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From My View For Jan. 20

By Staff | Jan 20, 2016

Magnolia’s Caleb Nice, victorious on the podium, after winning the 220-pound championship.

The 2016 edition of the OVAC Ron Mauck Wrestling Tournament, inside the new and much improved WesBanco Arena, was a classic experience that I fully enjoyed.

The 63rd annual event marked the first time that I witnessed the event on its final day. I have been there the past several years, but I always left before the finale because I didn’t have any Wetzel County athletes that I needed to cover until the very end.

This year, there were several Wetzel County wrestlers that were placing and one that was competing for the championship. In the past, parents would take photos for me if a wrestler placed, but I always missed out on the festivities of the finale.

To open the final day, the OVAC welcomed its newest “Mr. Mat,” Union Local Head Coach Jim Crosier. Crosier was elated when receiving this prestigious award. The emotion of Crosier man brought a joy to all that was on hand.

To witness Crosier receiving this award was one of my most memorable events that I have had the pleasure of attending. I didn’t know this gentleman at all, and I had not had the pleasure of meeting him, or even hearing about him, until this past weekend. The OVAC brought out his Crosier’s brothers, wife, and family to mark the event. To see the joy in Crosier’s face was PRICELESS.

Magnolia Assistant Head Coach Eric McKeever receives the OVAC Assistant Head Coach of the Year award from Blue Eagles Head Coach, Dr. Vincent Monseau.

Crosier received his award and received hugs and kisses from so very many people, including Wetzel County’s very own Dr. Vince Monseau, Mr. Mat 1983.

MHS’ own Eric McKeever was awarded Outstanding Assistant Coach Of The Year. Presenting the award was Head Coach Monseau.

The overwhelming these two guys have for the program at Magnolia spreads deep within the wrestling community.

The boys from Magnolia, as well as River, wrestled as hard as they could. To get four placements from Magnolia and one from River was exciting. The Pilots’ Luke Matusik came into his last match with 25-9 record, but lost to a boy from University High School.

The Eagles’ Riley Nice, who finished eighth in 2014 in the 113 pound weight division, was going up against a boy from Parkersburg South. From the start, Riley competed as tough as he could, but a pulled groin sustained early in the tournament played havoc on his mobility. Riley couldn’t finish the last bout. He forfeited this bout and claimed sixth place.

He could have not competed in the last several bouts, but his courage and dedication to MHS wrestling to do his best kept him going as far as he could. He showed everyone there how a kid can use the adrenaline from a the crowd and the emotion of the meet to compete at a high level, even through pain.

The Eagles’ Clay Adams finished eighth, where he finished last season in the OVAC.

Next up for the Eagles was Paden McConaughey at 170 pounds. He came into the OVAC as an underdog even though he was undefeated at the beginning. He was also injured, but like Riley Nice, McConaughey’s will kept him competing like a true champion.

After winning his first three bouts, he fell twice and was wrestling for fifth place against a 28-7 boy from Shadyside. McConaughey would prevail by a pin-fall to win the match. Last season, he finished sixth.

In the 220 pound weight division, Caleb Nice was competing for the Eagles’ first wrestling OVAC crown. He opened with a quick take down and used quite a lot of energy trying to roll his opponent over. After a while he scored a point on an escape and was leading 3-0 when the undefeated Clay Poling from Caldwell reversed Nice to get on the board. Nice answered with a reverse and finished with a 6-2 victory.

The emotion Nice showed after winning was something special to witness. He jumped in Assistant Coach Dan Doyle’s arms and gave Coach McKeever a big hug. After that, he ran over and picked up Head Coach Vince Monseau in jubilation.

This emotion Nice showed after being MHS’ first OVAC wrestling champion was something I have always wanted to witness, and it is something I will cherish with me.

After getting his award and standing high on the podium, Nice had to wait to be interviewed by Channel Nine who was broadcasting the event on TV. Nice sat there patiently waiting for his turn to speak, but what I saw while waiting will also go down as something special.

Nice just kept looking at his trophy, and I could feel his emotion the same way I felt the emotion of the Mr. Mat.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed myself while taking photographs and learning more about the art of wrestling. It is a team sport, but still a individual sport too.