MADEIRA, Ohio — Go west, young man … and grow with the country.
In older days, the phrase spoke to the opportunity of prosperity in an unknown part of the United States.
Apparently, history still has a way of repeating itself — even now in more modern times.
The Point Pleasant wrestling team came away with top honors in its first trip to the suburbs of northeastern Cincinnati this past Friday and Saturday after claiming the 2017 Madeira Mustangs Invitational championship in Hamilton County.
The Big Blacks posted tournament-bests of 21 total pinfall wins and eight top-four finishers en route to a 34-13 overall record and a final tally of 183 points.
Norwood finished the 23-team, two-day event as runner-up with 151 points, with Reading (132.5), Bethel-Tate (125.5) and Blanchester (125.0) rounding out the top-five spots in the mostly Cincinnati area based tournament.
PPHS — which did not have entrants in the 126-, 138- and 170-pound divisions — had all but three grapplers finish as top-six placers while also landing three wrestlers in weight class finals.
Point Pleasant also went a perfect 3-for-3 in those championship bouts, allowing the Big Blacks to join Norwood as the programs to come away with the most individual titles.
Bethel-Tate was the only other program to win multiple titles with two. Goshen, Blanchester, Summit Country Day, Indian Hill, Reading and host Madeira also earned an individual crown apiece.
Senior Grant Safford posted three pinfalls and went a perfect 4-0 at 182 pounds, while junior Brian Gillispie had two pinfall wins while going 4-0 in the heavyweight division.
Senior Austin Wamsley also won the 145-pound weight class with three pinfall wins and a 15-0 technical fall while going 4-0 overall.
The Big Blacks had a trio of third-place finishes from junior Jacob Roub, sophomore George Smith and freshman Justin Cornell.
Roub had two pinfalls and went 5-1 overall at 152 pounds, while Smith (113) and Cornell (106) each had two pinfall wins and a 4-1 record in their respective divisions.
Senior Andrew Roach was fourth at 195 pounds with two pinfall wins and a 4-2 mark. Junior Caleb Lane was also fourth at 120 pounds with two pinfall wins and a 3-2 record.
Freshman Logan Southall recorded two pinfall wins and a 2-2 mark at 132 pounds, while classmate Juan Marquez earned a pinfall win and a 2-2 record at 220 pounds.
Freshman Nazar Abass also went 1-2 overall at 160 pounds for the Big Blacks.
“I’m very proud of the boys for the way they battled this weekend,” PPHS coach John Bonecutter said after the event. “Anytime you go into Ohio, you are going to wrestle tough competition — especially in that part of the state. We are improving in a lot of areas and working toward being more consistent from match to match, and this weekend was a step in that direction.”
Point Pleasant returns to the mat Wednesday when it hosts River Valley, Nitro and Williamstown for a quad match at 4:30 p.m.
Complete results of the 2017 Madeira Mustangs Invitational are available on the web at baumspage.com
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.