McCONNELSVILLE - The Morgan High wrestling team will compete in its second match of the season tonight at 5 p.m. when it hosts Crooksville and Maysville in its lone home match of the 2013-14 campaign.
The Raiders opened up the year by finishing seventh out of 16 teams at the Cambridge Invitational on Nov. 30 at Cambridge High. They were led by John Haines, who took home the 145-pound crown with a 16-0 technical fall victory over Belpre's Daniel Law.
Morgan had five wrestlers finish in the top four overall in their respective weight classes. Seniors Hayden Matheney (126) and Kody Driggs (138) each placed second while Dylan Downs (120) finished third. Malachi Maxwell (285) recorded a fourth place finish.
Other wrestlers to keep an eye on throughout the season for the Raiders are Devin Cain (132), John Thompson (132), Ty Garrett (132), Chris O'Kain (152), Rhys Ramirez (170) and Micha Maxwell (220).
"Overall, we looked pretty good as a team," said Morgan head coach Blake Ponchak of the team's first match. "We wrestled hard, but due to injuries, we were giving up five weights classes. We had guys step up and get big wins for the team."
The Raiders have had time to heal for tonight's match and should be in better shape as they compete in Muskingum Valley League action.
Morgan won't have as much time to reflect on tonight's match as they did the opener, as they will be right in action Thursday and Friday at the Barnesville Invitational.
The next few days will certainly prove to be a big test for the Morgan grapplers and could help set the tone for the remainder of the season.
NOTES: Former Morgan wrestling standout Dirk Ponchak, the younger brother of Raiders coach Blake Ponchak, was recently named United States College Athletic Association (USCAA) Wrestler of the Week. Dirk is a sophomore at West Virginia Tech and posted a 5-0 record during the week of Nov. 26 for the Golden Bears. He improved to 14-1 overall on the season after helping WVU-Tech win the Southern Virginia Turkey Bowl on Friday.