BELPRE - Any time your team wins over half its head-to-head matches by pin, the points on the scoreboard add up in a hurry.
The Belpre Golden Eagles racked up nine pins in 17 matches (with five more decided by forfeit) as they proved for one night to be king of the mats with a tri-match victory over the visiting Warren Warriors and Marietta Tigers.
"We had some good matches in there," said Belpre wrestling coach Greg Adams. "It was good for all three teams. We happened to come out on top this time."
By far the smallest of the three schools, the Golden Eagles still found plenty of success on the mat as they claimed a 37-18 victory over the Warriors and a commanding 51-5 win over Marietta. The Tigers topped Warren 33-28 in the third duel-match of the evening.
Of the 17 head-to-head matches for Belpre, just four resulted in losses and not once was a Golden Eagle pinned to the mat. Warren's Levi Congleton and Marietta's Garrett Davis each picked up a tech fall against Belpre, but those five points weren't nearly enough to stem the tide against the tough Belpre lineup, which fills 11 of the weight classes.
"Belpre's got a good team," said Marietta wrestling coach Bill Heldman. "A lot of the kids they have are top notch wrestlers."
In their commanding 51-5 win over the Tigers, Belpre recorded six pins in 10 weight classes and all six of those pins came in the first period of grappling. Dakota McDaniel's pin on Josh Montgomery in 40 seconds proved to be the fastest of the six.
"We didn't match up quite as well against Belpre," Heldman said.
Belpre improved to 14-4 in dual-format tournaments this season, and enjoyed squaring off against Division II schools Warren and Marietta, with each school bringing some of the area's top wrestlers to face off.
"I've been moving kids around this year to get them in some tougher competition," Adams said.
After effectively dominating the Tigers, the Golden Eagles had a more difficult time with the Warriors, particularly Congleton and Austin Klintworth.
Congleton's tech fall and Klintworth's major decision provided the bulk of the Warriors' points against Belpre as Warren found several of its top wrestlers faltering in the line of fire, which isn't a bad thing, noted Warren wrestling coach Mike Pahl.
"I want them to go to sectionals with some losses and not be undefeated because they wrestled good competition," Pahl said.
That competition proved plentiful Wednesday as Belpre held off Warren's effort to split the night's wrestling after Marietta edged the Warriors on the last match of their battle.
"We did good against Warren," Heldman said.
Against the Warriors, the Tigers enjoyed considerably more success than they had against Belpre as Marietta picked up a trio of pins and an 8-1 decision from Garrett Davis over Kenny White while allowing Warren to win just three head-to-head matches.
The Warriors struggled on the night as only Klintworth won two head-to-head matches. Congleton and Brandon Pahl each got two victories, but were the beneficiaries of forfeits.
"We wrestled fair overall. A few of the kids were just flat tonight," Pahl said.
With only a matter of weeks left until the beginning of the tournament run, now is the time for each of the three schools to have their teams wrestling their best, and matches like Wednesday can only benefit as they head into the stretch run, Adams said.
"It's all about getting your team to peak at the right time. We're wrestling pretty well. We're not going to back down. We've got some tough matches coming up," he said.