Wauseon collected its fourth straight Northwest Ohio Athletic League wrestling title Saturday in Archbold, further cementing their status as the class of the league.
It was the program’s 8th title in 12 years as well.
Coach Mike Ritter doesn’t see the run of success stopping here, either, already looking ahead to next year upon completion of the 2019-20 league season Saturday.
“We’ve had a pretty good run and we’d like to continue that,” he said. “We got some good kids coming back. There’s no reason to think that we couldn’t do it (win the league) again next year.”
They won with a score of 174.5, Liberty Center took runner-up with 154 points, Delta third at 145.5, and Archbold fourth at 116.5.
The Indians garnered three individual champions and had 11 placers in all.
Their most exciting championship win came at heavyweight where senior Sammy Sosa defeated junior Brodie Stevens of Swanton 3-2 in an ultimate tie breaker.
“There’s a long history of Wauseon versus Swanton heavyweights, and that one lived up to every bit of the other ones,” said Ritter of the match. “Brodie’s a really good wrestler and Sammy is also. So, happy it went in our favor but that was really kind of a fun way to end the league tournament today.”
Wauseon’s first title came from senior Nolan Ray at 126 pounds. He received a bye to the semifinal where he pinned Landon Brigle of Montpelier in 1:12. He held off Gabe Meyer of Delta in the final, 9-6.
“He missed some time in the middle of the season due to an injury. But he’s really come back strong and is wrestling really well. I can’t wait to see what happens with him over the next four weeks in the state tournament process,” said Ritter of Ray’s league performance.
The Indians earned somewhat of an upset in their title at 145 pounds. Taking on senior and returning state qualifier, Brennan Short of Archbold, sophomore Connor Twigg won by a 3-0 shutout.
“We had a good game plan going in,” said Ritter of Twigg’s match with Short. “We executed, we scrambled well. That one was a really nice win for us. A really good confidence builder I think for Twigg, because he knows that Brennan’s a really good wrestler. So that should help him kind of propel himself to next week and the sectional.”
Earning runner-up honors for the Indians were Collin Twigg at 106 pounds, Damon Molina (113), Wyatt Lane (170) and Wes Spadafore (220). Other placers were Zaden Torres (120, 3rd), Connor Nagel (132, 4th), Lawson Grime (138, 3rd) and Ethan Glover (152, 3rd).
Delta took home a pair of titles and had 10 total placers.
Defending state champion, junior Zack Mattin, was victorious at 113 pounds.
Mattin received a bye to the semifinal where he won by a 20-4 technical fall over Wyatt Armstrong of Archbold. In the 113-pound final, he pinned Molina of Wauseon in 1:48.
Sophomore Austin Kohlhofer won the Panthers’ other title, coming at 220 pounds. His first match came in the semifinal as he pinned Kyle Huffman of Liberty Center in 3:20. He then won by pin in 2:40 versus Spadafore for the championship.
Runners-up for the Panthers were Carson Chiesa at 120 pounds, Meyer (126), Jayce Helminiak (138), Kaleb Barnes (152) and Max Hoffman (182).
Other Panther placers were Rylee Hanefeld (106, 3rd), Dakota Sintobin (145, 4th) and Lucas Jones (160, 4th).
Archbold also had a pair of champions. Senior Shane Eicher won the 120-pound title while junior Carson Meyer was the victor at 182 pounds.
Eicher pinned Swanton’s Kameron Maxfield in 45 seconds in the quarterfinal, then edged Torres of Wauseon 3-2. He earned a 6-4 win over Chiesa in the title match.
After taking a bye in the opening round, Meyer won by a disqualification to Ian Saunders of Swanton in the semifinal. He took the championship 4-3 over Hoffman.
Runner-up for the Blue Streaks were Juan Garcia at 132 pounds and the aforementioned Short at 145 pounds. They also got placements from Armstrong (113, 4th), Andrew Francis (126, 3rd), Josh Nofzinger (152, 4th), John Yoder (170, 4th) and Hayden Dickman (220, 3rd).
Swanton had a pair of champions, one runner-up finish, and four total placers.
Victorious Bulldogs were senior Tyler Gowing at 152 pounds and senior Xavier Wiemken at 170 pounds.
Gowing won by pin over Winston Nichols of Montpelier and Nofzinger in his first two matches. From there he advanced to the final, downing Barnes by a 7-2 decision.
Wiemken pinned his way to the final against Nate Jokinen of Delta and Yoder. He did the same against Lane in the title match, turning him over in 3:03.
Despite Stevens’ loss, Swanton coach Ernie Ruiz won’t let it deter him heading into the postseason.
“The only kids he’s lost to are like state-ranked kids from Division I, II and III,” said Ruiz. “I thought we could have won that (the match versus Sosa). We got kind of a call that didn’t go our way. I think that match, on another day we could win that match. So just work hard, keep on working hard in the room and hopefully we’ll get that.”
Cody DeKoeyer was Swanton’s other placer, taking fourth at 138 pounds.
Evergreen had a pair make the finals with junior Logan York winning the 195-pound title.
Following a first round bye, York topped Jack Shema of Wauseon 15-8 in the semifinal. He then won a high-scoring title match, holding off Liberty Center’s Owen Box 16-14.
Brian Floyd took second at 160 pounds for the Vikings. Their other placers were Ayden Gleckler (106, 4th) and Colin Smith (132, 3rd).
Area teams can now look ahead to the postseason as sectional tournament are this weekend.
In Division II, Wauseon is at the Defiance Sectional Friday and Saturday. Archbold, Delta, Evergreen and Swanton are at the Division III sectional hosted by Archbold.
NWOAL Wrestling Meet
Wauseon 174.5, Liberty Center 154, Delta 145.5, Archbold 116.5, Swanton 76, Evergreen 55, Bryan 52, Patrick Henry 41, Montpelier 22.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010