Blue Devils excel at Western Brown

By Paul Boggs -

MT. ORAB, Ohio — The Gallia Academy Blue Devils, despite only sporting five underclassmen on Saturday, made the most of their wrestling weekend.

That’s because the Blue Devils had four grapplers place in the top three of their weight classes — and finished 10th out of 22 teams in the annual Hammer & Anvil Invitational held at Western Brown High School.

The Blue Devils amassed 106 points — as they had one weight-class runner-up followed by three thirds.

The five GAHS matmen competing were seniors Jared Stevens, Kaleb Crisenbery and Hunter Jacks — along with junior Kyle Greenlee and sophomore Jason Stroud.

Stevens, in the 126-pound division, was the runner-up at that weight class — going 3-1 on the day while losing in the championship match by a 6-1 decision.

Crisenbery at 152, Greenlee at 113 and Jacks at 182 all went 4-1 and placed third — while Stroud wrestled at 106 and lost his two matches by 17-2 technical falls.

The Hammer & Anvil is loaded with multiple state placers from both Ohio and Kentucky, as Mason captured the team championship with 421.5 points.

Host Western Brown was the team runner-up with 230.5 points, followed by Circleville — the only other Southeast District squad besides the Blue Devils and Hillsboro — with 181.5.

Stevens swept through his first three matches — with a 9-0 major decision, a 12-4 major decision, and a second-period pin over Sam Ridgley of Lebanon in the semifinals.

Colin Schuster of Mason defeated Stevens in the 126 championship match.

Crisenbery opened the first round with a first-period pin over Gavin Clark of New Richmond, then pinned Dalton McMullen of Blanchester in only six seconds in the second round.

Crisenbery then pinned Zack Dillow of Clinton-Massie in only 54 seconds, before losing to Western Brown’s Jake Henderson with a 9-2 decision.

Crisenbery claimed his third-place match with a 9-0 major decision over John Bates of Lebanon.

For Jacks, he won a 13-8 decision over Matthew Welker of Miami East, then pinned Brady Bergefurd of Wilmington and decisioned Blake Justice of Lebanon (7-4).

Eric Vermillion of Mason defeated Jacks 15-3 in the semifinals, but Jacks earned a major decision of his own in the third-place match — defeating Franklin’s Hunter Lester 12-2.

Greenlee gained a third-period pin over Michael Reyes of Goshen, a first-period pin over Matt Huff of Franklin, and a 5-3 decision over Matt Asher of Clinton-Massie.

Greenlee lost his semifinal match to Western Brown’s Brandon Lucas by technical fall (17-2), but bounced back to get his third pinfall win over Kaleb Nickels of Miami East.

Gallia Academy is back in action this coming weekend (Jan. 20-21) — at the annual WSAZ Invitational in Huntington.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

By Paul Boggs