Warren wrestlers claim team title

VINCENT – One takedown with seconds to go.

It results in just two points in one match, but sometimes that can be the difference between victory and defeat. Or in the case of the Warren Warriors in the Hickory Grove Invitational wrestling tournament in Vincent Saturday the difference between a straight out win and a tiebreaker.

Williamstown’s Austin Raines secured a takedown of Austin Klintworth in the final seconds to secure a 4-3 decision in the 145-pound weight class, giving the Warriors their lone loss on the day in the duel-format tournament as the Yellowjackets won 39-36.

That decision proved to be the lone blight on an otherwise stellar day for the host Warriors, who went 4-1 and claimed the overall team title by virtue of the tiebreak with the Gallia Academy Blue Devils, who were also 4-1.

“It went pretty good except for the Williamstown match,” said Warren wrestling coach Mike Pahl. “We should’ve won it outright.”

Instead of the outright title with a perfect 5-0 day against the Yellowjackets, Blue Devils, Parkersburg South Patriots, River Valley Raiders and John Glenn Muskies, the Warriors had to settle for taking the title by virtue of their head-to-head win over the Blue Devils.

And that was all due to the Yellowjackets and their ability to secure points when they needed them most.

“We wrestled pretty hard. We didn’t give up any matches,” said Williamstown wrestling coach Ryan Scott.

Hard fought wrestling was a theme for both Williamstown and Warren, as all but two duel for the two squads was decided by eight points or less. All of the Warriors’ five matches were decided by eight points or fewer.

“The big thing here is just staying off your back and not getting pinned,” Scott said. “That’s just being defensive and not losing by pin.”

Pins were still fairly easy to come by for the Warriors, who needed every point they could get to overcome the forfeits they gave up as Warren filled just eight weight classes.

Giving up the six points by forfeit, the Warriors dominated their head-to-head matches as Warren collected 19 pins on the day.

“Our kids wrestled pretty good all day. We had one or two matches that didn’t go the way I would’ve liked,” Pahl said.

The Warriors were led by Levi Congleton, Casey Parsons and Brandon Pahl who combined to go a perfect 15-0 on the day and garner 12 pins. Parsons won all five of his matches at the 138-pound weight class by pin while Congleton and Pahl each received some points from forfeits.

Klintworth, who suffered just one loss on the day to Raines of the Yellowjackets, added four pins for Warren.

Raines, Logan Lindsey and Dalton Smith combined to go 15-0 for Williamstown as the Yellowjackets finished third in the annual event, which was changed to the Hickory Grove Market Invitational from the Burt Builders Invitational after the business on Ohio 339 closed earlier this fall.

This year marked a change in the format for the annual event as well as a name change as it went to a duel format due to the meet only having six teams. Still, it was strong competition, Scott noted.

“This was good competition. It’s kind of what we needed,” Scott said. “Compared to what we went to last year, this is a lot better tournament.”

Of the six schools competing, only River Valley failed to post at least a pair of victories in the duel format with the Warriors claiming the ultimate prize.

“It was pretty good wrestling,” Pahl said.