Martins Ferry looks to retain sectional wrestling title


Martins Ferry looks to retain sectional wrestling title
Heading down a familiar path this weekend will be the Martins Ferry mat program as they look to retain its sectional title as they enter the Division III East Sectional Wrestling Tournament this weekend.

BARNESVILLE – Heading down a familiar path this weekend will be the Martins Ferry mat program as they look to retain its sectional title as they enter the Division III East Sectional Wrestling Tournament this weekend.

“We just have to win and wrestle well,” Martins Ferry coach Jeff Oberdick said as he walked out of the sectional seed meeting. “We have to wrestle like we did in the OVAC. We need to peak again at this time in the season, which is our goal.”

Oberdick’s delegation is one of the favorites in this weekend’s two-day grind. The Purple Riders host three top seeds — Taylor Yoder (112), Zane McSwords (125) and Matt Shreve (189) — and five other seeded wrestlers.

However, Oberdick’s nucleus has been fighting sickness in the past few weeks forcing him to sit wrestlers this past weekend at the Panther Classic in Rayland.

“Everyone is battling injury or sickness right now,” Oberdick said as he noted all of his starters are listed in the two-day tournament. “All we can do is hope we are a 100 percent by this weekend.”

Looking to knock off the Purple Riders will be OVAC-foe Bellaire and Magnolia-Sandy Valley.

The Bellaire Big Reds, coached by Shane Shaffer, battled with the Oberdick's tight knit group last year for the title falling short, but expectations are much higher with another year of experience.

“We have a handful of kids that I can see making it to the states this year,” Shaffer indicated after the sectional seed meeting. “You can put kids where ever you want to (in the brackets) and that’s fine, but it comes down to how the kids are going to perform out there on Friday or Saturday.”

Bellaire will enter into the tournament with two top seeded wrestlers – Zac Knowlton (103) and Erik Canter (130) – and a total of seven seeds overall.

The Cardinals' mat program looks as an outsider with such a strong OVAC delegation, but Sandy Valley came out with the most seeded wrestlers after the sectional tournament with 10-of-14. However, the bonus that top seed John Marcoaldi (119) is anticipated to bring in for the Cardinals may not be enough to overpower the OVAC delegates this weekend.

Weight class breakdowns:


At 103-pounds: Anyone can make it onto the district tournament in this weight class as their are only five spots contested and four wrestlers move on. Taking the top seed will be Bellaire’s Knowlton, The featherweight senior enters the tourney with a 23-11 ledger while No. 2 seed Jesse Crilley prevails from Conotton Valley.

Neither wrestler were place winners at the Ron Mauck OVAC Tournament this season as they both fell short one win away from the placement rounds.

The other non-OVAC grappler with a chance to take the sectional is Sandy Valley’s Luke Lehmiller. The Cardinals’ sophomore enters the weekend standing on a 24-13 record and has wrestled tough competition in the Inter-Valley Conference this season.

At 112-pounds: Top seeded wrestlers Taylor Yoder of Martins Ferry and Zach Porter of Bellaire may have a potential rematch of their OVAC semi-finals match as Yoder earned a tight 5-4 decision.

Yoder enters the tournament with a 33-4 ledger and a silver finish in the OVAC Tournament. Currently No. 6 on the Brakeman Report, the Purple Riders’ junior’s key losses have come from Beaver Local’s Arizona Miller twice, both in championship matches.

Porter, No. 17 on the Brakeman Report, picked up his 100th win of his prep career this season and finished third in the OVAC.

At 119-pounds: St. Clairsville’s Dillon Nolte has been named the No. 2 seed as out of towner John Marcoaldi of Sandy Valley has taken the top seed.

Nolte, a returning district qualifier, is one of Red Devils’ coach Jay Michael’s rising stars on the mat. Nolte has been hitting stride late in the season picking up eighth at the OVAC and enters the weekend with a 22-7 record.

Marcoaldi, non-OVAC grappler, has posted a 28-11 record on the season and picked up top honors in the Inter-Valley Conference championships at Bowerston.

Other highly regarded wrestlers in the bracket are Brad Mackey of Martins Ferry and Cody Moore of Beallsville. The two combine for well over 40 wins and were just shy of placing in the OVAC tourney. Mackey is also a returning district qualifier.

At 125-pounds: Top seeded Zane McSwords of Martins Ferry will be entering familiar territory this weekend. The Purple Riders sophomore may have bumped up one weight class from a year ago, but his goal is to do the same as he did a year ago – win a sectional title.

Entering the weekend 16-12, McSwords is currently ranked 23rd on the Brakeman and picked up fifth at the OVAC tournament as the unseeded grappler knocked off Ryan Asbury of Oak Glen, the current top seed in West Virginia Class A/AA.

