IT IS has blossomed into a rite of winter. It is also one almost always accompanied by nasty wintry weather.
The 59th edition of the Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament is currently under way at Wheeling's WesBanco Arena. First-round action commenced Thursday night following a grand Olympic-style opening ceremony and will continue through Saturday night's finals.
The three-day wrestling extravaganza is one of the pinnacles of the mat season, along with the respective Ohio and West Virginia state tournaments. The Ron Mauck tourney is a grueling test of a participant's physical and mental resolve.
To emerge as a champion, a grappler must prevail five successive times against some quality foes. Each eventual kingpin (14 in all) will have successfully displayed their championship mettle.
The tournament brings together 39 conference members, meshing small schools with big. That is one of the beauties of the event, giving David a spectacular forum to possibly slay Goliath.
Parkersburg South is one of the pre-tournament favorites, as well it should.
The Wood County-based Patriots are relative newcomers to the OVAC, but have pocketed the overall team title in their initial two forays in the event. South is no championship lock this year as it will be challenged by several battled-tested teams, with Steubenville, on paper, the strongest competitor.
The Ron Mauck Tournament operates seamlessly as the wrestling fraternity is a tight-knit and passionate collection of mat diehards. They all selflessly chip in with their respective strengths for the good of the cause.
We commend all the wrestlers and coaches competing this weekend, wishing them best of luck and health.
We also sing the praises of the impressive wrestling family which elevates this tournament to elite status.