Big Red Wins Park Duals
Patriots Secure 3rd, John Marshall Gets 4th
WHEELING–Steubenville wrestling coach Mike Blackburn learned just how good his team can be in the last two days.
After two state finalists in Jashon Hubbard and Tyler Ely picked up their diplomas a year ago, Big Red had to rely on a new core of younger grapplers.
They rose to the occasion as Steubenville turned in a perfect 7-0 record on the weekend and took down Carrollton 41-30 in the finals to repeat as Wheeling Park Dual Champions at WesBanco Arena on Saturday.
“We graduated a couple of state runners-up,” Blackburn said. “We have some young guys in there but the big thing is that we wrestled one of the best teams in West Virginia (Wheeling Park) early and then one of the best teams in Ohio in Carrollton. It shows the kind of character that we have and what we can do as a team.
“Afterwards, I just told them that we cannot take a step backwards. We have to keep going and getting better.”
In the finals, Big Red received outstanding performances from William Murray (120), Peyton Blasko (126), Tyler Muldrew (132), Jacson Muldrew (138), Anthony Rice (152) and Ethan Pappas (160), who all recorded wins, leaving the big men to deliver the finishing touches for Big Red.
David Tuttle took care of business in the 195 weight group, before Keith Bodnar (220) and Emmanuel Ware (285) finished the job, giving Big Red back-to-back Park Dual titles.
“(Carrollton) is solid all the way around,” Blackburn said. “They lost some kids last year but they are always a well-coached team. It was a close match and we had to move some people around to get better matchups.
“It was another great dual with them and we will see them again later at the Ohio Duals.”
Steubenville kicked off the day with a bout against host Wheeling Park in a battle of unbeatens.
Park’s Cody Taggart (106), Nate Shelek (113) and Macayla Hunter (120) got the Patriots out to a fast start with victories but Big Red came roaring back as Blasko, Tyler and Jacson Muldrew, Rice, Pappas, Brandon Kinney, Tuttle, Bodnar and Ware all supplied wins down the stretch in a 42-21 triumph in the longest match in the 10:30 a.m. slot.
“I knew that was going to be a battle,” Blackburn said. “They have a great team from top to bottom.
“I think the big match was in the 132 class with Tyler Muldrew (and Canon Welker). They split last year and with Tyler coming back from an injury, he came out and wrestled hard.”
The bright spot of the day for the Patriots came in the battle for third place with West Virginia Class AAA rival John Marshall.
Park outmuscled the Monarchs 50-24, sparked by an overtime victory by Jeremiah Timberlake in the 170 class.
The win came against Jacob Berisford, the No. 1 ranked grappler in his class in the OVAC and No. 2 in West Virginia.
“That’s the biggest win of his career,” Park coach Brian Leggett said. “He just went out there and controlled the match and controlled the pace. He did all the right things and came up on top in the end. It’s a great win for him.
“He made the jump from 152 to 170 for us to make our team better and I’m really happy for him.
“This was a great performance for us as a team, as well. The Wheeling Park Duals is a grind with a lot of matches. John Marshall is a tough team and we knew they were going to give us everything they had and we gave it everything we had.”
Despite the loss to Park, the Monarchs finished fourth in the tournament behind a 9-0 weekend from Anthony Carman and Brady Williams and an 8-0 two-day mark by Bradlee Clark.
JM defeated University in a thrilling 33-31 contest to earn a spot in the third-place bout.