Another week, another impressive performance out of the Wauseon wrestling team. The Indians advanced 11 matmen to the finals at the Northwest Ohio Athletic League championships Saturday at Swanton, winning seven of those to finish first with a score of 280.5.
“Really happy for our seniors to go out as league champions,” said Wauseon coach Mike Ritter on winning the league. “They’ve had a really hectic schedule the last three, four weeks, and this kind of helps us prepare for this event. And this event helps us prepare for the next three weeks in the individual state tournament process. We’ve got to find a way to keep these guys fresh. We’ve got to find a way to keep them at a peak level.”
It was the second straight league title for the Indians and 13th in program history.
Taking second was Archbold, with 171.5 points; Delta was third with 167, and Liberty Center fourth at 156. Swanton (141.5), Montpelier (53), Patrick Henry (40), Evergreen (33), and Bryan (26) rounded out the top eight.
The highlight of the tournament for Wauseon was senior Sandro Ramirez (152), who won his fourth league championship. He also got his 180th career victory, to become the winningest wrestler in school history.
Ramirez got a 16-6 major decision over Chase Moore of Swanton in the 152-pound final.
“He’s meant a lot to our program. And he has done some tremendous things,” noted Ritter. “Super proud that I’ve been a part of that, and he’s been a part of our program. He’s hopefully got a lot more wins to add to that career total. You know, four-time league champions don’t come around very often.”
Also claiming titles for the Indians were Gavin Ritter at 113 pounds, Alex Slattman (120), Hunter Yackee (132), Mauricio Barajas (138), Xavier Torres (160), and Trent Davis (182).
Taking second were Nolan Ray (126), Gage Grunden (145), Aaron Harris (195), and Alex Sosa (285).
“Having 11 guys in the finals is something we’re really proud of,” said Coach Ritter. “And even the guys that didn’t win wrestled their hearts out. Those guys that won their matches, they really contributed a whole lot to our overall team trophy. So, really happy for those guys and real proud of them.”
Getting third for Wauseon were Damon Molina (106) and Samuel Sosa (220), while Wyatt Lane (170) added a fifth place finish.
In a bit of a shock even to their coach, Archbold as a team took league runner-up honors.
“It is kind of a surprise to us even really,” said Coach Brian Becher. “We lost dual meets to Swanton, Delta, Wauseon. So to come away with second place (in the league), it gives a good, positive feeling going into the sectional tournament. Hopefully, we build on that a little bit.”
The Blue Streaks had three make the finals with one league champion.
At 145 pounds, Gavin Grime held off Grunden for a 3-2 victory.
“Obviously a big win for Gavin,” stated Becher. “Against a returning state runner-up, who’s a lot better athlete than Gavin. He (Grime) wrestled a great match strategy-wise. Nice for him going in with a lot of momentum now for the postseason.”
Runner-up for Archbold were Zach Rocha at 132 pounds and Mason Babcock at 182 pounds.
Taking third were Andrew Francis (120), Colton Soles (152), Kasyn Schaffner (170) and Anthony Gonzalez (285); Shane Eicher (113), Carson Meyer (160), and Gibson Burkholder (195) took fourth; while Brennan Short (138) and Trevor Short (220) placed fifth.
Juan Garcia (126) added a sixth place finish for the Streaks.
Delta finished with three league champions to help them take third overall.
Freshman Zack Mattin got them started by pinning Liberty Center’s Cameron Henneman in 57 seconds to win the 106-pound title. The elder Mattin, brother Cole, won his third straight league title with a 11-9 decision over Ray at 126 pounds.
Delta’s Dylan Rogers made it back-to-back league crowns when he defeated Harris 9-1 at 195 pounds.
Runners-up for the Panthers were Dawson Swicegood (138), J.D. Osborn (170) and Dalton Richard (220), while Gabe Meyer placed third (113). Jayce Helminiak (120) and Max Hoffman (145) each finished fourth.
Kaleb Barnes (132) took fifth for the Panthers over Swanton’s Gage Pachlhofer who bowed out of the tournament with an injury.
Of their four wrestlers in the finals, Swanton notched just one league champion. That came to heavyweight Tommy Lytle who defeated Alex Sosa 3-1 in overtime.
“Last time that they’ll ever wrestle each other in high school, so, a good opportunity for him (Lytle) to get the win for the league championship,” said Swanton coach Greg Hallett. “It was a good way to end the tournament.”
Runners-up for the Bulldogs were Zach Schaller at 120 pounds, Chase Moore (152), and Ryan Marvin (160). They had a pair of third place finishers in Trevor Schaller (126) and Crew Oberheim (195), while Zack Leahey (170) and Greg Wilson (220) took fourth.
Zeth Zawodni (113) and Connor Cass (182) added fifth place finishes.
Evergreen’s best finish came from Brian Floyd who defeated Carson Meyer of Archbold 6-1 to take third at 160 pounds.
Archbold, Delta, Evergreen and Swanton will all compete in the Division III sectional tournament at Archbold this Friday and Saturday. Wauseon is at the Division II sectional tournament at Napoleon.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010
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