HAMLER – With 11 wrestlers in the finals, it was already a good day for Wauseon. Having nine league champions helped as the Indians outscored second-place Swanton 295-184.5 to capture the Northwest Ohio Athletic League championship at the 2017 league meet held at Patrick Henry Saturday.
“We’ve been setting individual and team goals on a week-to-week basis for the past three or four weeks,” said Wauseon coach Mike Ritter. “We (the coaches) keep setting them and they (the team) keeps achieving them. That’s a really cool thing.”
The Indians wasted no time, as Gavin Ritter won in a major decision over Evergreen’s Jared Fahrer 13-5 to capture the 106 pound title. Not every match was as close.
In the 132 pound final, Hunter Yackee needed a third period escape to tie Archbold’s Gavin Grime at 1. Yackee went on to win the league title with a 2-1 decision in an ultimate tie breaker. In the 138 pound final, Mauricio Barajas scored late and Archbold’s Noah Mattin couldn’t get a reversal as Barajas won 4-3. At 285 pounds, Alex Sosa scored an escape with 28 seconds left to win 3-2 over Swanton’s Tommy Lytle.
“It’s a product of our preparation,” the Wauseon coach said of winning the close championship matches. “We’ve really prepared (well) the past several weeks. Our last two weeks of practice have been top-notch. They are working super hard in the room and they are competitive in the room.”
History was also made for Wauseon. At 113 pounds, McKayla Campbell became the first female league champion in the storied league’s history when she scored a 19-4 technical fall over Swanton’s Zach Schaller. Tony Banister became a four-time league champion when he won a close 2-0 match over Caleb Carpenter of Liberty Center at 195 pounds. The win was the 150th of Banister’s career.
“I’m really proud to be a part of that,” coach Ritter said of the records. “Our league has been very competitive and very good for a long time. To have a four-time league champion for Wauseon – this is our second (Wade Hodges) in Tony Banister and to have McKayla win, we’re proud of that.”
Also winning league titles for Wauseon were Sandro Ramirez, who made quick work of Montpelier’s Tommy Wolfenbarger at 145 pounds in a 17-1 technical fall, Xavier Torres, who won in a 5-3 decision over Austin Wilson of Archbold, and Andrew Bailey, who won in a 10-0 major decision over JD Osborn of Delta in the 160 pound final.
The Indians lost to Delta in two finals matches. At 120 pounds, Cole Mattin pinned Nolan Ray in 3:57 and at 126 pounds, Drew Mattin won in a 19-2 technical fall over Jarrett Bischoff.
Wauseon did no worse than third in every weight class. Trent Davis (170), Aaron Harris (182) and Samuel Sosa (220) all won third-place matches.
“We strived for everybody to finish in the top three of their weight class and we did that,” added coach Ritter. “I can’t be disappointed at all.”
Runner-up Swanton had one league champion in Zack Leahey, who scored a 5-2 decision over Tyler Echler of Liberty Center at 170 pounds. The Bulldogs were helped out with six third-place finishers. Trevor Schaller (120), Dylan Cook (126), Gage Pachlhofer (132), Ryan Marvin (152), Tyler Houston (160) and Crew Oberheim (195) all took third.
“It was a team effort,” Swanton coach Greg Hallett said of the runner-up position by the Bulldog matmen. “We’ll move on from here. Everyone is trying for first place, but Wauseon had too much firepower.”
Liberty Center edged Archbold 135-134.5 for third in the team standings. Delta placed fifth with 129.5 points and added one more league champion in Dylan Rogers, who needed just 59 seconds to put Patrick Henry’s Will Morrow on his back for a pin.
Montpelier (78), Patrick Henry (56), Evergreen (50) and Bryan (28) rounded out the rest of the league standings.
Patrick Henry had one league champion as Kent Petersen scored an 8-5 win over Greg Wilson of Swanton at 220 pounds.
Everyone returns to action in sectionals this week that begin Friday. Wauseon will compete in the Division II sectional at Napoleon while Archbold, Delta, Evergreen and Swanton will be at the Division III sectional at Archbold.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org