Wrestling meets run the gamut

It never hurts to have options and choices.

Mid-Ohio Valley wrestling fans sure have plenty of those come Saturday.

Aside from Memorial Fieldhouse holding the Mountain State Athletic Conference tournament, Ritchie County is the host site for the 51st annual Little Kanawha Conference mat showdown.

Without question, there will be a plethora of talented wrestlers on hand not only in Parkersburg, but also in Ellenboro.

Of course, fans who really enjoy the sport also have the opportunity, if they so choose, to start their day at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center on the campus of Parkersburg South for the Patriots’ home dual against Point Pleasant. That match is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and would allow fans ample time to skip across the river to PHS or head out U.S. 50.

In the latest West Virginia Coaches Association/wvmat.com polls, head coach Donna Dixon’s Parkersburg South program is still holding down the No. 2 ranking in Class AAA behind expected state champion Huntington. Point Pleasant is ranked fifth.

Although there are several matches involving current top 10 ranked competitors for the Parkersburg South and Point Pleasant dual, five of those matches pit grapplers who are ranked in the top six of Class AAA.

Obviously, sickness and injury could factor into these matches not taking place, but if they do occur fans should get more than their money’s worth.

I’m not sure if it will be an advantage or disadvantage for Parkersburg South, but the Patriots will be competing today at John Marshall in the 5A portion of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference duals. No matter how that goes this evening, it should be a good test for PSHS to see how it bounces back on short rest with the most important part of the year quickly approaching.

Justin Allman, who earlier this year joined 145-pound freshman teammate Hunter DeLong in making Parkersburg South history by becoming the first Patriot ninth-graders to claim OVAC crowns, has an interesting match at 182. Allman, ranked sixth in triple-A, is expected to meet No. 2 Jon Peterson.

At 106, there’s the potential battle of fifth-ranked Patriot Hunter Cline taking on fourth-ranked Big Black Caleb Leslie.

Guy Fisher, third-ranked for the Big Blacks at 126, should square off versus sixth-ranked Patriot Austin Harris. Also on tap if things work out as they currently stand on paper would be a battle at 132 between Point Pleasant’s John Raike (No. 3) and Patriot T.J. Lambiotte (No. 5) as well as a No. 3 versus No. 4 showdown featuring Big Black Tanner Hill against Patriot 195-pounder Tyler Newhart.

Huntington, which has won the last three MSAC team crowns, will be back in town on Thursday when the Highlanders take on host Parkersburg South during the Patriots’ senior night at the ROAC.

Former Highlander All-American and last year’s Robert Dutton Award winner Justin Arthur will bring his 23-7 record at 149 to the mat for Clarion when the Golden Eagles travel to face No. 26 Ohio University at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com