ALBANY, Ohio — The Raiders, once again, are better by a record-setting half-dozen.
That’s because River Valley, for the second consecutive season, advanced a school-record six wrestlers to the Division III district wrestling meet — from Friday and Saturday’s sectional championships at Alexander High School.
The Raiders racked up a pair of sectional titles —along with a pair of runner-ups and a pair of fourth-place finishes.
A seventh Raider — senior Robert Drummond in the heavyweight division — finished fifth in that weight class and is an alternate to the district meet.
Those wrestlers which place in the top four of their weight class at the sectional meet qualify for the Division III district meet, which will be held at Coshocton High School this weekend (March 3 and 4).
Half of River Valley’s six district qualifiers are repeat qualifiers from a year ago — sophomore Jacob Edwards, sophomore Eric Weber and junior Jeremiah Dobbins.
As a team, the Raiders finished fourth out of 20 total clubs at the Alexander sectional, amassing 146 points and trailing third-place Zane Trace (186) by only 40.
Nelsonville-York nudged Westfall by a mere half-point, 188.5 to 188, for the team championship.
The first-year South Gallia Rebels, which ended up 11th with 45 points, recorded three sectional placers to complete their first season.
The Eastern Eagles, a second-year wrestling program, posted 18 points to take 17th — and did not have any placers within the top six.
Speaking of six, the Raiders return that many grapplers to the district tournament for the second straight season.
Dobbins captured the championship in the 138-pound weight class, while sophomore Joseph Burns did the same at 120 pounds.
Dobbins decisioned James Wallace of Alexander 1-0 in the championship bout, improving his season record to now 40-8.
Prior to decisioning Wallace, he pinned Blaine Cremeans of Fairland in exactly a minute in the opening round, before pinning Shawn Salisbury of Huntington in the second period in the quarterfinals.
He then decisioned Justen Anderson of Wellston 6-4 in the semifinals.
A year ago, Dobbins qualified for the district meet at 132 pounds.
Burns, in pinning Alex Brown of Zane Trace in a minute and five seconds for the 120-pound championship, raised his record to 31-14.
He pinned Noah Davis of Paint Valley in 5:52 in the quarterfinals, before needing exactly three fewer minutes to pin Wes Radford of Alexander in the semifinals.
Edwards advanced to the 113-pound district round for the second straight season, as he was the runner-up.
He fell 15-0 to Zane Trace’s Jordan Hoselton in a technical-fall loss in the championship tilt, giving him a season record of 40-4.
Edwards earned a bye in the quarterfinals, then pinned Nevin Netherton of Westfall in a minute and 51 seconds in the semifinal match.
Weber was the runner-up at 160 pounds — a year after qualifying for the district at 170.
He lost his title match to Tyler Speelman of Nelsonville-York, leaving him with a season mark of 35-12.
He opened his competition by pinning Seth Koon of Federal Hocking in a minute and 25 seconds, then needed just 26 seconds to pin Shannon Robar of Crooksville in the quarterfinals.
Weber then pinned Brendan Johnson of Zane Trace in the second period of the semifinal dual.
Two Raiders finished fourth to advance —senior Grant Gilmore (33-14) at 170 pounds and junior Tyson Still (9-6) at 195 pounds.
South Gallia’s three placers were senior David Kuhn at 220 pounds and freshman Justin Butler at 145 pounds, and sophomore Chad Bostic at 170 pounds.
Kuhn and Butler both finished fifth, while Bostic secured sixth.
Kuhn concluded his only season with the Rebels with an 18-11 mark.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106