WHEELING, WV —  Union Local’s Bobby Stewart is an OVAC champion.
After close calls the last two years,  Stewart climbed to the top of the podium Saturday by capturing the 145-pound division at the 634d OVAC Ron Mauck Wrestling Championships at WesBanco Arena.
Stewart completed his championshp run with a 4-2 decision over top-seeded Dakota Goff of Steubenville in the title bout. The second-seeded Stewart, who went 5-0 for the weekend, improved his record to 30-3 for the season.
To reach the finals, Stewart scored a 16-0 tech fall over Ronald Chico of Linsly; pinned TJ Love of Meadowbrook in 2:29; gained a 15-0 tech fall against Logan Delong of St. Clairsville; and decisioned Brett Kahl of Shadyside, 5-2.
Stewart had placed second in the OVAC tourney as a sophomore and third as a junior.
UL teammate Matt McFarland and Barnesville’s Hobie Howiler were OVAC runner-ups.
The second-seeded McFarland also met a Steubenville wrestler in the finals, falling by a 6-2 score to top-seeded Shawn Livingston in the 170-pound title match.
McFarland’s road to the finals included a pin of Edison’s August Glenn; a pin of Steubenville Catholic’s Hayden Daley; a pin of Wer’s Nathan Fields and a 14-1 decision over University’s Adam Frisco.
His 4-1 OVAC tourney boosts his season record to 18-3.
Barnesville’s Howiler reached the finals in the 152-pound weight class, winding up with a runner-up finish via a 5-1 setback to Wheeling Park’s John Nash in the title match.
To reach the finals, Howiler pinned Travis Shore of Steubenville Catholic in 35 seconds; pinned Drew Bigler of Toronto in 37 seconds; pinned Devin Eakle of Indian Creek in 19 seconds; and scored a 7-3 decision of John Nash of Wheeling Park.
This marked the fourth time Howiler, who was 4-1 this week and now stands 23-2 for the year, earned an OVAC place, having finished third as a freshman, fifth as a sophomore and fourth as a junior.
Barnesville and Union Local both had a fourth place finisher.
Junior Caide Bunfill of Barnesville was fourth at 195, losing a 5-2 decision to Drew Lowery of Toronto in the consolation final. Bunfill, 3-2 for the weekend, is now 26-4.
-Junior Devin Crum of Union Local took fourth place at 152 pounds, dropping a 10-0 major decision to second-seeded Alex Shuman of Oak Glen in his final consolation match. He went 4-2 for the week and is now 20-12.
Team-wise,  Parkersburg South blitzed the field to capture its third straight overall title and its sixth in seven years.
Steubenville finished second in the overall standings while Shadyside, Madonna and University rounded out the top five.
South, of course, was also the Class 5A winner - its seventh consecutive “big school” crown. Indian Creek claimed the championship in Class 4A; Magnolia was the 3A winner and Shadyside prevailed in the 1A/2A race.
Barnesville finished as the Class 3A runner-up and Union Local was second in Class 4A.
TAKEDOWNS
- A total of 40 schools and some 445 wrestlers participated in the event, with nearly 900 bouts taking place.
-A host of special awards were presented throughout the tournament highlighted by Jim Crosier, the former Union Local High wrestling coach and a long-time official, being named Mr. Mat.
Other awards included Ed “Buzz” Evans, the Larry Deaton Official of the Year Award; Chris Morris of John MArshall, the Syd Stolz Memorial Award; Robb Bauer of Wheeling, the Director’s Award; Kevin Swisher of Morgantown, the Junior High Coach of the Year Award; University High, the Project Best Bob Sadler Sportsmanship Award; Chris Morris, the Syd Stolz Memorial Award; Eric McKeever of Magnolia, the Assistant Varsity Coach of the Year Award; and the Varsity Coaches of the Year Award - Ray Pernell of Madona (1A), Sean Grinch of Shadyside (2A), Brian Valentine of Linsly (3A), Jordan Williams of Beaver Local (4A) and Donna Dixon of Parkersburg South (5A).
- Steubenville’s Tariq Wilson became the eighth four-time OVAC champion by winning the 126-pound division.
- Six of the seven previous four-time OVAC champions were on hand Saturday, including Mark Emmerling of East Liverpool; Kelly Shields of Edison; Adam Hoppel of Beaver Local; Clay Tucker of Martins Ferry; Abby Rush of Wheeling Park and Zach Schuller of St. Clairsville. Only legendary Bobby Douglas (Bridgeport), the first four-time champ, was unable to attend.