CENTENARY, Ohio — Welcome home.
After a two-year hiatus, Gallia Academy picked up its fourth league title in six years Saturday afternoon at the 2014 Southeastern Ohio Athletic League wrestling championships held on the campus of GAHS in Gallia County.
The host Blue Devils had five grapplers win individual crowns and collectively beat the four-team field by 13 points, allowing Gallia Academy to pick up its seventh SEOAL championship in program history. GAHS previously won league titles in 1981, 1991, 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The Blue Devils had 11 total wrestlers combine to score a winning tally of 197 points at the 14-division event, while Logan had nine grapplers finish the day with 184 points for runner-up honors. Warren (139) and Jackson (105) rounded out the bottom half of the final standings.
Each school had at least two grapplers earn SEOAL titles, with Gallia Academy leading the way with five. Warren was next with four champions, while Logan and Jackson came away with three and two crowns respectively.
The difference in the final outcome, however, came down to the Blue Devils’ ability to score points. Ten of the 11 wrestlers earned at least one victory for the winning cause, and nine of those grapplers eventually finished first or second in their respective weight classes.
Afterwards, second-year GAHS coach Scott Stanley — who was named SEOAL coach of the year at the event — spoke about the day’s events and how everyone played a part in the final outcome.
“It’s an exciting moment for me, the kids and the program. It’s been a few years since we last did this and we worked really hard this week just for this moment right now,” Stanley said. “The kids worked together really well today and it all came together and we pulled if off.
“We want our 2014 emblem added to the wall down there with the others in the wrestling room. That’s what everybody strives for at the beginning of the season.”
The Blue Devils previously finished second to Logan in 2012 and were third overall in 2013 to Warren and Logan. The Warriors were the defending champion headed into Saturday’s meet.
It was the third year in a row that GAHS came away with five individual SEOAL champions, which included the third straight crowns for senior John Byus and junior Cole Tawney. Byus went 2-0 on his way to winning the 220-pound championship, while Tawney was 2-0 and came away with Most Valuable Wrestler honors after claiming the 126 divisional crown.
Freshmen Jared Stevens (106) and Kaleb Crisenberry (132) each went unbeaten and won SEOAL titles in their first varsity bouts, while sophomore Justin Reynolds shook off a third-place effort last year at 160 by winning the 182-pound weight class for his first SEOAL title.
Isaiah Holley (113), Ryan Terry (160), Griffon McKinniss (170) and Anthony Sipple (195) each finished second for the Blue Devils, while Quenton McKinniss plaved third in the 145-pound division. Hunter Jacks was also fourth in the 152 weight class.
“It was very special to do this at home. Our home crowd was here and you usually have more of a following when it’s at home,” Stanley said. “It’s great to bring a championship back to Gallia Academy at Gallia Academy.”
Levi Congleton (120), Casey Parsons (145), Austin Klintworth (152) and Brandon Pahl (285) won titles for Warren, while Austin Scarberry (160), Bryce McBride (170) and Nick Schneider (195) earned individual crowns for the Chieftains. Kyle Kirby (113) and Tyler Storms (138) each won an SEOAL title for the Ironmen.