South wrestlers seek fourth straight OVAC title

PARKERSBURG – While the Parkersburg South wrestling team has won the West Virginia Class AAA state championship each of the past four seasons, starting at 6:30 p.m. today inside Wheeling’s WesBanco Arena the Patriots of first-year head coach Donna Dixon will be seeking a fourth consecutive Ohio Valley Athletic Conference crown.

At last year’s tournament, the Patriots rolled up 305 points to fend off runner-up Steubenville (270) and Caldwell, which finished third with 192.

Expected top programs Parkersburg South and Steubenville both have 11 seeded grapplers, but the only Patriot to earn a top seed was 113-pounder Lance Hill, who is going after this third career OVAC crown and won it all last winter at 106.

The three-day tournament, which concludes on Saturday night, also has seeded area wrestlers from mat programs Caldwell, Magnolia and Tyler Consolidated. The Redkins have a pair of No. 2 seeds in Kameron Rayner (138) and Jared Leasure (182) while 170-pounder Kale Rayner, third last year at 170, is the expected winner in that weight class this weekend.

Magnolia’s lone seeded grappler is 182-pounder Jared Wright (No. 5) and Tyler Consolidated’s only top-eight expected finisher is heavyweight Austin Spencer, who earned a No. 7 seed. Caldwell 113-pounder Kolby Rayner and 120-pounder teammate Tyler Wiley are seeded seventh and sixth, respectively.

Parkersburg South’s only No. 2 seed is 170-pounder Dake Mills, who took fourth last year in the same weight class. Patriots Jordan Quiocho (132) and Stewart Morris (145) have No. 3 seeds.

Briar Shively was third last year in the 138-pound weight class for PSHS and was awarded a No. 4 seed at 160 this week.

Parkersburg South’s other expected top-eight finishers include Logan Ball (No. 7, 106), Kyle Knotts (No. 8, 126), Dylan Alexander (No. 6, 138), Chip Sturek (No. 6, 152), Jason Allen (No. 5, 195) and heavyweight Dane Mills, who is seeded fourth.