West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

Today, I have the extreme pleasure of announcing Mat Talk's 13th Annual "OVAC West Virginia and Ohio Wrestlers of the Year."

The honorees are determined by a committee of five Ohio Valley wrestling enthusiasts, which includes and is chaired by yours truly. As always, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bill Hinegardner (1984 Mr. Mat), Ron Mauck (1986 Mr. Mat), Dave Kovalick (1988 Mr. Mat), and Dick Wolf for graciously volunteering to serve on this selection board. I have never worked with a more sincere and honorable group of men.

The recipients must be seniors and are chosen on the basis of personal wrestling accomplishments over their entire scholastic careers. This year's winners are Buckeye Local's Willie Saxton and Oak Glen's Rhett Northcraft.

Willie Saxton

* 2006 Ohio Division II State Champion
* Four-Time Ohio Division II State Qualifier (3rd as a junior)
* 2005 NHSCA Junior Nationals Champion
* Two-Time Sectional Champion
* Two-Time District Champion
* 2006 OVAC Tournament Champion
* 2004 OVAC Tournament Champion
* Three-Time OVAC Tournament Placewinner
* Overall Record: 168-22 Senior Record: 48-1
* Holds the record for most wins at Buckeye Local
* Coach: Brian Davis

Rhett Northcraft
* Three-Time West Virginia AA State Champion
* Four-Time West Virginia AA State Placewinner
* Three-Time West Virginia AA Regional Champion
* Two-Time OVAC Champion
* Three-Time OVAC Placewinner
* Two-Time Brooke Champion
* Two-Time St. Clairsville Invitational Champion
* Two-Time Spartan Classic Champion
* 2006 Cardinal Invitational Champion
* Overall Record: 137-18 Senior Record: 34-2
* Coach: Larry Shaw

MAT TALK FINAL EXAM (28th Edition)

Since this is the last Mat Talk column of the season, it is again time for my faithful readers to be tested on the facts disseminated throughout the series. There are no grades given, but you can rate yourselves.

True or False
1. There are no longer any individual ties in wrestling.
2. The coach can instruct his wrestler during injury time.
3. A wrestler can never lose if he has a technical fall.
4. Excessive false starts can never disqualify a wrestler.
5. A fall scores the same amount of team points in a dual meet and a tournament.

Short Answers

6. What is baiting an opponent in wrestling designated as in the rulebook?
7. How many match points are awarded for a takedown right to the back, with the match being stopped due to the bottom man crying out that he is injured?
8. If Wrestler A applies a straight body scissors while attempting a fall and Wrestler B can not continue, who wins the match?
9. What can eliminate a wrestler from competing in a dual meet or tournament before it starts?
10. If a wrestler secures a takedown while his opponent is a figure-4 head scissors, how many points would he receive?

Mat Salute

Special accolades are addressed to the following 1998 area individual state champs:

West Virginia: Ronnell Green, Ronnie Green, and Bruce Kennedy, Wheeling Park; Jessie Mahan, Rhett Northcraft, and Bryan Rowland -- all from Oak Glen.

Ohio: Joe Skoff, St. Johns and Willie Saxton, Buckeye Local.

Furthermore, all OVAC wrestlers who have placed in their respective state tournaments will again receive the WHEELING NEWS-REGISTER's "Mat Talk All-State Award Winner" certificates for their outstanding performances. This year certificates have been forwarded to 50 local matmen. Since 1982, more than 1000 certificates have been distributed.

Special Recognition

Congratulations are forwarded to the Oak Glen wrestlers and the coaching staff on their 10th straight West Virginia State AA Championship. Also, many congrats to Golden Bear head coach, Larry Shaw, for being selected the Dix Manning WV AA Coach of the Year. This award is especially gratifying to Coach Shaw because the legendary wrestling coach, Dix Manning, was Larry Shaw's high school mat mentor.

Official's Corner

This year three area referees were selected to officiate state tournaments on both sides of the Ohio River. Ray Marling and Chris Diserio refereed the West Virginia State Championships and Lou Coffland officiated at the Ohio State Tournament this year.

Many congratulations are extended to all three of these fine OVAC officials!

Mat Message
"Perseverance is the essence of success."

Answers to the Mat Talk Final Exam: 1. True; 2. True; 3. False; 4. True; 5. False; 6. Unsportsmanlike Conduct; 7. Four Match Points; 8. Wrestler A; 9. Not Making Weight; 10. Three Match Points.

Check Your Rating
(the number right)
9 to 10 - Referee's Rating (He has the last word.)
6 to 8 - Coach's Rating (He has the next-to-last word.)
3 to 5 - Spectator's Rating (He knew the answer but is now confused because the "ref" and coach are having words.)
0 to 2 - No Rating (You've been watching too much studio "rassling" and are at a loss for words.)

Be seeing you next season with more "Mat Talk!"


The following are the past Ohio and West Virginia wrestlers receiving the prestigious OVAC Wrestlers of the Year Award:

1988 - John Crain, Oak Glen
Rick Burlenski, Bridgeport

1989 - Dave Wood, Cameron
Dunyasha Yetts, Steubenville

1990 - Ed Neely, Weirton Madonna
Babe Sidon, Martins Ferry

1991 - Eric Potts, Cameron
Scott DeYarmon, Buckeye Local

1992 - R. C. Anderson, Cameron
John Gilbeaut, Union Local

1993 - Ryan Dudas, Cameron
Kelly Shields, Edison

1994 - Chad Burge, Cameron
Ryan Slack, Shadyside

1995 - Jason Taylor, Wheeling Park
Brian Roskovich, Bridgeport

1996 - Josh Giovengo, Bishop Donahue
Eric Anderson, Bellaire St. John's

1997 - Dewitt Stanley, Brooke
Sean Doyle, Buckeye Local

1998 - Chad Pratz, Linsly
Travis Clark, Union Local

1999 - Alex McClung, Oak Glen
Matt Salsberry, East Liverpool

2000 - Steve Ochap, Wheeling Park
Scott Roth, Martins Ferry

2001 - Eric Noel, Oak Glen
Cole Bowersock, Beaver Local

2002 - Derrick Sickles, Oak Glen
John Tierney, Martins Ferry

2003 - Phil Bliss, Brooke
David Berolino, Buckeye Local

2004 - Casey Hughes, Cameron
Koel Davia, Union Local

2005 - Dustin Richey, John Marshall
Clay Tucker, Martins Ferry

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