WHEELING - The action was fast and furious at WesBanco Arena on Thursday as the 59th annual Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament got under way.
There was little in the way of surprises during the first night of action, which featured championship first-round matches. Of the 168 matches contested, 140 ended by pin, making for an opening night that lasted about two hours.
In fact, all but one seeded wrestler lost.
JM’s Howard VanScyoc wrestles Wheeling Park’s Dylan Taylor at 126 pounds.
second, won by fall during the first round.
That was welcome news for Wheeling Park coach Sean Doyle, who has eight seeded grapplers in the event, which continues at noon today.
''I just want to see our guys wrestle with a lot of aggressiveness and tenacity,'' he said. ''We wrestled with no energy last week against Steubenville (a 50-12 loss) and then wrestled well at the Virginia Duals.
''We need energy and the rest will kind of take care of itself.''
The Patriots stand in fourth place with 34 points.
Park's lone top seed - junior Cody Amos - pinned Cameron's Andrew Hale in 10 seconds to advance in the 170-pound bracket. Eleven of Park's other 12 wrestlers also advanced in the championship bracket.
''We want bonus points and that's what you have to get,'' Doyle said. ''To do well in the tournament, the consolation (bracket) wrestlers will need to make that happen.''
Steubenville (Class 4A), which has the most seeded wrestlers - 13 - has the early lead in the team standings with 51 points.
Parkersburg South (Class 5A), the two-time defending champion and school with the most top seeds - four - is second with 46 points, followed by Caldwell (Class 2A/1A) with 44.
Martins Ferry leads Class 3A with 24 points and is tied with Morgantown and Edison for ninth overall.
All 14 top seeds won their matches by pin. The fastest fall was recorded by Shadyside's Alex Quinn, who jumped into the early lead for the Hercules Award by taking care of Beaver Local's Justin Osbourne in 5 seconds.
Caldwell Coach Honored
Jeff Border, head coach at Caldwell Junior High the past six years, was recognized as Junior High Coach of the Year.
Border, who also has experience as a junior high assistant and youth coach, has guided 21 OVAC placers. As an assistant, he mentored 16 placers and six champs.
Jeff's son, Jeremy, is a senior for the Redskins, competing at 132 pounds. Jaden, another son, is a 106-pound freshman, while his daughter, Maria, keeps stats for Caldwell.
Jeff and his wife, Marsha, have two other sons - Jared and Jacob. The four sons have amassed 466 victories, including seven appearances at the state tournament in Columbus.
Tom Brown, head coach of the Caldwell varsity squad, presented the award.
Birden Garners Accolade
Steubenville's Cornel Birden was presented the Assistant Coach of the Year honor by Steubenville head coach Mike Blackburn.
A former three-sport standout at Big Red, Birden has been an assistant coach at Steubenville for six years. During that time, he has helped the program go from a three-victory dual season to 45 dual-match victories the past three seasons.
As a wrestler at Big Red, Birden was a three-time OVAC placer, finishing as runner-up his senior season. Also, he was a two-time state qualifier.
Regis Named Top Official
Veteran Ohio valley official Jack Regis Sr. was presented with the Larry Deaton Official of the Year award by coaches' association representatives Blackburn and Doyle.
All told, Regis has officiated 12 regional and nine state tournaments in West Virginia, along with 10 sectional and five district tourneys in Ohio. He has also served as a table worker at the Ohio state tournament 10 times and the West Virginia state tournament five times.
In 2000, Regis became executive secretary/treasurer of the Ohio Valley Wrestling Officials Board. In that capacity, he is responsible for the training of new officials.
Hill Claims 100th
Parkersburg South junior Lance Hill picked up his 100th varsity victory by pinning University's Jerad Myers in 2:50.
Hill, the top seed at 106 pounds, carries a 25-3 record into today's second round, where he will face Shenandoah's Jordan Fain.