By KIM NORTH
For the News-Register
CONNORVILLE - The third time was a charm Saturday night for Buckeye Local's Nate Kirk and Martins Ferry's Damon Outward.
For differing reasons, however.
Kirk made his third trip to the championship finals of the Pepsi/Ohio Coatings Panther Classic Wrestling Tournament a winning one after settling for runner-up two previous times.
The Panthers senior posted a 5-0 decision against Oak Glen's Avery Flowers to claim the 132-pound crown. For his accomplishments, he was also voted the Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Pepsi/Ohio Coatings Panther Classic
(at Buckeye Local)
1. Brooke 249; 2. Plum, Pa. 234; 3. Chartiers Valley, Pa. 199; 4. Buckeye Local 195; 5. Oak Glen 192; 6. (tie) Fox Chapel, Pa., West Allegheny, Pa. 190; 8. St. Clairsville 168; 9. (tie) Avella, Pa., West Mifflin, Pa. 165; 11. Martins Ferry 154; 12. Steubenville Central 127; 13. Edison 88; 14. Indian Creek 82; 15. Bellaire 50; 16. Charleroi, Pa. 47; 17. Linsly 40; 18. Bridgeport 29; 19. Pittsburgh Westinghouse, Pa. 22; 20. California, Pa. 4; 21. (tie) United Local, Weir 0
106-Jared Rice (FC) md. Sullivan (CV), 13-0
113-James Harrison (WM) d. Ryan Cunningham (WA), 7-1
120-Matthew Beaman (Brk) md. Josh Cornell (OG), 12-3
126-Damon Outward (MF) d. Kyle Mack (OG), 7-3
132-Nate Kirk (BL) d. Avery Flowers (OG), 5-0
138-Nick Gavazzi (Char) d. Eric Green (P), 10-4
145-Nate Hall (WA) d. Jesse Griffin (CV), 5-2
152-Dillon Shaw (Brk) md. Nick Maffe (Bell), 14-3
160-Josh Bahr (WA) d. Dalton Nolte (STC), 4-1
170-Noah Wilps (CV) md. Andrew McRandal (P), 12-2
182-Skippy Scurry (Brk) d. Mitchell Wells (E)
195-Jake DiGullo (P) d. Nathan Dawson (Brk), 3-1
220-Jake Temple (A) d. Zac Coole (MF), 3-1
285-Tyler Lever (FC) d. Corey Ernest (STC), 6-5
106-Ryan Debee (OG) d. Anthony DiNinnio (P)
113-Sam Ronevich (BL) d. Theo Zoupoulidis (MF)
120-Thomas Zunno (P) d. Blake Kiedrowski (SC)
126-Kyle Moffitt (IC) d. Carter Shar (WM)
132-Maury Gamble (Brk) d. Nick Fisher (E)
138-Clayton Sekel (CV) d. Nick Kusich (A)
145-Cory Mahon (FC) d. James Wise (MF)
152-Tyler Heasley (FC) d. Josh Sokolowski (BL)
160-Leo Hermann (SC) d. Brodie Bittinger (OG)
170-Seth Benge (STC) d. Brad Tomolonis (Bpt)
182-Nate Turchick (P) d. JP Solomon (BL)
195-Mike Roper (CV) d. Derek Allen (A)
220-Michael Furbee (STC) d. Kasey Teyssier (WA)
285-Preston Wise (Brk) d. Shawn Devey (WM)
Most Outstanding Wrestler: Nate Kirk (BL)
"I'm really happy to be able to win it my senior year," Kirk said. "To be named the outstanding wrestler is something that I always wanted to get. To do it my senior year is pretty special."
Kirk, the top seed who finished second his freshman and sophomore seasons, dominated from the outset and never let up in hiking his record to an impressive 39-7.
Outward became a 3-time titlist when he defeated Oak Glen's Kyle Mack, the top seed, by a 7-3 count. The Purple Riders senior standout was ahead 2-0 after one period and 6-3 entering the final frame.
It wasn't the first victory for Outward against his Golden Bears opponent as he also sent him to the consolation brackets after their Ron Mauck OVAC semifinal bout.
"After I saw the seeds I was kind of upset with it, but I also used that as my motivation the entire match to prove that I am better than he is."
Outward captured titles as a freshman and sophomore, while finishing as a runnerup last year. He is now 33-4.
Four other local matmen came away with silver trophies. They included Bellaire's Nick Maffe (152), St. Clairsville's Dalton Nolte (160), Martins Ferry's Zac Coole (220) and the Red Devils Corey Ernest (285). Maffe, the third seed who ousted No. 2 Josh Sokolowski of Buckeye Local in the semifinals, lost a 14-3 nod to top-seeded Dillon Shaw of Brooke.
Nolte, the No. 2 seed, was knocked off by fourth-seeded Josh Bahr of West Allegheny.
Cooke, the No. 3 seed, dropped a 3-1 decision to Avella's Jake Temple, the top seed who improved to 29-1.
Ernest, the No. 2 seed, lost a 6-5 heartbreaker to fourth-seeded Tyler Lever, of Fox Chapel, in a matchup that never had much time to prepare.
Due to the inclement weather conditions, the heavyweight bout was wrestled first to allow the Pennsylvania team to head home early.
Eight other local wrestlers placed in the top four of their respective weight class.
Buckeye Local, which finished fourth in the team standings with 195 points, had Sam Ronevich finish third at 113, while Sokolowski and JP Solomon each placed fourth at 152 and 182, respectively.
Martins Ferry ended up in 11th place team-wise with 154 points. The Purple Riders had Theo Zoumpoulidis (113) take fourth, as did James Wise (145).
St. Clairsville, which was eighth overall, had a pair of third-place finishers in Seth Benge (170) and Michael Furbee (220).
Bridgeport's Brad Tomolonis (170) finished fourth.
Brooke, with a trio of championships, took top team honors with 249 points, which was 15 ahead of Plum, Pa. Chartiers Valley, Pa., was third, and Oak Glen fifth.
Other championships included Fox Chapel's Jared Rice (106), West Mifflin's James Harrison (113), Brooke's Matthew Beaman (120), Charleroi's Nick Gavazzi (138), West Allegheny's Nate Hall (145), Chartiers Valley's Noah Wilps (170), Brooke's Skippy Scurry (185) and Plum's Jake DiGullo (195).