MAC Wins Clash Of Champions Over OVAC
All-Star wrestling event was the 23rd annual
WELLSBURG — For the first time since 2014, the Midwestern Athletic Conference from Pennsylvania won the “Clash of Champions” Tri-State All-Star wrestling dual meet with the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference.
Tuesday night’s 23rd event at Brooke High School was more of a battle of the weary as both Ohio and Pennsylvania just completed their respective state tournaments last weekend, while West Virginia (which only had four individuals involved) finished two weeks ago.
The MAC ruled the middleweights in running an 8-6 advantage to 28-6 with five consecutive wins from 138 through 152. There were two matches at 145 and 152.
“The kids wrestled really hard even though we came up a little short,” said Madonna’s Jamie Lesho, who served as OVAC head coach after leading the Blue Dons to the West Virginia Class A state title last month. “The Ohio kids wrestled hard even though they just came off of states, so it was a quick turnaround for them.
“They all wrestled hard and, as a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”
The OVAC sliced the deficit to 8-6 after Weir’s Caleb Rea ended his career with his hand raised following a 10-3 domination of Shaler’s Garrett Reinsfelder at 132 pounds. Rea, a four-time OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament placer (champion this year), led 10-0 before yielding three late points.
Rea was also a four-time West Virginia Class A/AA state placer, including a championship as a junior and a runnerup this season. He was 163-13 for his career and has narrowed his NCAA Division I college choices to North Illinois University and the University of Minnesota.
That was as close as the locals got as the Keystone staters used three decisions, a technical fall and a pin to grab the commanding advantage.
Madonna’s Hunter Baird led Freedom Area’s Michael Muron 7-1 before posting a pin in 5-minutes, 5-seconds at 160 pounds.
“I’m very proud of Hunter to end his career on a winning note,” Lesho said of his senior.
Wheeling Park’s Kaleb Simpkins, an OVAC champion, made it back-to-back victories for the OVAC when he posted a 6-1 nod over West Allegheny’s Dan Clements at 170. That made it 28-15, but Butler’s Christian Sequette pinned East Liverpool’s Anthony Mecum at 182 to seal the OVAC’s fate.
Martins Ferry’s Dalton Hoover followed with a 10-1 major decision over Chartiers Valley’s Shamil Zayullaev at 195. The Purple Riders senior was a three-time OVAC Tournament kingpin and a three-time Ohio state placewinner, including a third-place finish last weekend despite taking seven stitches above his right eye in a quarterfinal loss. He wore a facemask Tuesday night.
For his effort, Hoover was selected as the OVAC’s Most Outstanding Wrestler by MAC officials.
Laurel Highlands’ Ian Edenfield, ranked 15th nationally, put some icing on the cake for the MAC when he pinned Steubenville Central’s Kevin Cuervo at 220 for a 40-19 lead.
Martins Ferry’s Hunter Bodkin capped a stellar four-year career with a 5-4 sudden-victory over South Side’s Bishop McCoy in a battle of state runnerups at 285. With the match knotted at 3-3 after three periods, neither wrestler could get a takedown in the first extra session. McCoy then chose to be down for the second period but couldn’t escape the 30-second rideout. Bodkin, meanwhile, pulled a reversal from the down position during McCoy’s rideout attempt for a 5-3 edge. Bodkin allowed an escape for the final margin of victory.
The MAC took the lead on a 3-1 decision by Moon Area’s Frankie Bonura, who is headed to Wheeling Jesuit University, over Barnesville’s Braylen Reynolds at 113. Caldwell’s Levi Pemberton evened the match with a 13-6 win over Montour’s Devyn Giovengo at 120, but Seneca Valley’s Louis Newell, a four-time PIAA placer who’s headed to Pitt, made it 8-3 with a 16-0 technical fall of Bellaire’s Clay Moore at 126.
“I had a bunch of good kids. They wrestled really well,” MAC head coach Jim Covert, of Freedom Area, saod. “We scored some bonus points when we needed them.”
∫ The OVAC still leads the all-time series, 16-7. Next year’s event will be in Pennsylvania as the series rotates every year.
∫ The OVAC All-Stars were shorthanded due to Parkersburg South pulling its four OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament champs out in the last week.
∫ Steubenville’s Jashon Hubbard didn’t compete either, but he was on hand to receive the Bill Welker OVAC Ohio Wrestler of the Year award.