His competition will look familiar as St. John Central’s Jake Foster (26-5), Sandy Valley’s Dutch Kirkman (23-12) and St. Clairsville’s Seth Callarik (25-7) follow closely behind in the seedings.

At 130-pounds: One of a few expected OVAC finals matches could reoccur in this weight class as Bellaire’s Erik Canter and St. Clairville’s Dominic Prezzia have nabbed the top seeds.

The scrappy Big Reds’ junior enters the two-day event loaded off his OVAC title with a 32-4 record. With his record taller than him, Canter is a very attack-style wrestler which gave Prezzia a lot of problems in their last meeting. Not stopping, Canter was able to give the freshman standout a 9-1 major decision.

Prezzia, who has picked up an overload of accolades for a freshman, enters with a 25-3 record.

At 135-pounds: St. John Central knows how it feels to take home silver at the sectional tournament and he is looking not to repeat history this year as the Irish sophomore has claimed top seed in this weekend’s tournament.

Foster enters the weekend with a 31-3 ledger – two of those losses against coming from OVAC Champions Andy Stine of Edison with scores of 2-0 and 3-0, respectively. Foster finished the OVAC tournament in bronze fashion.

Claiming the No. 2 spot will be Sandy Valley’s Kefton O’Bradovich who is currently 26th on the Brakeman Report. Dropping a weight class from last week, O’Bradovich is coming off a recent Inter-Valley Conference title making his record 27-5 on the season.

Claiming the No. 3 and No. 4 spots are Bellaire’s Jesse Dobson and Martins Ferry’s Ryan Hotlosz.

At 140-pounds: The top three wrestlers in this weight class have a battling history which will all play out this weekend. Returning state runner-up Robbie Chilson, the pre-season favorite, has been batted down to the No. 3 seed while 2005 state place winner Jimmy Reisz of Beallsville is the No. 2 seed. Claiming the No. 1 seed is Barnesville sophomore Kurtis Jefferis.

How it all came to be:

Chilson and Reisz have toed the line three times this season with Reisz having the upperhand in all three matches – two being tournament finals and the other during a dual match.

As the Blue Devils senior looked to round out his senior year undefeated, Jefferis handed Reisz a one-point loss in sudden death overtime at the River Tournament giving him the most recent win and top seed.

After Shaffer successfully put Chilson in for the No. 3 seed, the Big Reds’ coach chose to place Chilson in the upper part of the bracket with Jefferis.

“I still believe he has the capability of beating Reisz,” Shaffer said about his junior grappler. “However, we haven’t met Jefferis and as far as mentally, it was the best choice to go against him (in the semis). Jefferis and Robbie did wrestle last year and I believe Robbie won. So the placement in the bracket should be something to work to his benefit.”

Both Chilson and Reisz have also claimed individual titles during their prep careers. According to, Reisz has also overtaken the current all-time win record in the OVAC.

At 145-pounds: After having to default due to injury during his fifth-sixth placement match at the state tournament last year, St. John Central senior Zach Kosky is mentally prepared to continue a family tradition and bring home a state title to Guernsey Street.

After seeing his cousin Joe Skoff bring home gold and cousin Nick Nicola nab silver in 2006, the Irish grappler knows what he needs to do to get back to the state tournament. Building a 24-3 record, Kosky has been overcoming the flu which left him out of the Panther Classic, but coach Andy Case assures he’ll be ready to go.

Challenging Kosky will be No. 2 seed Aaron Porter of Bellaire who is currently ninth on the Brakeman Report.

At 152-pounds: “Coming out of here No. 1 and getting a good spot in the district,” Shadyside coach Scott Kinemond said about his No. 1 seed Johnny Merryman, “we don’t want Johnny to finish any lower than one coming out of the sectionals.”

A bold statement by the Tigers’ coach, but a very achievable goal for the returning state qualifier and recently crowned OVAC kingpin.

In Merryman’s path will be Tusky Valley’s Tyler Herron (24-9), Bellaire’s Kyle Faykus (29-6) and Union Local’s Andy Sigler (24-11).

Merryman, who has a 35-1 marking this season, received his lone loss splitting with Oak Glen’s Cody Miller, who is currently ranked No. 2 in West Virginia Class A/AA.

At 160-pounds: A reality check was served to Bridgeport’s Bryan Skoff (41-1) this past weekend as the No. 1 seed was handed his only loss of the season from Eric Hrutkay of Bethlehem-Center (Pa.)

“The loss was a good one for him,” Bridgeport Ross Roskovich said about Skoff’s defeat. “This shows us how much harder we need to work in the next few weeks.”

The hard-nosed, chiseled Skoff hopes to springboard back into the state tournament this year after finishing fourth last year at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

Skoff is currently third on the Brakeman and was recently crowned an OVAC champion following in step behind his OVAC and state champion brother, Joe.

