Sports Talk: 13 local grapplers crowned tourney champs

There must have been something really good for the muscles in that Christmas pudding.

During the weekend after the Dec. 25 holiday, 13 local prep wrestlers captured firsts in tournaments in the Ohio area.

Belpre finished with four champions at the Tenth Annual Pirate Holiday Duals at Cardington-Lincoln High; Warren, Waterford, and Caldwell each had two while Marietta crowned one at the Coaches Corner Classic at Gallia Academy; and Williamstown had two at America’s Best Value Inn Tournament at St. Clairsville.

Not too shabby.

At the Cardington Duals, the Scott Adams-coached Golden Eagle grapplers were fifth in a field of 12 schools with a 4-1 mark. The year before, they were 1-4.

Belpre’s first-place individual winners were Gavin Stalnaker (113), Manney Tullius (138), Daniel Law (145), and Ethan Wiggers (152), who all posted 5-0 marks in the tourney. Wiggers also received a special award for the most pins (5) in the least time (10 minutes, 38 seconds).

Adams’ Eagles are on the road this weekend at Circleville Elm.

At 6 p.m. next Wednesday, Belpre is slated to host a tri-match against Warren and Marietta.

Considering Warren, Marietta, and Waterford have several weight class vacancies in its lineups, all fared well at the Coaches Corner Classic in Gallipolis. The Mike Pahl-coached Warriors finished fifth; the Scott Zimmer-led Wildcats, seventh; and the Bill Heldman-coached Tigers, eighth in a 16-school field.

Warren’s Levi Congleton and Brandon Pahl each was a champ in the 113- and 285-pound weight class, respectively. Making their performances even more impressive, all their wins were by pins. Pahl barely broke a sweat when he flattened one of his opponents in 10 seconds.

Congleton, a state qualifier last year as a sophomore, now boasts a 17-0 record on the season, while Pahl is 18-0.

Congleton is also at the 100-plus-win mark – and counting.

Warren had only eight wrestlers competing at the Coaches Corner Classic. Mike Pahl is hoping he’ll have a couple of more when the Warriors wrestle at Conn’s Duals at Meadowbrook this weekend.

Marietta wrestling seemingly has been handicapped by illness and injuries all season long. But Garrett Davis has been a bright spot in the 170-pound weight division.

At Coaches Corner Classic, Davis was 4-0 to claim the title.

Caldwell’s winners at the Classic were Kameron Rayner (138) and Tyler Wiley (120).

Last year, Rayner placed at state in Columbus.

Team-wise, Williamstown struggled at America’s Best Value Inn event, but individually crowned two winners in Dalton George (132) and David Hastings (195).

Pudding or not, wrestling is alive and well in the area.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at