Big Red pins Park
STEUBENVILLE — The middle of the match belonged to Big Red.
After losing the first two matches to Wheeling Park, the Big Red wrestling team rebounded to win eight of the next nine matches en route to a 43-27 victory over the Patriots Wednesday evening inside the Crimson Center.
“We came out a little flat,” Big Red head coach Mike Blackburn said. “Wheeling Park wrestled great tonight. They have a good team. They are always one of the top teams in the OVAC.”
Big Red won eight weight classes on the night, while Wheeling Park won six.
“On paper Steubenville is a better team than us,” Wheeling Park head coach Clay Tucker said. “We wanted to wrestle hard for six minutes. We wanted to push the pace, and we did that. I am not happy about losing by 20 points or whatever, but Steubenville is a tough team. I am happy with how we performed.”
The match started at the 195-pound weight class.
The boys from Jefferson County won four matches by pin, two by major decisions and one each by tech fall and forfeit.
Individually for the hosts, Zane Minella (126), Jashon Hubbard (145) and Nick Scott (152) all won by pinfall.
“We knew the upper classes were going to be close matches,” Blackburn said. “They were close matches, but a couple did not go our way.
“Our two freshmen at 160 and 170 wrestled guys who ranked first and second in the OVAC in their weight classes, and they did not back down. They wrestled hard. You have to respect that.”
The boys from Ohio County won three matches by decision, two matches by pin and one by tech fall.
Individually for the visitors, Maison Richardson (120), Mason Miklas (182) and Dylan Moore (220) all won by decision. Also for the Patriots, Austin Loew (195) and John Nash (160) won by pinfall and Kaleb Simpkins (170) won by tech fall.
“At 182, 195 and 220, our guys really wrestled the way we wanted them to,” Tucker said. “They were able to knock off wrestlers who are ranked in the OVAC.”
Wheeling Park opened the match with a pair of victories as Lowe pinned Hezekiah Scurry in 5:27, and Dylan Moore defeated Drone Moore by decision, 5-4. The Patriots also picked up a team point in the Loew-Scurry match to take a 7-0 lead, and the victory by decision gave the Patriots a 10-0 advantage.
Big Red began its run with the match at 285 as Tyler Ely, who is ranked second in the OVAC, pinned Calvin McGaha in 3:05 to make the score 10-6. Next, the home team took the lead for good as Payton Blasko defeated Isaac Murphy by tech fall, 17-1, to give Big Red an 11-10 lead in the match. Then, Timmy Young, who is ranked No. 1 in the OVAC, won by forfeit to extend Big Red’s advantage to 17-10.
Richardson snapped Big Red’s three-match winning streak by defeating Bill Murray by decision to make the score 17-13.
Big Red won the next five weight classes to gain control of the match. Three of the victories came via pin, while two were by major decision. Minella pinned Tate Shaeffer in 23 seconds, Hubbard pinned William Burch in 1:11 and Scott pinned Daniel Skelton in 56 seconds.
Big Red also won back-to-back matches by major decision. Michael Gray defeated Tino Kayafas, 11-0, and Anthony Rice defeated Jeremiah Timberlake, 11-2.
“We are young, but we have a veteran team,” Blackburn said. “We think we are on schedule. We wrestled flat tonight. It was not our best performance. We will go back to work in the room, and we will correct everything.”
Wheeling Park ended the match by winning the three final matches of the night.
First, Nash pinned David Tuttle in 3:20. Then, Simpkins defeated Keith Bodnar by tech fall, 17-1. Finally, Miklas defeated Billy Snyder, 4-3, in overtime.
“We always plan to peak at the OVAC Tournament, at regionals and at the state tournament,” Tucker said. “We want to work on our technique and get better in the room. We want to push the pace. Our conditioning helps us to win matches.”
Both teams do not compete again until taking part in the OVAC Tournament, which is scheduled to begin one week from tonight.
“The break allows us to get healthy and stay fresh,” Blackburn said. “We want to maintain weight. We want to be in good shape going into the OVAC Tournament.”
The time off before the conference tournament will be beneficial for the Patriots.
“We set our schedule that way,” Tucker said. “December is a grind. We set up a week of rest before the OVAC Tournament. We want to heal up and be ready to go. It is the same thing with the state tournament.”
Big Red 43, Wheeling Park 27
106: Blasko (BR) tech fall Murphy, 17-1
113: Young (BR) Forfeit
120: Richardson (WP) dec. Murray
126: Minella (BR) p. Shaeffer, :23
132: Gray (BR) m.d. Kayafas, 11-0
138: Rice (BR) m.d. Timberlake, 11-2
145: Hubbard (BR) p. Birch, 1:11
152: Scott (BR) p. Skelton, :56
160: Nash (WP) p. Tuttle, 3:20
170: Simpkins (WP) tech fall Bodnar, 17-1
182: Miklas (WP) dec. Snyder, 4-3 (OT)
195: Loews (WP) p. Scurry, 5:27
220: Moore (WP) dec. Moore, 5-4
285: Ely (BR) p. McGaha, 3:05