MONTPELIER – The 2016 NWOAL wrestling championships took place on Saturday at Montpelier and once again, the Delta Panthers came out on top. With the help of seven individual champions, the Panthers garnered 282 total points to finish ahead of Wauseon who had 213.
It was Delta’s third league title in the last four seasons.
“I always tell them the biggest thing with the league (tournament) is it’s about pride,” said Panther coach Anthony Carrizales. “Obviously, it is not the end all for the season, but it is definitely that local pride that is involved. It’s nice to come and have a good showing this weekend.”
Delta began their run to the title with a league championship for freshman Cole Mattin at 106 pounds. He first pinned Brandon Eitniear of Montpelier, then earned a 14-1 major decision over Swanton’s Trevor Schaller to reach the championship match.
In the championship, Cole Mattin pinned veteran Evergreen wrestler Jared Fahrer in 2:39.
“Coming into the season we knew he was going to be good, but to watch him progress the way he has. He’s been really good,” said Carrizales of his freshman. “It’s just exciting to see freshmen like that who improve and are gonna really make an impact down the home stretch.”
The Panthers also got titles from Ross Rayfield at 113 pounds, Drew Mattin (120), Jake Spiess (132), Dustin Marteney (138), Jesse Beverly (160) and Devon Richard (220).
However, in perhaps the shock of the tournament, Patrick Henry’s Brandon Bennett scored a 5-3 decision against Delta’s Chance Veller in the 285-pound title match. While it looked as if Veller may have gotten a reversal with seconds remaining to tie the match at five, no points were awarded and the match was over.
“Sometimes it doesn’t take much for you to have those setbacks,” said Carrizalez, staying positive about his defending state champ. “It is as simple as Chance going back to the drawing board and refocusing. I think he gets that one when it comes to Columbus.”
Also finishing second for the Panthers were Colin Hoffman (145), Travis Barnes (152) and Dylan Rogers (182). Other placers were CJ Leffler (126), Dalton Richard (170) and Jaccob Wolford (195).
Wauseon, the 2015 league champions, finished as the NWOAL runner-up.
“Overall, not the finish we wanted, but satisfied with the performance,” said Wauseon mentor Mike Ritter. “We weren’t able to defend our league title, but finished as runner-up. We’ve been either first or second in the league every year since 2009. Not sure how many people know that, but we’ve been very consistent with our league performance.
“We had some solid performances all the way through our lineup.”
Leading the way for the Indians was Derek Schuette (170) and Tre Campbell (182) who capped off their senior year with a league title.
“Proud of seniors Tre Campbell and Derek Schuette as they finish their last league tournament as two-time champs,” added Ritter.
Also, junior Tony Banister captured his third straight league title at 195 pounds, pinning all three of his opponents en route to a championship. Sandro Ramirez pinned Hoffman for the title at 145 pounds.
Finishing as league runners-up for Wauseon were McKayla Campbell (113), Gage Campbell (126), Hunter Yackee (132) and Andrew Bailey (138). Also placing were Gavin Ritter (106), Tyler Lange (120), Xavier Torres (152), Trent Davis (160) and Cody VanSlyke (285).
Archbold took third in the league with 152 points. The Blue Streaks notched a pair of champions as Noah Mattin claimed the 126-pound title and Garrett Grime was champion at 152 pounds.
“It’s always nice to get some champions. That’s a big thing,” said Archbold head coach Brian Becher. “When you know your team is not going to win, you at least have some individuals win. So it is nice to get a couple champs.
“I thought (David) Bell could have been another champ – he kind of gave up those big points at the end of the first period that came back to bite him.”
Bell, who competed at 170 pounds, dropped a 7-4 decision to Schuette to place second.
For Noah Mattin who came from Delta and was forced to miss part of the season due to the OHSAA transfer rule, he picked up a pair of pins and a decision to win the 126-pound championship.
“He is making tremendous strides from when he first got on the mat in the beginning of January,” said Becher. “I am anxious to see how he is in another few weeks.”
Garrett Grime squared off with Barnes in the 152-pound title match where he recorded a 7-3 decision.
“He lost a (heartbreaker) last year in a league title match. He’s lost four go to state matches throughout his career. So it’s nice for him to finally win one of those in a high pressure situation,” added Becher of Grime.
Also placing for the Streaks were Gavin Grime (120), Noah Quintanilla (132), Colton Soles (138), Derek Humbert (145), Mitchell Hogrefe (160), Ozzie Juarez (182), Trevor Short (220) and Oran Humbert (285).
Swanton had a pair of third place finishers in Zack Leahey at 145 pounds and Tommy Lytle at 285. The Bulldogs also got placements from Trevor Schaller (106), Tyler Houston (152), Mitchell Reisinger (160), Greg Wilson (195) and Branson Knott (220).
Evergreen’s day was highlighted by Fahrer who took second to Cole Mattin at 106 pounds. Other placers for the Vikings were Travis Mersing (113), Thomas Pollard (138), Mason Kasefang (145), Isaac Yunker (152) and Jace Jenkins (195).
1. Delta 282; 2. Wauseon 213; 3. Archbold 152; 4. Montpelier 113; 5. Liberty Center 104; 6. Patrick Henry 60; 7. Swanton 59; 8. Evergreen 49; 9. Bryan 33.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010