Claiming the other seeds in the tournament are Sandy Valley’s Ethan Leyda (29-11), Bellaire’s Derek Porter (20-15) and Monroe Central’s Nathan McConaughy (21-9).

At 171-pounds: Martins Ferry’s Chase Tucker is used to being in places he is not expected to be, like the finals of the OVAC tournament. Tucker, whose brother, Clay, wrestles for Ohio University, enters the sectional with a 19-6 marking and a silver finish at the recent OVAC tournament.

“We actually wrestled above ourselves in the OVACs,” Oberdick said about Tucker and the rest of the Purple Riders. “Most of our guys were low seeds, if they were even seeded, and ended up in the finals.”

In front of Tucker, who is ranked 13th on the Brakeman Report, in the seeding will be Tusky Valley’s Nick Herron. The Trojan’s senior enters Belmont County with a 29-6 record.

Both Tucker and Herron will be challenged by No. 3 and No. 4 seeds Sandy Valley’s Jeffrey Miller (31-11) and Tusky Central Catholic’s Jon White (27-18).

At 189-pounds: Matt Shreve of Martins Ferry was one of those wrestlers that did not get a lot of respect entering the season, but that all changed as he knocked off two seeded wrestlers to be another one of Oberdick’s unexpected wrestlers in the OVAC finals.

Shreve’s recent success has catapulted him to the No. 1 seed this weekend ahead of Barnesville’s Mike Mann. In head to head competition, Shreve (20-8) handed Mann (31-7) a 6-4 setback during the semi-final round of the OVAC tournament.

Both Brakeman caliber, Shreve and Mann will see familiar competition from No. 3 seed Jerry Kahl (31-7) of Shadyside and No. 4 seed Ryan Crabtree (36-7) of Wellsville. All four top seeds were OVAC placers with Shreve taking silver, Mann bronze, Kahl sixth and Crabtree, eighth.

Another OVAC wrestler that could sneak into the districts is Steubenville Catholic’s Josh Costlow (14-8) who defeated Crabtree for seventh place at the OVACs.

At 215 pounds: Returning district qualifier Zac Costlow (28-3) of Steubenville Catholic edged Steve Woodford (34-5) of Martins Ferry for the top seed this weekend.

Costlow’s losses have came from Beaver Local’s Jake Henderson, fifth place OVAC finisher; Wheeling Park’s Alan Earnest, currently ranked second in West Virginia Class AAA; and Steubenville’s Branko Busick, currently seventh on the D-II Brakeman Report .

Woodford, a returning sectional champion at 189-pounds, turned some heads this season working his way into the OVAC finals this year from the No. 5 spot. The Purple Riders’ junior finished the the OVAC tournament in silver fashion while Costlow took seventh.

At 285-pounds: Bridgeport junior Sean West has come a long way since his first season in the Black and Blue, but his mat awareness is coming on strong. Pocketing runner-up against Beaver Local’s Goliath Derek Wolfe, a 6-ft-5 University of Cincinnati football recruit, in sudden death overtime.

West (32-9) has accumulated numerous accolades this past year, but one he has not achieved is punching a ticket to the district. The No. 1 Bulldog seed will see familiar competition as Beallsville’s George Ruckman enters the tournament in the No. 2 position while Sandy Valley’s Gino DeBellis (30-9) and Malvern’s Dominic Chiurco (28-15) take the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds.

Wrestling will begin Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m.

Opening Round Pairings:


103 — No Matches contested.

112 — Taylor Yoder (MF) vs. Ethan Lawless (TCC); Eric Carbenia (SV) vs. BYE; Bryan Crozier (SH) vs. BYE; Jimmy Gessler (BPT) vs. Luke Wojcicki (TV); Ryan Richter (MC) vs. Michael Yockey (STC); John Barker (BARN) vs. BYE; Kelly Meenan (MAL) vs. BYE; Joey Carbrandt (CV) vs. Zach Porter (BEL).

119 — John Marcoaldi (SV) vs. Sean Hughes (CC); Travis McCallin (MAL) vs. BYE; Steven Johnson (SJC) vs. Zach McCall (TV); Tyler Moore (BARN) vs. Cody Moore (BEAL); Brad Mackey (MF) vs. Andrew Banker (BEL); Davy Wilson (UL) vs. BYE; Jonathan Muntz (MC) vs. BYE; Scott Liberatore (SH) vs. Dillon Nolte (STC).

125 — Zane McSwords (MF) vs. Kris Merkins (MAL); Casey Davis (BEL) vs. BYE; John Schumacher (MC) vs. Ethan Crozier (SH); Steven Carter (CV) vs. Seth Callarik (STC); Dutch Kirkman (SV) vs. Mark Barton (WEL); Kody Crooks (BARN) vs. BYE; Kyle Friede (UL) vs. BYE; Dylan Cameron (TCC) vs. Jake Foster (SJC).

