What a year … and it’s still not over.
The River Valley wrestling program keeps adding to its historic 2018-19 campaign after qualifying two grapplers into the state tournament next weekend following Saturday’s finale at the 2019 Division III East District Championships held at Troy High School.
The Raiders — who competed at the OHSAA Team Duals in D-3 earlier this season — had a school-best seven competitors at the district event, which ultimately led to a 10th place finish in the 60-team field with 59 points.
Two grapplers — senior Eric Weber and freshman Nathan Cadle — both came away with top-four efforts at the two-day event, allowing each of them to qualify for 2019 OHSAA Individual Wrestling Championships this coming week at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.
Both Weber — a four-time district qualifier — and Cadle are the first tandem qualifiers in RVHS history, as well as the second and third state advancees in program lore. Only Zach Davis had previously been to state for the Silver and Black, doing so in Division II back in both 2003 and 2004.
Weber ended up fourth overall at 182 pounds with a 4-2 overall mark that included three pinfall wins. Cadle was also fourth overall at 138 pounds with a 4-2 record that included three pinfalls.
Weber owns a 46-13 overall mark headed into the state meet, while Cadle is 44-11 overall in his first varsity campaign.
Senior Jacob Edwards — a four-time district qualifier — just missed the state cut after placing fifth overall at 126 pounds. Edwards was 4-2 with a pinfall over the weekend and finished the year with a 38-9 record.
Senior Joseph Burns — a three-time district qualifier — scored one pinfall and went 1-2 overall at 120 pounds, while freshman Will Hash was 2-2 with two pinfalls at 145 pounds. Burns ended the season with a 29-15 record, while Hash was 45-12 in his first varsity season.
Sophomore Ryan Weber went 1-2 overall at 220 pounds and ended the year with a 21-28 mark. Freshman Chris Goheen was winless in two heavyweight bouts and completed the winter with an 18-27 record.
RVHS coach Matthew Huck — who is completing his 20th season at the helm — noted that this weekend was just another feather in the cap on what has been a magical 2019 campaign.
“What these two have done this year is a huge milestone in River Valley wrestling and for our school. They took five of their teammates with them to the district tournament … and even though this is an individual sport, these guys needed their teammates with them everyday at practice to help them get to this point,” Huck said. “This has been a record-breaking year and we’re looking to break some more records this weekend.”
South Gallia also made school history at the D-3 Troy district as junior Justin Butler became the first Rebel in school history to score a victory at the district tournament.
Butler notched a 3-2 decision in the opening round of the consolation bracket and ultimately went 1-2 overall at 160 pounds.
Senior Chad Bostic — the first Rebel to ever win a Tri-Valley Conference wrestling title — went winless in two bouts at 170 pounds.
Butler ended the season with a 40-10 mark, while Bostic was 35-9 in his final winter with the program.
The Red and Gold tied with Seven Hills for 49th overall with a single point. Fifty of the 60 programs scored at least one point at the Troy district meet.
Troy Christian won the D-3 district title at Troy High School with 147.5 points. Covington (99.5) and Legacy Christian (91.5) rounded out the top three positions in the field.
Eastern also added to its program history in the D-3 district meet held at Buckeye Local High School over the weekend.
The Eagles received a win from each of their two participants, allowing the Green and White to set a school record with four points — which was good enough to tie Belpre for 41st place.
Senior Dillon Aeiker — appearing in his second straight district meet — scored his first district win with a pinfall and went 1-2 overall at 145 pounds. Aeiker ends his senior season with a 26-15 overall record.
Sophomore Steven Fitzgerald became the first EHS underclassman to win a district match with a 6-1 decision in the opening round of the consolation bracket. Fitzgerald was 1-2 at 195 pounds and ends the year with a 42-12 mark.
Northmor won the D-3 team title at Buckeye Local High School with 114 points, with Barnesville (110) and Coshocton (103.5) rounding out the top three spots. A total of 52 schools competed at BLHS, with 46 programs coming away with at least one point.
Gallia Academy had three grapplers competing at the Division II district meet at Heath High School, but the Blue Devils ultimately went scoreless and winless in six bouts.
Senior Jason Stroud was 0-2 at 120 pounds and ended the year with a 21-18 overall record, while junior Logan Griffith was 0-2 at 220 pounds and finished the winter 27-12 overall.
Freshman Garytt Schwall was also 0-2 at 106 pounds and ended the season with a 29-12 overall mark.
Lisbon Beaver won the D-2 title at Heath High School with 191 points. Steubenville (164) and Carrollton (126) were second and third, respectively, in the 48-team field that had 44 different programs score at least one point.
The 2019 OHSAA Individual Wrestling Championships begin at 3 p.m. Thursday and will run through the championship round Saturday evening.
Visit baumspage.com for complete results of the 2019 district wrestling championships at Heath High School, Troy High School and Buckeye Local High School.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.