Independence tops Calhoun for team title

WILLIAMSTOWN – Calhoun County’s Cole Ritchie was named Most Outstanding Wrestler, Williamstown’s Dalton George became a four-time champion and Independence captured the team crown here Saturday evening at the 13th annual Bob Zide Rumble.

In one of the most anticipated matches, Ritchie (40-5) got an escape with 12 seconds left in the third overtime to win his 145-pound title against Independence rival Cody Clifton (42-2) via a 2-1 decision.

“I felt all right coming down here and I knew what I had to do,” said Ritchie, who noted his keys the rest of the year are to “stay on offense, don’t stop, keep working on my feet mostly and staying in shape for close matches like that.

“I beat him the first time by one point and he beat me the second time by two points. I get nervous before the match, but in the match I don’t get too nervous. I just knew (in overtime) I had to get up.”

A quick single leg shot by the senior George late in the opening period was all he needed to win his 132-pound crown against Independence’s Jacob Hart during a 3-1 decision.

“It’s a great feeling, you know,” said the Class AA/A two-time state champion George. “Winning anything four times is big.

“Really, this is all just preparation for the state tournament and trying to get ready and win another title.”

Williamstown, which finished fourth with 102.5 points behind Independence (181.5), Calhoun County (144.5) and Herbert Hoover (114.5), also got a title by 195-pounder David Hastings, who nipped St. Marys’ Jeremy Pratt, 5-4.

“They’ve got some good kids,” WHS head coach Ryan Scott said of Independence, which went 5-4 in finals matches. “We wrestled real well. We had kids who haven’t had much success this year place.

“Jake Seckman (heavyweight) came out and got third and (Austin) Raines (fourth at 145) is a pretty good wrestler, but he hasn’t placed very many places because he’s been in a tough weight class.”

Three finals matches pitted the state’s best wrestlers against one another. No. 2 Will Cox of Independence got a takedown with 45 seconds left in the third period to earn an 8-7 decision against top-ranked 120-pounder Houstin McCune of Calhoun County. East Fairmont’s Hayden Stewart (No. 1) led 4-0 early and then used escapes in the final two periods to top No. 2 Noah Adams of IHS, 6-4, at 152. Expected Class AAA state champion Terrance Fanning improved to 31-0 following his 10-2 major decision against expected Class AA/A state champion Zane Weese of Herbert Hoover.

The only other area champion was Calhoun County 106-pounder Allen Metheny, who controlled Herbert Hoover’s Chase Stover in a 4-1 win.

Aside from Ritchie/Clifton, the only other battle which went into an extra session came at 113. That’s where Sissonville’s Ryan Keckley registered a takedown 13 seconds into sudden-death overtime as he doubled up Teddy Stover of IHS, 4-2.

Spring Mills made the long trek to Williamstown and was rewarded with a title when 126-pounder Demetreus Jalepes got a mat slapper on Sissonville’s Austin Moss in 54 seconds for the only pin in the finals.

Herbert Hoover heavyweight Peyton Carey, ranked ninth, managed to keep his feet in bounds with two seconds left in the match against fourth-ranked Noah Markley of Bridgeport for a 3-1 victory.

Independence also had finals wins from Colton Ward at 138, Dustin Justice at 160, Alex Daniels at 170 and Thomas Williams at 182. Williams edged Wirt County’s Walker Siers, 4-3; Justice nipped Calhoun County’s Seth Moore, 3-2; Ward turned back East Fairmont’s Dalton Michael, 6-2 and Daniels trumped Calhoun County’s Cole Boatright, 7-1.