THE PLAINS, Ohio — Competing against quality competition can only make your program better.
That’s what the River Valley Raiders and Meigs Marauders hope to benefit from — as both clubs competed in Saturday’s John Deno Wrestling Invitational at Athens High School.
Of the 17 teams which scored points, the Raiders placed eighth with 136 — while the Marauders were 13th with 84.
River Valley had six wrestlers place and captured one weight-class championship, while Meigs mustered five placers — with one weight-class runner-up.
Of the Raiders’ six placers, only one finished outside of the top four in his weight class.
Most of the squads on Saturday are among the same sectional and/or district tournaments in which either Meigs (Division II) or River Valley (Division III) will be a part of.
New Lexington won the team championship with 292 points, while Nelsonville-York was the runner-up with 266.
Morgan was third with 203, followed by fourth-place finishers Westfall and host Athens.
Both the Bulldogs and Westfall finished with 168 points.
Hillsboro (sixth with 166) and Vinton County (seventh with 141) finished just ahead of River Valley (136) — while West Muskingum (ninth with 132.5), Jackson (10th with 123.5), Zanesville (11th with 93.5) and Dayton Thurgood Marshall (12th with 85) all placed ahead of Meigs (84).
Rounding out the scoring teams were Fairland (65), Trimble (36), Marietta (18) and Federal Hocking (14).
River Valley sophomore Jacob Edwards amassed the 113-pound weight class championship, posting a perfect 5-0 record with three pinfall wins — and two different victories over New Lexington’s Blake Sheppard.
Edwards gained the championship triumph with a pin over Sheppard — taking the 113 title tilt in two minutes and 26 seconds.
In the second round, Edwards shut out Sheppard with a 4-0 decision — after opening the competition with a pin in 27 seconds over Trimble’s Eric Everett.
Edwards earned his second pinfall in the semifinals — defeating Bill Wallace of Athens in three minutes and 33 seconds.
His middle victory, in the third round, was a 6-4 decision over West Muskingum’s Andrew Knaup.
River Valley senior Grant Gilmore garnered third at 170, winning his third-place match by a 13-4 major decision over Nelsonville-York’s Logan Bruce.
Joseph Burns at 120, Jeremiah Dobbins at 138 and Robert Drummond at heavyweight all finished fourth for the Raiders, while Derek Johnson placed seventh at 182.
For the Marauders, senior Trae Hood claimed runner-up honors at 220 — losing his championship bout by a 19-6 major decision to Donovan McCollister of Nelsonville-York.
Hood had won his first four matches, including his first three with pinfalls — before defeating Mason Cox of Fairland with an 11-1 major decision in the semifinals.
Hood had pinfall wins over Donnie McCain of Federal Hocking (55 seconds), Jared Conn of Hillsboro (4:55) and Antoine Brandon of Zanesville (3:33).
Meigs’ other placers were Nathaniel Gearheart (5th at 138), Keynath Rowe (7th at 170), Brock Roush (8th at 182) and Tucker Smith (8th at 132).
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106