to them between the matches. They definitely came out fired up for the second match.”

Indeed they did.

After yielding a forfeit at 106 to St. Clairsville’s Josh Denoble, Big Red ran off 11 straight victories — four by decisions, three by forfeits, and another trio by pins — in racing to a 48-6 lead before the Red Devils’ Justice McCamick halted the run with a pin in 1:59 at 220.

“Justice lost a close match in the blood round at the OVAC Tournament to a kid from East Liverpool in overtime who ended up getting third,” St. Clairsville coach Joel Sansone said. “When Justice saw where that kid placed, that light finally went off and he said ‘I can do this.’ He wrestled great at the Brooke Classic, placing fourth. Honestly, we would of been happy with him placing sixth, but he came back and wrestled hard.

“He’s starting to believe he can beat anybody that steps on the mat with him. That’s the key to success.”

Winning by decisions were Peyton Blasko (113), Zane Minella (132), David Tuttle (170) and Keith Bodnar (195), while OVAC Tournament titlist Anthony Rice (145), Michael Gray (152), Ohio State University recruit Jashon Hubbard (160) and Tyler Ely (285) all pinned their opponents. Receiving forfeits were Tyler Muldrew (120), Bill Murray (126) and Hezekiah Scurry (182).

“Hopefully, (this) prepared us some for the upcoming postseason,” Blackburn said. “We’ve got a rough road ahead of us.”

Meanwhile, Sansone is hoping his young squad uses the loss as a learning tool.

“We’re here to get better,” he said. “There’s a couple of guys that competed, but there’s a few that didn’t and we’ll talk about that in practice. All I want them to do is go out there and compete. This isn’t sectionals, districts or states. This is the time we’ve got to go harder and get better.”

St. Clairsville defeated third-seeded Martins Ferry, 48-28, in the semifinals before the Purple Riders lost to Oak Glen, 50-29, in the third-place match.