Grapplers fill the mats at WUHS

Something completely different filled the gymnasium at West Union High School on Sunday, Jan. 7 as the Ohio Valley Wrestling Club hosted the first-ever all day wrestling tournament in the county.


OVWC hosts eight team tourney – 

By Mark Carpenter – 

And now for something completely different.  Some may recognize that phrase as a Monty Python tag line, but last Sunday morning and afternoon, something completely different filled the gymnasium at West Union High School.  History was made as the first-ever wrestling tournament held in Adams County came to WUHS, featuring wrestlers from first grade through sixth grade from the host school district, plus Batavia, Bethel-Tate, CNE, New Richmond, Western Brown, Williamsburg, and West Clermont.
The gymnasiums was full with excited parents, wrestlers, and coaches, to see the brainchild of West Union faculty member Michael Felts, a former wrestler himself, and the man who has spearheaded the drive to bring the sport to Adams county.
“This tournaments actually came about in a number of different ways,” said Felts.  “First, we limit our young wrestlers to just two dual matches and one tournament, preferring to get them quality practice time to learn the sport before pushing competition on them.  When we saw how well this group of kids was progressing, we looked at the schedule and saw the opportunity to host a home meet and we decided to try a small tournament with some local schools.”
“We knew today would be a great opportunity to showcase what this team (known as the Ohio Valley Wrestling Club) has become in the last four years to the public, the school, and the administration.”
Hosting a wrestling tournament is a monumental undertaking, but Felts says that the day went perfectly.
“The day was successful all around,” he said.  “Our kids got in some great competition, they wrestled very hard, and showed great heart.  All of them were able to get in three of four matches and each of our kids placed in the top four of their weight class and we even had several wrestlers win their class.  This tournament could not have been successful without the help of some great parents and friends of the sport and I want to thank each and every one of them.”

Coach Michael Felts delivers instruction to a pair of his young wrestlers during Sunday’s meet at West Union High School.

“My hope and dream for the sport of wrestling at WUHS is for it to become another school-sponsored OHSAA winter sport and to be the leader in bringing wrestling to all the Adams County schools,” continued Felts.  “The sport will give students an opportunity to be involved in a sport like no other and it gives them an athletic outlet other than basketball.  The sport has changed my life and I know it can do the same for the students of our community.”
The administration, Superintendent (Richard) Seas, and I have been talking about the possibility of introducing wrestling as another winter sport.  We have been working hard to lay out a plan of action to one day bring wrestling to our community.  I feel very confident that the hard work these young men and women have put in will become something special very soon.  I have asked for the opportunity to speak to the Board of Education about adopting the sport and will do that at the February meeting.”
As far as the West Union athletes who competed in Sunday’s tournament, here are their results: Tournament Champions- Braylen Reeves, Jameson Burns, D.J. Rothwell, Jadon Spencer, Ethan Cantrell, Colton Abner, and Payton Abner; Weight Class Runner-Ups- Kelden Copas, Braylon Rickett, Jesse Alonso, and Darian Smith; Third Place Winners- Jasper Walker, Zack Bess, Bryson Francis, Ethan Liston, Shawna Thatcher, Brylee Mills, Kyler Grooms, Keegan Snyder, Corbin Felts, and Lane Marshall: Fourth Place Winners: Michael Colvin, Branson Pritchett, Ryken Copas, Owen Davis, Josh Tener, and Dominic Weir; Fifth Place Winner- J.R. Liston.
If you are a wrestling fan or just curious about seeing something different, the OVWC will host another home meet on Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. at WUHS.  Admission is free.