We’ve taken a step back into the fall sports season, but today we will look at the recent 2018-19 winter campaign within the Ohio Valley Publishing area.
Meigs, Mason and Gallia counties struggled a bit in both boys and girls basketball as only two of the 20 programs advanced past the opening round of the postseason. The OVP area also came away with a grand total of zero league championships.
Wrestling, on the other hand, had two different teams and a grand total of 26 individuals compete at the state level in some fashion this past winter, rather it be in Ohio or in West Virginia. Wrestling also produced a team league champion, two regional team titles and a team state championship … as well as three individual state champions.
Point Pleasant wrestling was again a headline story in the OVP area this past winter after rolling to victories at the WSAZ Invitational and the Class AA Region IV tournament, then secured the program’s fourth state championship by winning the Class AA crown by an impressive 83-point margin.
The Big Blacks had five grapplers compete in state finals, which yielded a trio of first-time champions in Isaac Short (106), Derek Raike (120) and Justin Bartee (126).
Point Pleasant qualified wrestlers to the state level in all 14 weight classes this past winter, with 10 ending up with top-six podium finishes.
PPHS, however, was the only area program making notable history on the mat.
River Valley enjoyed its first full roster in 20 years under coach Matthew Huck, and the Raiders absolutely made the most of their 14-man journey.
The Silver and Black won the Division Region 22 title and eventually competed in their first-ever OHSAA State Wrestling Dual Team Championship held at St. John’s Arena. RVHS eventually lost 54-18 in the opening round to eventual champion Milan Edison.
The Raiders followed by winning four individual Tri-Valley Conference crowns, produced seven district qualifiers and netted the program’s first-ever tandem entry into the OHSAA individual tournament.
Both Eric Weber and Nathan Cadle joined Zach Davis (2003-04) as the only individual state qualifiers in River Valley history.
Wahama scored its first regional champion since 2014 and also netted the program’s second-ever state runner-up in Antonio Serevicz at 220 pounds. Trevor Hunt was also sixth overall for the White Falcons at 145 pounds.
Gallia Academy captured the program’s fourth consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championship while producing eight individual league champions — five of whom were repeat honorees. The Blue Devils also produced four district qualifiers.
Eastern wrestling sent two grapplers to the district level for a second consecutive postseason, including the Eagles’ first-ever two-time qualifier in Dillon Aeiker.
South Gallia also produced a pair of district qualifiers for the first time ever in Justin Butler and Chad Bostic. Bostic also became the program’s first-ever TVC champion after winning the 170-pound league title.
Eastern put together the best postseason run after falling in the Division IV girls basketball district championship game. The Lady Eagles (15-9) were appearing in their ninth district final in 10 years.
The Meigs girls basketball team captured the remaining sectional championship from the tri-county area. The Lady Marauders put together a 15-9 campaign in earning the program’s first district appearance since 2000.
Of note, the Wahama girls basketball team went 11-13 overall and 7-9 in league play. It is significant in that it was the first time that the Lady Falcons had double-digit wins since the 2011-12 campaign. WHS also had more TVC Hocking wins this winter than all of its previous six seasons combined.
The OVP area also produced five different 1,000-point scorers this winter, including a pair on the same night in the same game.
Hannan senior Dalton Coleman and Ohio Valley Christian senior Justin Beaver each reached quadruple digits for their career during Hannan 65-47 victory in Ashton back on Dec. 8, 2018.
Meigs senior Kassidy Betzing became the first player at MHS to reach 1,000 career points since 2011, then Meigs junior Weston Baer followed about a month later by becoming the first boy to accomplish the feat in 20 years.
Wahama junior Hannah Rose hit the 1,000-point plateau during the opening game of the postseason.
River Valley also had six swimmers qualify for the district tournament.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.