Now into the busy portion of their schedule, members of the Tyler Consolidated High school wrestling team are finding dual and triangular match wins as important as tournament wins, especially heading into the post-season as they will next month.
On Jan. 9 the team hosted Cameron and St. Marys in a home tri, falling by a narrow margin in the team competition to the Dragons, 43-42, but getting the win over the Blue Devils, 54-24.
"Some of the boys who secured a win for us were Joe Henthorn, Dustin Tawney and Austin Spencer," said Chad Snider, head coach of the Knights.
Knight seniors - Jay Earley, Raphe Bailes, Joe Henthorn and Dustin Tawney
"All three teams had a fair amount of kids, but they seemed to be in different weight classes, resulting in very few actual matches wrestled. It was probably one of the few times we have tied Cameron in a wrestling match in school history. Even though they are a small school, they are usually a powerhouse in wrestling."
"Like us, both other teams are in a bit of rebuilding phase, not filling the entire bench."
This weekend the Consolidated grapplers will participate in the Ron Mauck OVAC tournament at the WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, one of the largest high school wrestling tournaments in the country. More than 35 Ohio Valley schools will participate in the tournament, with several of the Silver Knights having just as much of a chance to stand on the podium at tourney's end as any other wrestler.
"My outlook for OVACs is positive," Snider said.
"I think for the first time in school history we got a freshman seeded. Austin Spencer took the seventh seed at 285."
"Joe Henthorn and Dustin Tawney were right in the mix, and had there been two more open seeds, they would have gotten seeds also."
"I like the OVAC tournament because our athletes get to see some of the best competition from both Ohio and West Virginia. Many who have wrestled this tournament will attest that placing at this tournament is a higher achievement than placing in the state tournament. Wrestling OVACs isn't like other sports that get divided into their categories of school size. All individuals wrestle in a 32-man bracket double elimination tournament."
"It is one of the largest high school tournaments in the nation and I am excited to see how our matmen will stand up to the competition. I think for many it's a reality check because many have seen good wrestlers, but not many of my wrestlers have seen "elite wrestlers".
"They will see a few like that here. I think that it will be a great experience regardless of the score at the end of the day."
"It's an honor to be a part of the OVAC. I hope to see many fans representing our school at WesBanco Arena. Who knows, maybe we will get some TV time by the end of Saturday."
The OVAC wrestling tournament will begin on Thursday, continue on Friday and Saturday with championship matches featured on Saturday evening.