Buckeye Local High School Hosting Ohio Division III District Wrestling Championship
CONNORVILLE — For the first time in nearly two decades, Division III wrestlers from the Eastern and Central districts will be competing along the Ohio River instead of somewhere in the middle of the Buckeye State as Buckeye Local High School plays host today and Saturday.
Fifty-two individuals from Ohio Valley Athletic Conference schools are among the 224 that are vying for a top 4 finish in their respective weight classes and a trip to the 82nd annual Ohio state tournament on March 7-9 inside Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University.
“We are really thrilled and excited to be hosting this event,” Buckeye Local Athletic Director Sam Jones, who is also serving as tournament director, said. “To bring a tournament of this caliber to the wrestling community of Eastern Ohio is tremendous, not only for Buckeye Local but for all of the eastern district schools that are saving a ton of money in hotel/motel rooms and gasoline.”
Jones and the Buckeye Local School District are also excited that seven Panthers will be competing.
“To have seven of our kids being able to wrestle on their home mat for a chance to go to the state tournament is outstanding,” Jones said.
He said four mats will be used for today and the first session on Saturday.
Three mats will be utilized during the finals session when bouts for first-, third- and fifth-places will be contested.
The top 4 finishers in sectional tournaments at Barnesville, Madison Plains, Ridgedale and Sandy Valley are entered.
Of the 52 OVAC qualifiers, Barnesville, which captured its own sectional, leads the way with 10.
Leading the Shamrocks are sectional champions Griffen Stephen (106), Brylan Clouse (189) and Zach Meade (220). Carter Wells (113) was second, while Jacob Boulet (138), Dylan Glotfelty (145), Cameron Woods (152) and Owen Oliver (160) all were third. A.J. Francis (120) finished fourth and George Hoover (126) made it as an alternate by qualifying fifth in the sectional.
Buckeye Local’s seven include returning state placer and sectional kingpin Brian Palmer Jr. (132). He will be joined by fellow sectional champ Charles Smith (170). Zac Cesario (220) was second and Trevor Herbert (106), Travis Light (120) and Shayne Christian (182) all were third.
Taking fourth was Jordyn Spencer (113).
Bridgeport will be sending five who qualified from the Sandy Valley sectional. They are returning state placer Tino Kusic (170) and returning state qualifier Mason Kuneff (160), both seniors and were sectional champs. The others are D’Zayveon Richmond (138), Devin Danhart (220) and Zach Kuneff (285).
Bellaire, Martins Ferry and Union Local all have four district qualifiers.
Representing the Big Reds are sectional champions Joseph Bonfini (120) and Cody Albaugh (160). Nick Beckett (152) and Vincent Patrone (182) were fourth.
Sectional titlist Drake Dobson, a returning state qualifier, leads the Purple Riders contingent. He is joined by sectional runnersup Kameron Hughes (170), Richard McFarland (182) and Donte Lewis (285). Dobson was a district champion a year ago.
The Jets are paced by sectional runnerup Brady Crum (145) and third-place finisher Ryley Crall (132). Collin Greenwood (106) and Kohl Clark (170) were both fourth.
Pleasant, which won the Ridgedale sectional, has a tournament-best 12, while Northmor and Sandy Valley have 11 each.
Shenandoah leads the other OVAC schools with half-a-dozen qualifiers. Caldwell has five, Toronto four, Edison two and Steubenville Catholic one.
Action begins today at 4 p.m., with the doors opening an hour earlier. Championship preliminaries and quarterfinals will be wrestled. On Saturday, doors open at 7:30 a.m. with Session II beginning at 9. It includes championship semifinals and the first four rounds of consolation matches. Session 3 starts at 5 p.m. and includes matches for first-, third- and fifth-places. Doors will open immediately following the consolation semifinals.
Admission is $7 per session for everyone. Children under 6 years old are admitted free. There is also a $12-all day passes available for Saturday.
In Division II action at Heath High School, 48 OVAC wrestlers are involved. Beaver Local paces the local contingent with all 14 of its competitors. St. Clairsville and Steubenville each have 10, while Cambridge has five; Harrison Central and Indian Creek three each; East Liverpool two; and Meadowbrook one.
The Red Devils are led by Steubenville sectional runnersup Koen Kish (120) and Derek Witsberger (195). Third-place finishers were Josh DeNoble (113), Caden Stout (132), Austin DaRe (138), Reese Skaggs (170), James Dobbs (182) and Justice McCamick (220). Finishing fourth were Jaiden Springer (160) and Trey Delguzzo (285).
The top 4 finishers in their respective weight classes earn a trip to the 82nd annual Ohio state tournament on March 7-9 inside Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University.