Belpre wrestlers come up short in effort

BELPRE – Anything can happen on a wrestling mat and St. Clairsville had a little extra motivation Wednesday night in the Division III, Sub-Region 20-B, Ohio state duals tournament at Belpre High School.

The Red Devils of head coach Joel Sansone, who came into the fray as the No. 8 seed, went 3-0 and advanced to next week’s regional semifinal round.

Sansone told his team before heading to Belpre he didn’t want to make the trek down to just show up and wrestle one match. His team obviously took that to heart. Sansone also told his grapplers if they just won their first match he’d give them Saturday off from practice.

“They are not getting any extra time off (other than Saturday),” quipped Sansone, whose team ousted No. 9 Alexander, 53-15, and followed that up with a 42-31 victory against the top-seeded Golden Eagles and then a 51-27 triumph versus fourth-seeded River.

“All year long we’ve done well in tournaments, but when it comes to duals we have our heads down. I told them all I was asking was for six minutes on the mat. I’m a little surprised.”

SCHS never trailed against River as the Red Devils opened the final dual of the night with a trio of forfeit victories by Jamey Creer (106), Alex Timko (113) and Donte Vincenzo (120). Jon Bartolo (132), Logan Thompson (145), Dylan Alwine (152), Mike Furbee (220) and Red Devil heavyweight Carson Ernest all recorded mat slappers.

Belpre, which had a bye and awaited the winner of St. Clairsville and Alexander, never got anything going against the Red Devils. The Golden Eagles of head coach Scott Adams, who had forfeits at 106, 126 and 132, also didn’t have 145-pounder Daniel Law (30-1). Law suffered an injury during practice this week and couldn’t go.

After Creer’s forfeit at 106, the Red Devils led for good. Timko knocked off Gavin Stalnaker 8-3 at 113 before the hosts got on the board at 120 thanks to Zach Davis’ 4-1 decision against Vincenzo.

Following two more forfeits the Golden Eagles trailed 21-3, but Manney Tullius scored a 20-8 major decision versus Colton Stevens at 138. Belpre found itself behind 36-7 after pins by Thompson and Alwine and a 6-5 decision by 160-pounder Cole Skaggs. Matthew Colvin actually led Skaggs 5-4 after an escape with 1:16 left in the match, but the Red Devil got the winning takedown with four ticks remaining.

Belpre kept its faint hope of advancing alive when 170-pounder Shane Whealdon stuck Matt Carnes in 3:10 and the score was 36-25 after Golden Eagle forfeit wins by Alex Gainer at 182 and Jamie Barrett at 195.

The Golden Eagles, who return to the mat a week from today against Ohio Valley Athletic Conference champion Parkersburg South, needed two more pins. Heavyweight Hayden Lowe got a mat slapper on Ernest in 30 seconds, but Furbee already had sealed the win when he stopped Dakota McDaniel via pin with 41 ticks left in the opening period.

“We just didn’t finish,” coach Adams said. “When you give up three forfeits to begin with it’s tough to come back.

“We got two of them back, but we couldn’t overcome the way we wrestled.”