Dragons 4th, Panthers 8th at Gallipolis Invitational

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 3, 2005

GALLIPOLIS - The best brings out the best in the Fairland Dragons.

Fairland's wrestlers gave a strong performance as they finished fourth in the Gallipolis Invitational Thursday.

Belpre won the 13-team field tournament with 84 points followed by host Gallipolis with 59, Waterford 52 and Fairland had 45.

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Jackson was fifth with 41, River Valley and Pt. Pleasant (W.Va.) tied for sixth with 39 points, the Chesapeake Panthers were eighth with 36 point followed by Wahama (W.Va.) with 32, Wellston 21, Vinton County 18, Meigs 11 and Nelsonville-York 7.

"That's the best competition we've seen all year. To come out fourth, I was very proud of the way our wrestlers stepped up and performed," Fairland coach Chuck Wentz said.

The Dragons Tim Layne beat previously unbeaten Paxton of Waterford to win the 152-pound division. Layne is now 21-0 on the season.

Taking second were Michael Evans at 119 and Camron Clark in the 135 class. Evans' only loss was to Chris Reyes of Belpre and Clark's lone setback was to Dale Briner of Waterford. Reyes and Briner were state qualifiers last season.

Finishing third for the Dragons was Chuck Wentz at 103 and Joe Ruggles was fourth in the 189 class.

Fairland's Michael Blatt was 5-0 in the extra 189-pound pool. The Dragons Jeremy Thomas, Tyler Grimmett and Daniel Cardwell all went 3-2.

"Those three started slow and lost a couple of matches early, but they bounced back and wrestled well," coach Wentz said.

The Panthers were led by Thomas Lewis at 112 and Bryan Eldred at 189 as both finished second.

Four of the Panthers were fourth including Tyler Cravins at 119, Lonnie McDonald at 135, Joey Stallo at 140 and Tim Wentz at 171.

Fifth place finishers for Chesapeake were Johnny Warner in the 152 class and Brad Eldred in the second 189 pool.

"It was a good effort but it could have been better," Chesapeake coach Phil Davis said.

Fairland travels to the River Valley Invitational on Saturday. Chesapeake hosts a tri-meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday and visits Nitro, W.Va., Friday and Saturday.