CENTENARY, Ohio — The Blue Devil wrestlers, simply put, will be entering 2017 just as they are exiting 2016.
That being on quite the roll.
That’s because, on Thursday, Gallia Academy amassed a massive 308 points — and captured four individual championships — en route to racking up an impressive runaway win in its annual Coaches Corner Classic.
The Blue Devils dominated the 19-team and 160-wrestler competition at GAHS, as runner-up Athens — with 227 points —was the next closest club.
River Valley, which placed in eight weight classes and finished at least third in seven of those including the heavyweight champion Robert Drummond, claimed third with 219 points.
Caldwell (210), Vinton County (165) and Unioto (140) all finished from fourth thru sixth, followed by the Meigs Marauders with 130.5 points.
Gallia Academy wrestled in five finals matches with four winning weight-class championships — senior Jared Stevens at 126 pounds, senior Kaleb Crisenbery at 145 pounds, junior Caleb Greenlee at 106 pounds and junior Kyle Greenlee at 113 pounds.
Stevens, in fact, made it a perfect 6-of-6 — including junior high — in which he won his weight class title at the Coaches Corner Classic.
The Blue Devils almost made it 5-for-5 in weight-class crowns, as senior Hunter Jacks — at 170 pounds —lost a narrow 5-4 decision to Ben Davenport of Unioto in the finals.
Jacks, earlier in the competition, captured his 100th career victory.
The only weight class in which Gallia Academy did not place was at 120 pounds, as Andrew Mullins —at 160 pounds —mustered third for the Blue Devils’ only other top-three place.
Indeed, the Blue Devils’ depth played an incredible role in what was essentially a wrestling rout.
And, against quality competition in fact.
“The teams that came here today were ready to wrestle, and I can’t remember this many ranked kids competing in our tournament. We had a lot of marquee matchups. I’m very happy with our performance today,” said Gallia Academy coach Todd May. “I think we had every wrestler win at least one match today except one junior varsity kid. We also had some kids lose a match early, but with the way the format is, they were able to wrestle themselves back into the tournament. We had two kids get beat in the first or second round, then they caught them through the consolation bracket and won those matches. You have to be happy about that. I’m tickled to win by this much, because it was a lot less stress going into that last round.”
That final round saw the Blue Devils win three of the first four matches, already extending upon their 266 points prior to the championship bouts.
Caleb Greenlee decisioned Marshal Niswonger of Caldwell 8-2, Kyle Greenlee pinned Jacob Edwards of River Valley in three minutes and 26 seconds, Stevens shut out Wyatt Webb of Vinton County with a 9-0 major decision, and Crisenbery pinned Jeremiah Dobbins of River Valley in three minutes and 12 ticks gone by.
Gallia Academy, after a narrow 39-33 win over River Valley in a dual match on Dec. 13, have now won two invitationals — sandwiched around an important dual win over Logan.
“The ball is rolling the right way right now,” said May, who also wanted to praise the work of his first-year assistant coach Brandon Taylor.
For River Valley, in addition to Edwards at 113 and Dobbins at 145, also placing second were Nathan Michael at 152 and Eric Weber at 160.
Drummond defeated Dakota Ross of Belpre with a 4- 1 decision for the heavyweight championship, while Grant Gilmore at 170 and Joseph Burns at 120 both finished third.
The only other Raider placers were Joseph Dale (sixth) at 160 and Dakota Doss (eighth) at 220.
Nathaniel Gearheart of Meigs mustered a 17-2 technical-fall triumph over Michael, while the Marauders’ other weight-class champion was senior Trae Hood, who pinned Mason Cox of Fairland in a minute and 22 seconds at 220.
Other Blue Devil placers included Jason Stroud (fourth) and Kenton Ramsey (seventh) at 106, Justin Day (seventh) at 132, Morgan Stanley (fifth) at 138, Lane Pullins (sixth) at 152, Hunter Terry (fifth) at heavyweight, Chris Matthew (seventh) at 182, Logan Griffith (seventh) at 220, and Logan Rose (sixth) and Darren Owens (eighth) at 195.
The Marauders managed three other placers towards their 130.5 points — Tucker Smith (sixth) at 132, Grant Adams (fifth) at 170 and Keynath Rowe (fourth) at 182.
Eastern, which tied with Waterford for 15th-place with 59 points, earned five places — Dillon Aeiker (fourth) at 132, Gavin Mullen (fifth) at 195, Daniel Harris (seventh) at 145, Eion Marcinko (eighth) at 106 and Ryan Kennedy (eighth) at heavyweight.
Other weight-class champions included Levi Pemberton of Caldwell at 120, Holden Macy of Athens at 132, James Wallace of Alexander at 138, Kiah Smith of Athens at 160, Timothy Diamond of Unioto at 182 and Stephen Plybon of Fairland at 195.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106
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