GLOUSTER, Ohio — The River Valley Raiders are already inching closer towards the top of the Tri-Valley Conference wrestling mountain.
That’s because the Raiders, in competing in only their third TVC meet since joining the conference, racked up runner-up honors on Saturday in the annual February competition.
River Valley amassed 138.5 points — and captured three league championships as part of seven top-four places — as this season’s TVC championships took place at Trimble High School’s William White Gymnasium in Glouster.
Nelsonville-York, the defending conference champion, successfully defended its team title by posting 165 points.
The Buckeyes, of the 14 weight classes, claimed league crowns in half of them.
Athens followed the Raiders with 131 points, followed by Alexander at 103.5 and Vinton County at 102.
The Meigs Marauders, which had five placers, secured sixth-place with 67 points —followed by Belpre with 51 and the first-year South Gallia Rebels with 47.
The Rebels placed four wrestlers, as the second-year Eastern Eagles ended up with 13 points.
Trimble was ninth with 37 points, followed by first-year Federal Hocking with 19.
Waterford and Wellston, with 17 points apiece, tied for 11th —as Eastern was 13th while Wahama was unable to compete.
The White Falcons, due to the West Virginia Class AA-A regional tournament this past weekend, did not wrestle at the TVC.
Southern and Miller do not have wrestling programs.
The Raiders’ three weight-class champions were Grant Gilmore at 170 pounds, Jeremiah Dobbins at 145 pounds and Jacob Edwards at 113 pounds.
Edwards — in a minute and 43 seconds — and Dobbins — in five minutes and three seconds — won their championship matches by pinfall, while Gilmore decisioned Ray Lewis of Vinton County by a count of 10-8.
The Raider runner-ups were Eric Weber at 160, Tyson Still at 195 and Robert Drummond at heavyweight, as Still lost a 4-3 decision in the championship tilt to Ryan Williams of Nelsonville-York —while Drummond dropped a 5-4 outcome to Dakota Doss of Belpre in the heavyweight bout.
River Valley’s only other placer was Joseph Burns at 120, as he edged Alexander’s Wes Radford for third with an 8-7 decision.
For the Marauders, two matmen —Nathaniel Gearheart at 138 and Trae Hood at 220 — were runner-up.
Gearheart lost an 8-1 decision to Alexander’s James Wallace in that final, while Donovan McCollister of Nelsonville-York pinned Hood in the second period of their title match.
Meigs’ Clayton Hanna at 106, Tucker Smith at 132 and Keynath Rowe at 182 all finished fourth.
Justin Butler (145), Chad Bostic (170) and David Kuhn (220) all took fourth for South Gallia, as Izak Luther led the Rebels with a third-place performance at 182.
Luther pinned Rowe in only 43 seconds in the third-place match.
Besides McCollister (220) and Williams (195), Logan Bruce (182), Tyler Speelman (160) Anthony Koping (152), Noah Inboden (126) and Collin Yinger (106) all won weight-class championships for Nelsonville-York.
Other weight-class champions included Wallace of Alexander (138), Doss of Belpre (heavyweight), Wyatt Webb of Vinton County (120) and Holden Macy of Athens (132).
River Valley and Meigs will be among the Division II teams, and South Gallia and Eastern among the Division III clubs, competing in sectional tournament action at Alexander High School this weekend (Feb. 24 and 25).
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106