VINCENT, Ohio — Numbers often determine the outcome of a wrestling tournament.
The more weight classes a team fills, the better the odds of picking up a victory.
But sometimes, even having more numbers doesn’t assure victory.
Such was the case of the 2012 Southeastern Ohio Athletic League wrestling championships at Warren High School Monday evening. The SEOAL meet was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was postponed until Monday due to inclement weather over the weekend.
The only one of five teams to fill every weight class, the Logan Chieftains had the upper hand going into the meet, but they still needed every point they could earn in head-to-head matches as the Gallia Academy Blue Devils brought the match all the way down to the wire.
In the end, a reversal that led to a pin of Gallia Academy’s Aaron Guissinger by the Chieftain’s Michael Fortner in the 285-pound weight class made the difference as Logan took the league title with 271 points while Gallia Academy had 263.
“It was definitely close. Gallia’s got a great program,” said Logan wrestling coach Noah Straus. “It really came down to our heavyweights.”
Chillicothe finished in third place with 121 points while the host Warren Warriors were fourth with 106 and Jackson rounded out the field with 95 points. Portsmouth, the sixth school in the SEOAL, does not field a wrestling team.
In a tournament ultimately decided by the point spread in one match, both Logan and Gallia had opportunities to take the upper hand.
In the case of the Blue Devils, it was a frustrating end to a night that had aspirations of a league title.
“Our kids for the most part wrestled well,” said Gallia Academy wrestling coach Brent Simms. “Logan did well, but I feel like we gave it away.”
Logan ended the night with four league champions while eight more wrestlers finished second.
Gallia Academy — the three-time reigning SEOAL champion — had more individual league titles with five than the Chieftains, but also had no grapplers in either the 106 or 113 pound weight classes.
The Blue Devils also got just three second place finishes.
“I liked some stuff. I didn’t like some stuff,” Simms said.
The Chieftains picked up wins at 126, 160, 195 and 285 pounds and placed in every one of the weight classes.
Logan had just one third place finish and two fourths to go with their four titles and eight runner-ups.
In the end, every single one of those points mattered.
“All of the kids, even the ones that aren’t starting, played a part in winning this league title,” Straus said.
The win was the ninth SEOAL wrestling title for Logan, as they barely held off the Blue Devils.
“Gallia, they gave a fight. It seems like every year in league they bring their ‘A’ game,” Straus said.
Warren, which filled just nine weight classes, had nearly as many champions with three as the overall champion Chieftains.
“Numbers were down. Other than that I’m really pleased with how they did,” said Warren wrestling coach Neil Brague.
Warren had league champions in Levi Congleton at 106 pounds and Cory Parsons at 113 pounds.
Senior Trace Knotts was the third Warrior to win the league title at 138 pounds. Knotts win over Logan’s Kody Scarberry in the championship round was his 100th career victory.
“I was really happy for Trace Knotts, as a senior going out a league champion,” Brague praised.
The host Warriors also had two third place finishes in the meet, as they tied with Jackson for the fewest number of weight classes filled.
“I’m happy with the way everybody did tonight,” Brague said.
Chillicothe held fourth place over the Warriors by 15 as the Cavaliers had just a single league champion in Jacob Price in the 132-pound weight class.
The Cavaliers, however, also had two runner-ups, two third place finishers and three fourth place finishes to edge the Warriors.
Jackson rounded out the field with 95 points as the Ironmen had a single league champion in Ottie Barr at 152 pounds.
The Ironmen also filled just nine weight classes, and of those nine wrestlers only two are seniors with one junior and six sophomores, giving Jackson a very young team.
“We did about what you could expect out of a team like that,” said Jackson wrestling coach Nate Miller. “We won a few matches along the way.”
Jackson had seven wrestlers earn league placement, but had no wrestler finish above third other than Barr.
In the junior high meet, Logan again claimed the title while Chillicothe was second, Gallia Academy third, Jackson fourth and Warren fifth.
Kevin Pierson is a sports writer for the Marietta Times in Marietta, Ohio.