COLUMBUS – The Wauseon wrestling team brought home some hardware over the weekend, running through the competition at the Division II State Dual Wrestling Tournament Sunday at St. John Arena in Columbus to win the program’s first team title.
It was a tournament that saw them set a Division II state tournament record for points scored in a dual when they defeated Miami Trace 72-3 in the quarterfinal. The Indians then bested Canfield 38-33 in the semifinal, and won 10 of the last 11 matches to defeat Mentor Lake Catholic 48-12 in the championship.
“This is unreal,” said senior Sandro Ramirez on the emotions of winning state. “We’ve been working for this since our freshman year. We took second the past two years. Going into this season, this is our last goal as a team.”
“We had to make some adjustments to our lineup through this whole process to get what we would consider our best lineup in place,” said head coach Mike Ritter on what it took to get it done. “Some of these guys had to wrestle in weight classes where they’re not really comfortable with. They did it and it paid off in the end. I think that is the true purpose of this tournament, is to bring us together as a team.”
The last outright loss the Indians had in the final came when Hunter Ryan of Lake Catholic worked a 7-1 decision against Wauseon’s Alex Slattman at 120 pounds. Their only blemish after that was a forfeit at 160 pounds to Kevon Freeman.
Down 7-3 after the first three matches, the Indians were able to pull away with the help of three major decisions from 126 pounds through 152 pounds. Hunter Yackee won 12-3 at 132 pounds, Jarrett Bischoff (138) blanked Lake Catholic’s Tyler Renick 10-0, and Ramirez bested McKeon 15-5.
Also in that stretch, Wauseon’s Nolan Ray (126) scored two points with just seconds remaining to defeat Conor McCrone 10-8, while Gage Grunden (145) defeated Dakota Ryan 5-2.
After the forfeit at 160, the Indians got a 4-2 decision for Xavier Torres at 170 pounds, then finished with a myriad of pins. First Trent Davis (182) turned over Matt Valentino of Lake Catholic, Aaron Harris (195) pinned Noah Wray in just 24 seconds, and Samuel Sosa (220) followed with a fall in 56 seconds over Cade Acitelli.
The Cougars then conceded, forfeiting at 285 pounds to make it official.
“We knew we had to kind of withstand their middle weight classes; they are really good,” said Ritter of Lake Catholic. “They’ve got a two-time state champ (Freeman) in the middle of their lineup, and we forfeited to him. Not necessarily what we like to do, but we had to do what was best for our team. We had to maneuver our weight classes around just to make sure we maximized our points. And that’s just the way it worked out. We knew if we could withstand those middle weight classes, we had a great chance in the upper weights. It really showed.”
If the bracket for Division II seemed a little different, it is probably because it was absent perennial state power St. Paris Graham, who elected to compete in Division I after winning the D-II title every year since the tournament began back in 2013. Graham made good on its move, winning the D-I crown by besting Lakewood St. Edward 28-23 in the state final.
“It was just wide open,” said Ritter, referring to the Division II tournament. “Graham is a great team, and had they been in Division II, who knows if we would have been in this same position. I don’t know that we can really beat those guys. But, I am just happy for our guys. For what they’ve been through, and the sacrifices they made to put ourselves in this position to take home the team title.”
For seniors Ramirez and Yackee, it is a bittersweet ending to the team portion of the schedule. They will now look to win a state individual title next month.
“It is a sad, but awesome feeling,” stated Ramirez. “Because, this is the last dual with my brothers. I’m glad we finished it on top.”
“I’ve been with this dude (arm around Ramirez) since I was like six years old,” added Yackee. “Same with this team. We’ve been grinding together since we were six years old, back when we were little kids. Just to finally say we are state champs, that’s just unbelievable.”
The Indians lost just one match while setting a record for points scored in their 69-point trouncing of Washington Courthouse Miami Trace in the quarterfinal.
In the semifinal, they dropped the opening match as Canfield’s Ethan Fletcher defeated Damon Molina 10-1 at 106 pounds.
However, it was all Indians from there.
They won the next eight matches, including pins by Slattman (120), Yackee (132), Mauricio Barajas (145) and Ramirez (160), which helped them get out to a 38-4 lead. Another big point getter was Gavin Ritter’s 19-2 technical fall victory at 113 pounds over Ronald Angelilli of Canfield.
The dual would get chippy, and Canfield was later deducted a point for unsportsmanlike conduct. Because of this, and with the match in hand, Wauseon forfeited the final five matches.
