WHEELING - The wrestling coaches of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference proved to be very smart once again this year.
On Sunday, the coaches of the 39 schools met for upward of six hours to set the seeds and brackets for the 59th-annual Ron Mauck Ohio Valley Athletic Conference, which got under way Thursday evening at WesBanco Arena.
Of the 112 wrestlers who earned a seed in this year's tournament, 111 of those are still alive for the championship, which will be crowned Saturday evening.
DOMINANT — Steubenville Big Red’s Anthony Parada pinned Shadyside’s Jake Haswell in 1:47 at 120 pounds in the opening night of the 59th annual Ron Mauck Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Thursday evening at WesBanco Arena.
-- Rick Thorp
On top of the seeded wrestlers shining through, the teams expected to challenge for the overall title have positioned themselves quite nicely for a run toward the banner.
Two-time defending champion Parkersburg South went undefeated during the opening round, accumulating 46 points, but Steubenville Big Red finished with 51 points to lead the way. Coach Mike Blackburn's team has been impressive in the early season and cruised in the opening night with 13 seeded wrestlers.
Caldwell - which is the defending Class 2A champion - shot out of the gates with 44 points to sit third overall. Wheeling Park closed with 34 points, while Oak Glen rounds out the top five with 30 markers.
Action is slated to resume today with second round championship and first and second-round consolation matches at noon. The evening session begins with championship quarterfinals at 6 p.m. and third and fourth-round consolations matches
The only seeded wrestler to fall was Bellaire's Nick Maffe, who was the seventh seed at 160 pounds. He was pinned by Shadyside's Levi Spencer at the 3:32 mark of their match.
The pinfall was the most common method of victory during the opening round, including 140 of the 168 matches contested.
Shadyside's Alex Quinn - the top seed at 152 pounds and an OVAC finalist two seasons ago - recorded the night's quickest pin. He held down the shoulders of his first-round opponent just five seconds into his match.
Of the 39 teams competing this weekend, only five failed to record a victory during the first round.