New faces abound for Swanton wrestling


By Drew Stambaugh - dstambaugh@aimmediamidwest.com



Swanton wrestling has seen a big increase in numbers as it seeks an improvement on last year’s team results.

The Bulldogs had only four wrestlers compete in the 2021 Northwest Ohio Athletic League wrestling tournament, where they placed seventh as a team. Two placed, including 285-pound champion Brodie Stevens, who is now at Ohio Northern University. He went to finish his high school career with a third place finish at the the Division III state tournament.

The other placer, Hunter Gowing, suffered a knee injury prior to the football season.

Swanton Coach Ernie Ruiz listed Kinsey Stevens, Cody DeKoeyer and Ben Wilson as returning letter winners.

“Although there are many new wrestlers coming into the program, we will be very young and relatively inexperienced at the high school level,” said Swanton Coach Ernie Ruiz.

Newcomers this year include Vinny Fanelli, Virgil Klinger, Joseph Mosko, Mazin Rukieh, Ethan Bellner, Crew Puhl, Josh Tyburski, Evan Reed, Leyton Chapman, Michael Holtsberry, Kaiden Bryan, Trent Eitniear, Garrett Stoop, Drake Harris, Bryce Marvin, Cameron Kirtz, Brady Roytek, Evan Smigelski, and Cameron Fay.

“This season will hail a multitude of new wrestlers into the high school squad. Many of these wrestlers were on the junior high team who lost to only one team last year while competing in dual meets,” said Ruiz. “This year’s group brings a great bunch of kids with tremendous work ethic.”

At the junior high state tournament, Kirtz placed seventh, while Eitniear and Smigelski each placed in the top 12. Holtsberry and Harris also qualified for state.

The Swanton coach thinks his team can be competitive despite being very young.

“Coming off a year that had extremely low numbers, we were able to reload with a great bunch of kids who love the sport of wrestling,” he said. “This team has great potential for many future successes. If we can continue to develop this team while at the same time keeping them healthy and engaged, we will be very competitive down the stretch.

“We should be able to produce a solid lineup this year that will allow us to score a lot of points towards the end of the year.”

Swanton opens the season Dec. 3 at the Jim Derr Invitational in Northwood.

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By Drew Stambaugh

dstambaugh@aimmediamidwest.com