Wauseon wrestling returns a bevy of grapplers from a team that was sectional and district champions, was runner-up at the state dual tournament, and fifth at the state individual tournament last season. They were also second in the league behind the Delta Panthers.
“We were a pretty good team by the end of the season last year, and I think we’re a better team now and should continue to get better as the season goes along,” said head coach Mike Ritter. “We should be a lot more balanced with quality depth. I like what the future holds too with some good wrestlers in our junior high program and youth system. Our line-up is pretty experienced for being so young, so our expectations are pretty high again this year.”
The Indians return a trio of wrestlers who competed at state in 2015-16.
“We return two state runners-up (senior Tony Banister and junior Sandro Ramirez), in addition to (two-time) state qualifier Hunter Yackee, former state qualifier Mauricio Barajas, and state alternates Gavin Ritter and Alex Slattman,” said Ritter when addressing the strengths of his team. “Our numbers and quality of depth is up, which I feel will make us an even better team from last year. This is a very hardworking group with a great work ethic that is very driven to achieve team and individual goals.”
Banister is also a three-time league champion and two-time state placer. Ramirez is a two-time league champion, district champion and state placer.
Also back for the Indians are McKayla Campbell (league placer, district qualifier), Andrew Bailey (league placer, district qualifier), Alex Sosa (district qualifier), Tyler Lange (league placer), Xavier Torres (league placer, district qualifier), Trent Davis (league placer) and Aaron Harris (league placer).
Ritter is confident in his newcomers to the lineup as well.
“We have another good freshman class coming in that features junior high state placers Nolan Ray and Sammy Sosa, and junior high state qualifiers Jarrett Bischoff and Wes Spadafore,” he said.
They will look to replace the production left behind by departed letter winners Tre Campbell (league placer, district champion, state placer), Gage Campbell (league placer, district qualifier), and Derek Schuette (league placer, state alternate).
“Our increased numbers may leave some quality wrestlers out of the starting lineup,” said Ritter of his team’s weaknesses. “That’s a good problem to have, but we’d like to be able to get our best lineup on the mat.”
Ritter expects the NWOAL to be competitive once again.
“It’s going to be a pretty wide open race in the NWOAL,” he said of the league. “The last 8 years, we’ve been NWOAL champs four times and runner-up four times. I still see ourselves, Archbold and Delta as the top three teams. Swanton should also be in that mix. However, all the teams in the league have been improving steadily over the last several years.”
Wauseon begins their season at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman Tournament on Friday, Dec. 9.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010