WHEELING – What’s the secret to staying fresh after spending nearly 12 hours in the same building?
Just ask Mitchell Wells.
“I take a nap,” the Edison senior said after Day 2 of the 61st annual OVAC wrestling tournament. “I like the break. I’ll go up in the stands and get comfortable. Then, wake up three weight classes before mine, warm up and get loose really quick.”
The rest paid off on Friday at WesBanco Arena as Wells, the No. 1 seed in the 182-pound weight class breezed through the morning session with two technical fall wins and earned a 3-1 decision over Harrison Central’s Cole Howes at night.
“The kids are definitely coming at me hard,” Wells said, as he trailed 1-0 in the second period against Howes. “I think they want to knock me off. They’re stepping their game up which means I have to focus and go even harder.
“Even when I’m losing I don’t think I can lose. It never crosses my mind. If they get three or even four points on me in the first period I know it doesn’t matter because I’m going to go even harder to get that back.”
The area’s other No. 1 seeds fared well, also.
Steubenville’s Tariq Wilson earned three technical fall wins on Friday, the fastest coming in 27 seconds over Magnolia’s Riley Nice. Big Red’s Brandon Jones, the No. 1 seed in the 170-pound weight class, earned two technical fall wins in the morning session before winning a 7-4 decision over Matt McFarland of Union Local at night.
With 126 team points, Steubenville currently sits in first place for Division 4A and second overall. Parkersburg South leads with 160 points.
Oak Glen is second in 4A with 104 points and sits in fourth place overall.
“(Friday) went exactly how I thought it was going to go,” said Golden Bears coach Patrick McGillian. We’re confident and we’re still in the race. We’re happy to be in the top 5.”
Oak Glen last won an OVAC title in 2009. This year, they have five placers going into Saturday’s final round. Ryan Debee remains undefeated at 106 pounds and Danny Wyke is perfect at 113.
“Ryan beat the four-seed from Martins Ferry who he had lost to earlier in the year,” McGillian said. “That was a big win. He’s got a tough go against Shadyside’s Greg Quinn next. He hasn’t been out of the second period yet.
“Danny has been wrestling outstanding for the past month. He beat (Saturday’s first opponent) James Parsons of Wheeling Park a couple of weeks ago, but that means nothing right now. Hopefully he has some confidence now.”
Steubenville Catholic Central currently leads the 3A standings with 70 points and the Crusaders are in ninth, overall.
“We’re starting to pull away,” said Central coach Aaron Henry, as his team leads second place Magnolia by 19.5 points. This is great. You couldn’t have asked for better kids on a better day than this.
“This is the best team we’ve ever had at Central. It’s the first year we’ve ever had five placers.”
At 170 pounds, No. 2 seed Leo Hermann has earned three technical falls for the tournament. His fastest came in Friday’s morning session by beating Beaver Local’s Tyler Kelly in 50 seconds. At 195 pounds, Isaac Sanford earned two technical falls on Friday morning before winning a 5-0 decision over Monroe Central’s Hunter Conner.
Hermann takes Buckeye Local’s Josh Sokoloski first on Saturday, while Sanford faces Brett Rosen of River.
Six seeds Blake Kiedrowski (132) and Mike Crosby (152) remain alive after winning in the fourth round consolation bracket.
“You either rise above or you fall below,” Henry said. “We’re not going to fall below. They had to get mentally ready and get focused for what’s next. You put what’s behind you, behind and let’s go. That’s the mentality I feed into them and it works.”
At 182 pounds, Lucas Borden has earned a berth for Saturday and will first face off against Brooke’s Matthew Doll.
“Lucas has come a long way,” Henry said. “He practically won a dual meet for us last week against Linsly.”
Also placing for Brooke is senior heavyweight Preston Wise, who earned three technical falls on Friday.
Dan Hague of Indian Creek will first face Big Red’s Wilson at 113 pounds. Hague’s big win on Friday came with a 16-3 major decision over Brandon White of Harrison Central. At 126 pounds, Tyler Gaydosh is also alive for the Redskins after winning a pair of consolation matches.
For Toronto, Donald Starkey (120) and Drew Lowery (170) earned a place in Saturday’s round. The Red Knights have 53.5 points and sit in third place of the 1A/2A standings.
Oak Glen saw Avery Flowers (132) and Josh Cornell (126) – the team’s lone two seniors – qualify for Saturday after strong consolation rounds. At 138 pounds, Nick Tice is alive, too.
Edison’s Jevin Leggett will face Steubenville’s Tim Albertson first on Saturday at 195 pounds. They each won two matched in Friday’s consolation bracket.
Also placing for Big Red are: Shawn Livingston (145), Niko Moray (152), Austin Deffenbaugh (160) and Will Poplowski (285).
Weir’s Cole Davidson has won three consolation matches and will square off against Beaver Local’s Cody Martsoff next.