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With five wrestlers finishing in the top four, Malvern placed fourth this past weekend at the 2017 Inter-Valley Conference Championships.
"Although we did not have a champion, every student-athlete placed for us and earned us valuable team points to finish ahead of Newcomerstown and Tusky Central," commented Head Coach Cameron Ruff. "We finished fourth in the IVC for the second straight year, which is a strong building block. We're still striving to climb another spot in the rankings.
"I am proud of these guys for wrestling tough and displaying great sportsmanship."
Tyler Banta went 2-1 on the day to finish second at 106.
The freshman won his first two matches, pinning Devin Petitte of Garaway at 2:57 and recording a tech fall against Matt Mercier of Tusky Central.
In the final round, Banta lost to Gavin Weaver of Newcomerstown 15-2.
"Tyler got revenge on Tusky Central after losing to him earlier in the season," noted Coach Ruff. "Tyler has improved so much in the last three months and he's wrestling well at the right time as we head into sectionals."
Josh Gastin finished second at 120.
In his only match of the tournament, Gastin was beaten by Garaway's Ben Koshmider 7-5.
"Josh had a tough match with Garaway," commented Coach Ruff. "Josh had beaten him soundly earlier in the year, but he wouldn't allow Josh to use his strengths against him. It turned out to be one heck of a match. Josh wrestled well and showed some positives. His focus is now on sectionals."
Ricky Shundry was third at 170, and fourths went to Andrew Norton at 152 and Braden Butcher at 145.
"Ricky wrestled better than he had against the same opponents and was able to earn some points on the mat," stated Coach Ruff. "Braden earned a nice pin against Tusky Central and Andrew Norton has improved his offense and earned a takedown against Garaway."
Host Garaway won the league title with 455 points.
Ridgewood was second with 380, followed by Sandy Valley with 238, Malvern with 124, Newcomerstown with 114, and Tusky Central with 90.
Ridgewood's Colton Bethel received the Most Valuable Wrestler Award, and Garaway's Sedric Gerber received Coach of the Year honors.
Malvern will compete in the Division III East Sectional Tournament at Sandy Valley this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24-25. Teams competing are Sandy Valley, Garaway, Ridgewood, Caldwell, Harrison Central, Edison, Shenandoah, Newcomerstown, Toronto, Tusky Valley and Tusky Central.
The top four individuals in each weight class will advance to the district tournament at Coshocton High School March 3-4.