130 –Erik Canter (BEL) vs. Patrick Bortz (CC); Quentin Castell (BARN) vs. BYE; James Davis (SJC) vs. BYE; Anthony Vissoc (SV) vs. BYE; Derrick Holt (MF) vs. Quintin Cottrell (CV); Jeremy Wiles (BEAL) vs. BYE; Jesse O'Neal (MC) vs. BYE; Sean Collins (WEL) vs. Dominic Prezzia (STC).

135 — Shane Foster (SJC) vs .Jon Lauener (STC); Matt Bailey (MAL) vs. BYE; Matt Flanigan (WEL) vs. Justin Lunsford (SH); George Cole (TCC) vs. Ryan Hotloz (MF); Jesse Dobson (BEL) vs. Dustin Piatt (MC); Gage Hanlon (BARN) vs. Jed Marling (BEAL); Mitch Friede (UL) vs. Brendan Talbott (CC); Garrett Edwards (TV) vs. Kefton O'Bradovich (SV).

140 — Kuris Jefferis (BARN) vs. Billy Natale (SV); Carl Piper (SJC) vs. BYE; Dylan Dunlap (TV) vs. BYE; Robbie Chilson (BEL) vs. BYE; Maurice Johnson (MAL) vs. BYE; Mike Rose (MF) vs. BYE; Jason Dowling (WEL) vs. BYE; Jimmy Reisz (BEAL) vs. BYE.

145 — Zach Kosky (SJC) vs. Andrew Stillion (MAL); Nate Barker (CC) vs. BYE; Justin Clendenin (SH) vs. BYE; Kenny

Nickerson (STC) vs. BYE; Brendan Grossi (SV) vs. Chase Steffl

(TV); Vinnie Deem (WEL) vs. BYE; Jon Huntsman (BAR) vs. BYE; Scott Kaiser (MF) vs. Aaron Porter (BEL).

152 — Johnny Merryman (SH) vs. Ian Graham (NF); Tyler Thornberry (BEAL) vs. BYE; Jeff Hanselman (WEL) vs. Brandon Bartnicki (STC); Matthew Taylor (MC) vs. Ansy SIgler (UL); Kyle Faykus (BELL) vs. Matt Robinson (CC); Parker Cole (SV) vs. BYE; Brawn McLaughlin (BAR) vs. BYE; Marc Adams (MAL) vs. TYler Herron (TV).

160 — Bryan Skoff (BPT) vs. AJ Ritterbeck (BAR); Justin Mosti (CC) vs. David Vaughn (SH); Timmy Jones (BEAL) vs. Jacob Hearn (UL); John Halfhill (WEL) vs. Nathan McConaughy (MC); Derek Porter (BEL) vs. Chas Snider (STC); Nate Harry (MAL) vs. Drew Amos (TV); Jared Hanson (MF) vs. Cody Booth (CV); Bryan Adams (TCC) vs. Ethan Leyda (SV).

171 — Nick Herron (TV) vs. Andrew Crook (BEL); Amos Leach (UL) vs. BYE; Brian Kahl (SH) vs. Josh Carbrandt (CV); Preston Vogler (BAR) vs. Jeffrey Miller (SV); Jon White (TCC) vs. Todd Bevan (BPT); Coleton Lindamood (MC) vs. BYE; Derek Brown (BEAL) vs. BYE; Damien Saracco (WEL) vs. Chase Tucker (MF).

189 — Matt Shreve (MF) vs. Drew Phillips (BEAL); Eddie Mehlman (BEL) vs. BYE; Mike Hamsher (SV) vs. Brandon Kurner (BPT); Kyle Gatten (UL) vs. Ryan Crabtree (WEL); Jerry Kahl (SH) vs. Vincent Crall (CV); Andy Postlewait (MEL) vs. Josh Costlow (CC); Jamie Jones (TV) vs. BYE; Nick Burley (TCC) vs. Mike Mann (BARN).

215 — Zac Costlow (CC) vs. Kyle Morris (BARN); Xavier Meek (BEL) vs. BYE; Levi Holcomb (STC) vs. BYE; Schuyler Bondy (MC) vs. BYE; Cody Litman (SV) vs. Mitch Dotto (TCC); Jeremy Warfield (TV) vs. BYE; Evan Marling (SH) vs. BYE; Chad Moore (BEAL) vs. Steve Woodford (MF).

285 — Sean West (BPT) vs. Andrew Burkhead (BARN); Luke Zabitski (MF) vs. BYE; Aaron Silverio (SH) vs. BYE; Dominic Chiurco (MAL) vs. BYE; Gino DeBellis (SV) vs. Corey McGarry (STC); Bobby Bennett (BEL) vs. BYE; Erik Neilson (UL) vs. BYE; Sean Ferstenberg (TCC) vs. George Ruckman (BEAL).

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