It basically turned into a traveling museum.
In being shipped to different regions of the state for their respective postseason starts, both River Valley and Eastern managed to make program history this weekend during the Division III sectional wrestling tournaments held at Blanchester High School and Barnesville High School.
The Raiders were joined by South Gallia at the Blanchester sectional, but RVHS was the only Gallia County program to come away with district qualifiers.
After advancing six grapplers to districts in each of the last two postseasons, the Silver and Black mustered only five this season. The Raiders, however, set a school mark by placing third overall in the 25-team field with 127 points.
The Eagles — in their third year as a varsity program, one that has included the loss of the team’s equipment due to an early-winter fire — also earned the school’s first-ever district berths as two grapplers advanced out of the Barnesville sectional.
Senior Gavin Erwin and junior Dillon Aeiker became the first EHS grapplers to get out of the sectional tournament after each placed fourth in their respective weight classes. Erwin went 2-2 with two pinfalls at 182 pounds, while Aeiker finished 2-2 and had a 10-0 major decision at 138 pounds.
The Eagles placed 15th out of 16 teams with 35 points at the Barnesville sectional.
River Valley’s program-best finish was spearheaded by junior Jacob Edwards, who secured his third career district berth by going 4-0 with four pinfalls while capturing the 113-pound title at Blanchester.
Eric Weber scored two pinfall wins and went 2-1 while placing second at 160 pounds, while Nathan Michael posted a 2-1 mark that included a pinfall and a 16-2 major decision en route to a runner-up finish at 170 pounds.
Joseph Burns was fourth with a 3-2 record and three pinfall victories at 120 pounds, while Coalton Burns locked up the fifth and final district qualifying spot for RVHS by going 3-2 overall — including one pinfall — at 126 pounds.
Besides Edwards, both Weber and Joseph Burns are repeat qualifiers at the district level.
K.C. Collins had a pinfall win and went 3-2 while placing fifth at 182 pounds, while Ryan Weber went 3-2 overall with two pinfalls and finished fifth at 195 pounds.
Derek Johnson was also sixth at 152 pounds after posting a 2-3 mark that included a pinfall win. The Raiders finished the weekend with a 22-13 overall record.
The Rebels — in their second year as a varsity program — were 17th out of 25 teams at the Blanchester event with 36 points.
Justin Butler finished fifth at 152 pounds after going 3-2 with a pinfall win. Chad Bostic was also fifth at 170 pounds after posting a 2-2 mark with two pinfalls.
Tanner Dennison placed sixth at 285 pounds after going 3-3 overall with three pinfall victories.
Alex Peck (138) and Sviatoslav Hryhorenko (160) both went winless in two bouts at the sectional tournament.
SGHS — which went 8-11 at the sectional tournament — is still looking for the program’s first district qualifier.
Bethel-Tate won the D-3 sectional at Blanchester High School with 235 points, with Blanchester (161.5) and the Raiders completing the top-three spots.
Bethel-Tate led all teams at Blanchester with five individual weight class champions. Reading was next with three titles, while RVHS, East Clinton, Madeira, MVCA, Williamsburg and host Blanchester came away with a divisional champion apiece.
Nelsonville-York came away with the D-3 Barnesville title with 190 points, followed by Martins Ferry (165) and host Barnesville (141.5) in the top-three spots.
Eion Marcinko earned a sixth place finish for EHS at 106 pounds after going 1-3 overall with a pinfall win. Emily Bunce also notched a pinfall win and went 1-2 at 170 pounds.
Daniel Harris (145), Sarah Bunce (195), Sam Jones (220) and Nathan Litchfield (285) each went winless in their two bouts for the Eagles. Eastern finished the weekend with a 6-17 overall record.
NYHS led the Barnesville sectional with five weight class champions, followed by Martins Ferry with three and Coshocton with two. Buckeye Local, Trimble, Barnesville and Edison also came away with a divisional title apiece.
The River Valley district qualifiers head to Troy High School for a two-day event that starts Friday at 3 p.m.
Eastern’s two district qualifiers advance to Heath High School for a two-day event that begins Friday at 5 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.