ALBANY, Ohio — Even better the second time around.
The River Valley wrestling team set program records with eight district qualifiers and four divisional champions while capturing its second straight team title this weekend at the Division III Southeast sectional championships held at Alexander High School in Athens County.
The Raiders — who had three sectional champs and six district qualifiers a year ago — ended the 2-day event with nine total podium finishes, and only one of those top-6 efforts finished outside of the first four cutoff point for districts.
Three of the four RVHS wrestlers that won individual sectional titles were repeat champions from a year ago. Half of this year’s district qualifiers also competed in the same event last winter.
The Silver and Black posted a winning team score of 192 points. Westfall was second out of 22 scoring teams with 165 points. Eastern was ninth overall with 63 points and landed two district qualifiers, while South Gallia had a historic day and placed 15th with 33 points. Meigs tied Crooksville for 19th place with 11 points.
Andrew Huck (126), Nathan Cadle (145) and Will Hash (182) — all state qualifiers a year ago — repeated as sectional champions for RVHS. Both Huck and Cadle posted matching 4-0 marks in their weight classes, with Cadle recording four of the six pinfall wins between the pair. Hash also went 3-0 with two pinfall wins.
Justin Stump secured his first district appearance by winning the 138-pound division. Stump was 4-0 overall with a pinfall win. Ryan Weber was second in the heavyweight division with a 2-1 mark that included two pinfalls.
Nathan Brown (152), Aiden Greene (160) and Brice Petitt (220) each finished third in their weight classes. Brown was 4-1 with two pinfalls, while Greene and Petitt each went 3-1 overall. Greene — a district qualifier last winter — also had a pinfall win.
Hayden Weaver placed sixth at 106 pounds for the Raiders after a 1-3 effort that included a pinfall win.
The Eagles had five podium efforts on the weekend, with Steven Fitzgerald leading the way with a third place finish at 285 pounds. Fitzgerald — who went 3-1 overall with three pinfall wins — is the lone repeat district qualifier for EHS.
Jayden Evans ended up fourth at 170 pounds and advanced to districts following a 3-2 effort that included two pinfall wins.
Both Ryan Ross (152) and Zach Nelson (195) just missed the cutoff point with fifth place finishes in their respective divisions. Ross went 3-2 with three pinfalls, while Nelson ended the weekend 1-2 with an 8-0 major decision win.
Hunter Sisson was also sixth for Eastern at 220 pounds. Sisson went 2-3 overall and scored one pinfall win.
The Rebels landed two podium finishes at the event, including the program’s first-ever sectional champion in sophomore Reece Butler. Butler went 2-0 and had two pinfall wins at 120 pounds while becoming just the third SGHS grappler to ever qualify for districts.
Dustin Bainter just missed the cut for South Gallia in the heavyweight division after placing fifth with two pinfall wins and a 2-2 mark.
Jacob Dailey was the lone Marauder to finish on the podium after placing fifth at 106 pounds. Dailey went 1-2 overall and scored one pinfall win while missing the district cutoff mark.
The D-3 Southeast-East-Central district championships will be held on Friday and Saturday at Coshocton High School.
Visit baumspage.com for complete results on the 2021 Division III Southeast sectional tournament held at Alexander High School.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.