NORWALK – Wauseon came 8.5 points shy of a district wrestling title as they finished with three individual champions and a runner-up finisher during the finals Saturday at Norwalk.
The Indians were runner-up in the team standings with 140.5 points. Sandusky Perkins won the tournament with 149 points.
“As a team, I was really surprised that we finished as district runner-up, and only 10 points from a district title,” said head coach Mike Ritter. “We had 4 guys with season ending injuries, including former state placer Jarrett Bischoff and former state qualifier Trent Davis who could’ve made a huge difference in the team race and (been) additional state qualifiers.”
For Gavin Ritter at 120 pounds, he picked up two pins to reach the semifinal. He then defeated Jimmy Balazy of Padua Franciscan 5-1 in the semifinal. Ritter closed by edging Payton Burgdorf of Firelands, 7-6, to win the title.
One weight class up, Nolan Ray defeated Andrew Branson of Columbian 8-6 in his first match, then won 18-7 over David Ocasio of Brookside. He ended strong, pinning Anthony Ashley of Buckeye and shutting out Matt Kaufmann of Fairview Park Fairview 14-0 for the title at 126 pounds.
At 170 pounds, Xavier Torres opened with three straight pins. In the championship, he nipped Lucas Salmon of Perkins 5-4.
Damon Molina won 21-4 over Eric Saddler of Brookside, defeated J.R. Carman of Clear Fork 16-4, and blanked Logan Cravatas of Buckeye 9-0 to reach the 106 pound title match. He lost by a 4-0 decision to Max Oprzadek of Perkins in the final.
“Very happy for the four guys that qualified,” said coach Ritter. “They wrestled really well all weekend, and earned their spot at the state tournament by being district finalists.
“Gavin Ritter and Xavier Torres completed their final district tournament as 3-time district champs and Nolan Ray won his second district title as a Junior. Really proud of sophomore Damon Molina for earning his first trip to state as a district runner-up.”
Wauseon added more placements from Connor Twigg at 132 pounds, Aaron Harris (220) and Samuel Sosa (285).
Harris and Sosa each placed fifth by picking up pins. At 220 pounds, Harris pinned Dylan Adkins of Bellevue while Sosa turned over Jonah Schlegel of Defiance at heavyweight. Twigg fell 7-6 to Cameron Pollard of Otsego to finish sixth.
“We had three guys who lost very close matches in the ‘go to’ round. We could very easily had seven state qualifiers,” said Ritter. “Harris and Sosa went on to win their fifth place match to finish their regular season as state alternates. Very proud of how freshman Connor Twigg has progressed this year. He really improved dramatically over the course of the year.”
Team Scores (top 10)
1. Perkins 149.0; 2. Wauseon 140.5; 3. Norwalk 124.0; 4. Columbian 95.0; 5. Bellevue 91.5; 6. Sandusky 91.0; 7. Padua Franciscan 85.5; 8. Wapakoneta 85.0; 9. Otsego 62.5; 10. Bowling Green 62.0.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010