TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — Defending ‘The Nest’ against birds of a different feather.
The Eastern wrestling team won the second annual ‘Battle of the Birds’ on Wednesday in Meigs County, defeating guests Belpre and Wahama in a tri-match.
The event began with Eastern claiming a 42-12 victory over Belpre, claiming seven weight classes by forfeit. The Golden Eagles had one forfeit victory to go with a pinfall win by Dakota Ross in the heavyweight class.
In the head-to-head match between the White Falcons and the host Eagles, the 106, 120, 126 and 138 weight classes were split evenly with two forfeits by each side.
WHS junior Trevor Hunt claimed an 8-to-3 decision in the 152 weight class, but EHS junior Daniel Harris followed up with pinfall win at 160 to give the hosts a two-point edge.
Eastern’s lead grew to 22-16, after a 8-to-2 decision win by sophomore Blake Newland at 170 pounds, but White Falcons’ senior Antonio Serevicz scored a pinfall at 220 to even the match at 22.
In the final bout of the event, Eastern heavyweight junior Ethan Kline scored a pinfall for to seal the 28-22 victory for the hosts.
Wahama defeated Belpre by a 36-12 final without stepping onto the mat, earning a 6-to-2 edge in forfeits.
Following the match, Eastern head coach Joshua Mummey noted that winning the event was on the list of season goals, especially for his lone senior.
“I’m very excited, these guys work hard for individual awards and everything, but I know this was one of the things they wanted to accomplish this year,” Mummey said. “Dillon Aekier, even though this is only the second year with the trophy, it was something he definitely had on his list, bringing the ‘Battle of the Birds’ trophy home to Eastern. I know they’re all pretty excited.”
For Wahama — which won the inaugural ‘Battle of the Birds’ championship last season — head coach Ryan Russell was pleased with his team’s effort and is looking forward to getting back work this Saturday.
“We wrestled hard with what we had,” said Russell. “We bumped some people up and shifted around weights, just to try to match up and increase our possibility of winning, it just didn’t work out. Sometimes when you have younger guys, you have learning curves you have to work through.
“They have nothing to be ashamed of, we’re not going to win it every year, we’re not a big dominating force. We wrestle this coming weekend at Belpre, so this match is over and it’s time to move on to the next one.”
While Wahama is back in action at the Belpre Invitational on Saturday, Eastern won’t wrestle again until the Skyline Bowling Invitational at Gallia Academy on Dec. 29, an event in which the White Falcons are also slated to participate.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.