ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Five local wrestlers emerged victorious Friday night after two days of grueling action in the 19th annual America's Best Value Inn Invitational on John Jenkins Court inside St. Clairsville High School.
Martins Ferry and the host Red Devils had two each, while Barnesville rounded out the champions with one.
Dover took the team title with 291 points, which was 30 ahead of second-place St. Clairsville. Morgan was third with 243, followed by Oak Glen (240) and Tallmadge (237) to round out the top 5. Martins Ferry finished seven with 217, while Harrison Central (156) and Union Local (152) were eighth and ninth. Barnesville finished 10th at 143. Bridgeport (40) was 12th.
Claiming titles for the Red Devils were Seth Benge (170) and Cory Ernest (285). However, both took opposite routes to capture their coveted hardware.
Benge dispatched Dover's Troy Arbogast in 1:50 of their championship bout. The St. Clairsville matman recorded an early takedown and never looked back.
Ernest, meanwhile, went into overtime in the semifinals before needing double overtime to oust Williamstown's Alex Rauch, 4-1, to wrap up the action. It was his second consecutive trip to the podium's top step.
Purple Riders ruling their respective weight classes were Damon Outward (132) and Zac Coole (220).
Outward breezed to a 12-3 decision against Oak Glen's Alex Shuman, who entered the tournament as an unattached wrestler. The Martins Ferry standout recorded five takedowns en route to the lop-sided victory.
Coole was locked up in the only bout pitting two local grapplers against each other, and scored a decisive, 12-2, nod over St. Clairsville's Michael Furbee. The Purple Riders' senior led 8-1 after two periods.
Barnesville freshman Hobie Howiler won the 120-pound weight class with a convincing, 9-1, verdict against Williamstown's Brett MacIver. The championship was the first for Howiler in his short high school career.
In addition the Furbee, another trio of locals fell short of the quest as they finished second. They were Barnesville's Colin Wilson (113) and the St. Clairsville duo of Justin Callarik (138) and Dalton Nolte (160).
Wilson dropped a 5-0 decision to Cameron's Dalton Wood, while Callarik was decisioned 10-5 by Dover's Isaac Hammonds. Nolte was on the short end of a 5-3 nod to Dover's Nick Weininger, who remained perfect at 8-0 and repeated his title of 2011.
St. Clairsville led the locals with half-a-dozen place-winners, while Martins Ferry had five.
A new team champion was assured when Liberty-Raleigh, of Raleigh County, W.Va., couldn't make the tournament due to inclement weather. Also not making it were East Liverpool and Bishop Donahue.