Blue Lions 4th at Nelsonville

By Dan Roberts - Special for the Record-Herald

NELSONVILLE — The Washington Blue Lion wrestling team opted to compete again this season at the annual 17 team Nelsonville-York Invitational on Jan. 9.

As they did in 2015, the Washington wrestlers gave a strong showing and came away with a fourth place finish.

River Valley (282 points) won the tournament with host Nelsonville taking second scoring 231 points. West Salem Northwestern was third with 219 points. Washington totaled 197 points to finish ahead of Gallia Academy with 191 points.

The lone champion of the tournament for Washington was senior Mason McCane. He went 5-0 at the event and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. The wins pushed his record to 33-3 on the season.

A key match-up in the semifinals against Justin Reynolds of Gallia Academy went totally in favor of the local wrestler by a score of 7-1. The two squared off in last year’s final at Nelsonville with McCane taking an 8-2 decision.

The finals bout for McCane this season ended in injury default when his opponent, Billy Cooper, had to withdraw. McCane was leading 8-1 when the match was called.

Chris Conger (138) and Trevor Hicks (285) placed second at the tournament.

Conger strong-armed his way into the finals with three pins and a technical fall. A pin over Nathaniel Gearheart of Meigs put the Blue Lion sophomore in the finals against Shane Clark of Northwestern.

A pin right at the end of period one was earned by Clark to lay claim to the weight class title.

The move up from 220 pounds to 285 pounds has been very productive this season for Hicks. The junior tallied four wins by pin en route to his finals bout against Wes Cochran of Buckeye Valley. Cochran would earn a closely contested 4-2 decision to deny Hicks the championship.

Tre Thomas (120) and Steven Willis (195) were also place winners in their respective weight classes.

Thomas closed out his day with a 6-3 decision over Andrew Halko of Bishop Ready to finish in third place. His only loss of the day came against Zane Johnson of Jonathan Alder by a 7-1 score. Johnson went on to win the tournament.

Willis competed very well losing only a very close Keith Griffin of River Valley by a 3-2 decision in the semifinals. Griffen would then pin his next opponent in :51 seconds to win the 195 pound class. Willis won 10-4 in his consolation finals bout over Ryan Williams of Nelsonville York to finish in third place.

Sophomore Zane Nelson was fourth at 132 pounds. Nelson lost to eventual champion, Mason Kidd of Northwestern (11-0 major decision) in the semifinals. His consolation finals match for third place against Gabe Gibson of Bloom Carroll went in favor of Gibson by a 9-5 score.

Freshman Elisha Shaw finished in 8th place at 160 pounds. The result pleased head coach Louis Reid, who felt his first year varsity wrestler competed well.

Caden Smith (152), Alan Bailey (160 extra), Zane Wilson (170), and Colton McNichols (220) participated at the tournament for the Blue Lions but did not finish among the top eight in their weight class.

Team Score

1. River Valley 282.0

2. Nelsonville-York 231.0

3. Northwestern 219.5

4. Washington 197.0

5. Gallia Academy 191.0

6. Buckeye Valley 189.0

7. Maysville 160.0

8. Ready 157.5

9. Jackson 144.0

10. Jonathan Alder 120.0

11. Morgan 102.0

12. Thurgood Marshall 101.0

13. Bloom-Carroll 94.0

14. Unioto 88.0

15. Meigs 68.0

16. Philo 64.0

17. Adena 0.0

By Dan Roberts

Special for the Record-Herald