CANONSBURG, Pa. — When you are talking the best of the best, the top half is where you want to end up.
The Point Pleasant wrestling team went 22-27 overall in individual matches and ended up 24th out of 66 competing schools last Wednesday and Thursday at the 55th annual Powerade Wrestling Invitational held at Canon-McMillan High School.
The 2021 Powerade Invitational is considered the second toughest wrestling tournament in the country and squads from eight different states took part in the event.
The Big Blacks — who came away with 59.5 team points — had only one grappler reach the podium as senior Derek Raike went 3-1 overall and placed sixth at 152 pounds. Raike won his first three matches and had to forfeit due to an injury in his fourth bout.
Freshman Gunner Andrick went 4-2 overall at 126 pounds, while sophomore Conner Blessing was 3-2 at 120 pounds. Ethan Marcum also went 3-2 overall at 172 pounds.
Nathan Wood (113), Mackandle Freeman (138), Justin Bartee (145) and Josh Woyan (160) all posted identical 2-2 marks in their respective divisions, while Brayden Connolly (189) also scored a single victory in three matches.
Wyoming Seminary (PA) won the team championship with 300 points, followed by runner-up Malvern Prep (PA) with 209 points.
Lakewood St. Edward (114) and Wadsworth (83) respectively finished seventh and ninth as the leaders of Ohio-based schools.
PPHS was the top finisher from West Virginia, while Parkersburg South ended up 56th overall with 30 points.
Raike has now placed on the podium at the top two tournaments in the country after ending up third at 150 pound at the Walsh Ironman earlier this season.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.