TVC runner-up Belpre primed for mat sectional

BELPRE – Fresh off a runner-up finish in the Tri-Valley Conference wrestling championships last Friday with 10 top-three individual placers, Belpre’s matmen start the first leg along the Ohio tourney trail today and Saturday in the Division III Southeast sectional at Alexander High School in Albany.

Over the last month, head coach Scott Adams’ Golden Eagle grapplers have prepared for the upcoming post-season grind by competing in the Amanda Clearcreek tournament, the Bob Zide Wrestling Rumble in Williamstown, the State Duals and then the TVC meet, where junior Jamie Barrett, at 195 pounds, annexed his second straight conference crown.

That accomplishment paired with seven second-place efforts for Belpre from freshmen Gavin Stalnaker at 106 and Jordan McCutcheon at 113, sophomore Manney Tullius at 132, seniors Ethan Wiggers and Tyler Martin at 145 and 182 respectively, freshman Matthew Colvin at 152 and junior Hayden Lowe at 285 along with third-placers in soph Daniel Law at 138 and senior Derek Davis at 160 propelled the Golden Eagles into the No. 2 spot behind only league champion and State Duals finalist Athens.

In the TVC, ”we had our lineup set about where we figured it was going to be,” said Adams. ”Everyone wrestled well; the team came together. We finished over 100 points ahead (331-208) of the third-place team (Vinton County).”

This weekend, Adams and his wrestlers will face another strong field in the their 15-team sectional, beginning at 5:30 p.m. today and then again at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

”I think our lineup is solid, so I’m looking for a good sectional showing,” said Adams. ”Those 10 guys that placed in the TVC, we’re hoping can place in the top four and advance onto the district next week.”

Adams added that he’s ”already told the boys that they’ve got to go wrestle, but as far as I’m concerned, we’re a top-three team at this sectional. If they wrestle well, we could win it. But they’ve still got to go out and wrestle well. Nothing’s free. Just because we did well at the TVC, doesn’t mean we’ll do well at the sectional.

”But the kids have been stepping up, and we’ll have a full lineup this week with all 14 weight classes filled. So who knows what can happen.”