Wrestling at Magnolia High School is about to explode! Oh, yes, take my word for it!
Under the direction of Dr. Vince Monseau, long time West Liberty University Head Wrestling Coach, first-year assistant coach Ryan Asbury and this writer, wrestling is on the ascent. Asbury is a four-time placer at state from Oak Glen and I was wrestling coach at Tyler Consolidated for 13 years.
Monseau has a plan and the kids are buying into it. "We just don't want to build a team, we want to build a program," says Monseau. How do you do that, you might ask? to begin with, you start young and you recruit, recruit and do some more recruiting.
This year's squad has a total of 19 grapplers, 10 of whom are freshman. There are five sophomores, one junior and three seniors. By looking at the numbers, we are young. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the results.
This past weekend, we took 13 of those young men to participate in the OVAC Ron Mauck Wrestling Championships, one of largest conference wrestling tournaments in the nation. By tournament's end, we had two place winners and finished third overall in the AAA division with 57.5 points.
Freshman Caleb Nice led the team in scoring by picking up five wins to just one loss and finishing in third place at the 182 pound weight division. Also finding the podium was another freshman, Riley Nice, who placed eighth in the 113 pound weight class.
In the history of the school, Magnolia has produced 24 place winners. But, not since 1988 have there been two in the same year. I am not 100 percent positive, but I would bet that the feat of placing two freshmen in the same year has ever been accomplished until this year.
Caleb became the fifth wrestler to place third at the OVAC wrestling tournament and Riley became the eighth wrestler to place eighth. Magnolia has never had a OVAC wrestling champ, but has had two runnersup.
Sophomore Paden McConaughey fell one match short of placing as he picked up three wins at the tournament in the 160 pound weight class. Seniors Joey Kelley and Phillip Harlan both picked up two wins and senior Jacob Rabel, sophomore Joe Laymen and freshman Clay Adams each added a win.
We are now down the home stretch of our season as we start to prepare for regionals and state. To date, we have a dual meet record of eight wins to just one loss. We also have been crowned tournament champs at Tyler Consolidated and Buffalo tournaments.
This weekend we hope to add to that at the River Wrestling Tournament held Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. Magnolia has qualified to compete in the OVAC dual meet championships to be held at John Marshall High School Field house on Feb. 5. And, on Feb. 15, we will host a wrestling tournament of our own.
So come on out and support your wrestling athletes and see what the buzz is all about!