D-II State Dual Tournament
Wauseon 72, Miami Trace 3
106 – Damon Molina (W) pinned Titus Lehr, :13; 113 – Gavin Ritter (W) pinned Graham Carson, 1:30; 120 – Alex Slattman (W) tech. fall Storm Duffy, 16-0; 126 – Nolan Ray (W) pinned McCale Callahan, 4:15; 132 – Hunter Yackee (W) pinned Wes Gandee, 1:21; 138 – Jarrett Bischoff (W) tech. fall Dawson Wallace, 15-0; 145 – Mauricio Barajas (W) pinned Jaymon Flaugher, 1:15; 152 – Gage Grunden (W) pinned Dylan Arnold, :28; 160 – Sandro Ramirez (W) tech. fall James Munro, 18-3; 170 – Jacob Tinkler (MT) dec. Wyatt Lane, 8-1; 182 – Trent Davis (W) pinned Jack Anders, 4:31; 195 – Aaron Harris (W) pinned David Tyndall, :57; 220 – Sammy Sosa (W) dec. Dalton Bartley, 4-3 (tiebreaker); 285 – Alex Sosa (W) won by forfeit.
Wauseon 38, Canfield 33
106 – Ethan Fletcher (C) major dec. Damon Molina (W), 10-1; 113 – Gavin Ritter (W) tech. fall Ronald Angelilli, 19-2; 120 – Alex Slattman (W) pinned Nick Barber, 1:37; 126 – Nolan Ray (W) dec. McCoy Watkins, 11-4; 132 – Hunter Yackee (W) pinned Aidan Burcsak, 2:39; 138 – Jarrett Bischoff (W) dec. Eric El-Hayek, 4-2; 145 – Mauricio Barajas (W) pinned Giovanni Dunlap, 2:39; 152 – Gage Grunden (W) dec. David Reinhart, 8-6; 160 – Sandro Ramirez (W) pinned Ben Cutrer, :32; 170 – Anthony D’Alesio (C) won by forfeit; 182 – David Crawford (C) won by forfeit; 195 – Nick Crawford (C) won by forfeit; 220 – Tyler Stein (C) won by forfeit; 285 – Daniel Kapalko (C) won by forfeit.
Wauseon 48, Lake Catholic 12
106- Nicholas Coreno (LC) md. Damon Molina (W), 10-2. 113- Gavin Ritter (W) d. Anthony Trivisono (LC), 8-2. 120- Hunter Ryan (LC) d. Alex Slattman (W), 7-1. 126- Nolan Ray (W) d. Conor McCrone (LC), 10-8. 132- Hunter Yackee (W) md. Tommy Frasier (LC), 12-3. 138- Jarrett Bischoff (W) md. Tyler Renick (LC), 10-0. 145- Gage Grunden (W) d. Dakota Ryan (LC), 5-2. 152- Sandro Ramirez (W) md. Luke McKeon (LC), 15-5. 160- Kevon Freeman (LC), forfeit. 170- Xavier Torres (W) d. Cole Hivnor (LC), 4-2. 182- Trent Davis (W) p. Matt Valentino (LC), 1:57. 195- Aaron Harris (W) p. Noah Wray (LC), 0:24. 220- Samuel Sosa (W) p. Cade Acitelli (LC), 0:56. 285- Alex Sosa (W), forfeit.
Swanton bounced in semis
For the second year in a row, Swanton competed in the Division III tournament. After falling in the quarterfinal in 2017, this time the Bulldogs won a dual, 39-31, in the quarterfinal over Nelsonville-York, before falling to Massilon Tuslaw 34-22 in the semifinal.
“We knew it was gonna be anywhere from plus or minus just a handful of points,” said Swanton coach Greg Hallett on the loss to Tuslaw. “So, we knew it was gonna come down to the wire. Every point matters.”
The Dogs trailed just 28-22 ahead of the 220-pound bout between Greg Wilson and Crawford Hamrick of Tuslaw. Wilson tied up the match late in the third period but fell 6-4 in overtime.
Although it did not matter, Brayden Phillips of Tuslaw then added a 3-1 overtime win over Swanton’s Tommy Lytle at 285 pounds.
However, Lytle was the hero in the opener with Nelsonville-York.
The Bulldog lead was just 33-31 going into the final match, so any win for the Buckeyes would put them on top. But Lytle left nothing to chance, pinning Chris Yinger in 50 seconds.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010