The Wauseon wrestling team seems to be in line to achieve many things this season. With 18 letter winners returning, including five whom have experience competing at state, the Indians have lofty goals set for the season.
“We’re going to have some work to do to make sure we can get all of these quality kids in the line-up in order for us to maximize our potential,” said head coach Mike Ritter. “It may not happen right away, but we need to make sure we continue to work toward that as we head into the State Team Tournament series and the Individual State Tournament. We’re very excited to see what this team can do with all the quality kids we have this year. We’ve been in the State Dual Tournament Final for the last two years, and we’re aiming for a third straight year in the finals. We’d also like to repeat as NWOAL, District Champions, and improve on last year’s third place finish as a team at the Individual State Tournament.”
At the forefront for the Indians are returnees Sandro Ramirez and Hunter Yackee. Ramirez is a two-time state runner-up, while Yackee placed third at 132 pounds a year ago.
Also back are Gavin Ritter (state qualifier), Xavier Torres (state qualifier), Mauricio Barajas (former state qualifier), Alex Sosa (district qualifier), Alex Slattman (district qualifier), Trent Davis (district qualifier), Aaron Harris (league placer), Nolan Ray (district qualifier), Samuel Sosa (district qualifier), Tyler Lange, Tristan Barajas, Ethan Glover, Jarrett Bischoff, Drew Krall, Wyatt Lane, Spencer Martinez and Wes Spadafore.
“We have an extremely experienced and talented team this year,” noted coach Ritter. “Most of our line-up features district and state qualifiers, along with multiple state placers. Our roster numbers are up, which will provide some great depth and competition in the practice room.”
There will also be some new faces looking to help the program in 2017-18.
“We have another good freshmen class coming in that features Junior High State qualifier Damon Molina,” said Ritter of the newcomers. “We also have state runner-up Gage Grunden, who transferred to Wauseon from Defiance.”
However, they will have to replace departed letter winners McKayla Campbell (league champion), Tony Banister (three-time state placer) and Andrew Bailey (state placer).
“Because of the depth and experience on our team, we may be faced with some situations where some very good wrestlers are left out of our starting line-up,” said Ritter on potential weaknesses for the season. “That’s hard as a coach to see that, but a problem any coach would be happy to deal with.”
Wauseon finished atop the Northwest Ohio Athletic League last season and is looking to stay there.
“We look to be in a good position to repeat as NWOAL Champions, but Swanton will also have a very nice team this year,” said Ritter. “I expect Archbold and Liberty Center to have good teams as well. Delta lost a lot to graduation, but still have some very good wrestlers.”
The Indians open the season at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman Tournament Dec. 8-9.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010