By Bret Curren
The West Holmes High School varsity wrestling team rolled through their opponents on Wednesday, Jan. 24 in the opening duals of the 2018 Ohio High School Athletic Association DII Sub-Region 10A State Team Duals Tournament at Ontario High School in Ontario. The top-seeded Knights pounded number-eight-seed Clear Fork 60-12 in the opening round dual and then pasted number-five-seed Mansfield Senior by a 56-9 count in the quarterfinals to advance to the Jan. 31 regional semifinal round.
“We talked this week at practice about winning the swing matches in duals,” Knights first-year wrestling head coach Scott Vaughn said following the duals. “We didn’t do that last week against Mount Vernon and Smithville, but we did that tonight. We’re winning matches we should, and tonight we started to win those swing matches. We had a really good practice Monday and Tuesday, and it showed tonight.”
Indeed it did.
In the dual with Clear Fork, the Knights jumped out to an insurmountable 48-0 lead, thanks to fall wins from sophomore 106-pounder Cael Woods, 113-pound sophomore Tyler Masters, 120-pound senior Thane Kaufman and 152-pound sophomore Cruz Alexander. In addition the Knights got decision wins by 126-pound sophomore Walker Uhl and sophomore Hunter Bowling, who won at 138 pounds. Tack on three forfeit wins for the Knights at 132, 145 and 160 pounds, and the meet was essentially over. The Colts would win at 170 pounds and heavyweight but forfeited at both 182 and 195 pounds, giving the Knights the easy win.
Against the Tygers, the Knights would bolt out to a 15-0 margin after fall wins by Woods and Masters and a decision win by Kaufman. Mansfield Senior would come back with a decision win at 126 pounds and a fall win at 132 pounds, giving the Tygers some life. But that was short-lived as the Knights would win the final eight matches including three falls by Greer, Alexander and Stephen Baldridge; a technical fall by Skylar Cline; two decision wins from Bowling and Hayden Baker; and two forfeit wins for Colt Cox and Ethan VanSickle to close out the meet.
With the pair of wins the Knights are now 7-2 in dual meets this season. The victory against Belleville Clear Fork was the 300th dual meet win in school history.
In the Jan. 31 Region 10 semifinals, which will take place at a site yet to be determined, the Knights will square off with Caledonia River Valley, the winner of the upper half bracket at Ontario. In the other regional semifinal, Lodi Cloverleaf will tangle with Akron St. Vincent St Mary. The two semifinal winners will then face off for the regional championship and a berth in the Feb. 10 state championship tournament.
Scoring review reverses outcome and Knights end up beating Smithies
There was an error in recording the correct winner of a match when the Knights faced Smithville in a Jan. 17 dual at The Dungeon inside West Holmes High School, and that error resulted in a correction to the team score in a huge way. Rather than losing the match by two points, the reversal in scoring gave the Knights a 37-33 win over the Smithies, rather than a 36-34 loss.
The error occurred after the 160-pound matchup, where it was recorded that Knight Skylar Cline had lost the match by a 5-4 count when in fact Cline was the victor. That resulted in three team points for the Knights and a 3-point team deduction for the Smithies to the team score, resulting in the 37-33 Knights win.
Attack Team all-star wrestlers put 12 on podium, including 7 champs
The Holmes Area Wrestling Club elementary Attack Team all-star wrestlers had a banner day on Sunday, Jan. 21, sending seven grapplers to the top of the podium while another five garnered top-four placings at the Ohio Youth Wrestling Association Mid-Ohio Division All-Star Tournament at Wooster High School.
“It was a banner day for the boys,” Attack Team wrestling head coach Jarret Mathie said of his troops’ showing. “We sent 12 grapplers [to the tournament], and seven of them left with a first-place medal. We competed in 37 matches and ended the day with a team record of 30-7. That’s pretty impressive.”
Earning championships were Colin Badger (fourth grade, 3-0), Keith Hawkins (third grade, 2-0), Leland Landaw (third grade, 3-0), Cam McCluggage (fourth grade, 4-0), Cole Porter (fifth grade, 3-0), Dylan Sours (fourth grade, 3-0) and Blake Strouse (sixth grade, 4-0).
Chaz Kerr (fourth grade, 2-1) and Ian Miller (third grade, 1-1) brought home runner-up honors while Briar Rising (fourth grade, 2-1) placed third and Easton Ross (second grade, 2-2) and Noah Workman (second grade, 1-2) garnered fourth-place finishes.
“Again, I say it all the time, but it’s (all 12 wrestlers placing) a testament to the hard work these young men put in all year long,” Mathie said. “The varsity boys are up this weekend. The competition is always tough, so no win is going to come easy, but we have put in the work and seem to be peaking at the right time.”