Garaway Wrestling

The heart of an Angel propels Garaway senior to state

Dillon Rothacher

Every high school wrestling team wants to send at least one of its own to the state tournament to represent its school, and with nine wrestlers competing for a berth at state in the Coshocton Div. III district Friday and Saturday, March 3-4, Sedric Gerber’s crew had high hopes of sending multiple wrestlers to the Div. III state meet.

However, Gunner Angel was the only Pirate to survive the rugged gauntlet of talented grapplers, and he alone with represent Garaway at state.

Angel placed fourth at 182-pounds, and parlayed some early success into claiming the final qualifying spot.

Angel stormed out of the gate, almost literally, and thrashed Shadyside’s Taylor Prickett in just 46 seconds for a fall win in his opening match. Angel stayed hot in round two, pinning Phillip Barrows of Utica in 3:09, setting up a match with eventual runner-up Garrett Duncan of Bridgeport. Duncan threw Angel in the second period, got him on his back and pinned him at the 3:58 mark.

Now needing a win in the all-important state wrestle-in match in the consolation round, Angel got one, but it was not easy. Facing red-hot Ryan Williams of Nelsonville-York, who dropped his first match then won three in the consys, the two 182-pounders went at it, and Angel hung on for dear life as he clung to a 4-3 lead late. He made it stand up, and the senior celebrated his chance to finally wrestle in front of the masses in Columbus.

The early results for the Pirates were not as good as they had hoped, but it was still a nice experience for several Garaway wrestlers to have the honor and experience of wrestling at the district level.

At 120-pounds, Ben Koshmider was dumped in 3:36 by Union Local’s Rylie Crall, but came back to gain a win in the consys with a pin of Fairland’s Isaiah Eldridge in 2:01. He then was eliminated in the next round.

Dillon Rothacher was major decisioned 15-3 in his opening match at 126-pounds, but like Koshmider he too rebounded to pin Caldwell’s Levi Pemberton in just 19 seconds before being eliminated in the next round of consys.

Just as his teammates had done, Dylan Hershberger fell in the opening round at 138-pounds, and he too rallied to capture a win in the consys by decisioning Wellston’s Justin Anderson 6-4 before falling in the second round of consys.

Tanner Petitte finally got Garaway an opening round win by systematically taking apart 145-pounder Adrian Abolins of Liberty Union in an 18-2 technical fall win. However, Petitte, who was entertaining high hopes of a state berth after just missing last year, lost a heart-breaking 6-5 decision to Zane trace’s Dawson Hoselton, then after winning his second round consy 4-2, he fell to Crooksville’s Nate Batesman 11-7 to end his stellar career.

Christian Wright lost his opening round bid in the 152-pound class, falling in 1:30. In the consys, he was defeated by Richard McFarland of Martins Ferry in a tight 6-5 decision.

Jerod Hunt made quick work of his opening round opponent, pinning Bridgeport’s Jarrett Deaton in just 25 seconds. Hunt was then pinned in 1:31 in the second round match, dropped into the consys where he won via fall at 2:05, then recorded another pin win in 2:38 to gain entry into the state wrestle-in match. There he fell to Ridgewood’s Javon Merrill 14-6, ending his illustrious career.

Fellow senior Grant Hershberger also followed that same arc, winning his opening match in dominant fashion with a pin win at 5:10. He was then dropped into the consys in a 10-4 loss, but went on to record a pin win in 48 seconds and a close 4-2 decision over Danville’s Brice Berger. However, in the state wrestle-in match, he suffered a close 7-4 loss to Northridge’s Hunter Corbin.

Weston Woods rounded out the Pirates’ wrestlers at 195-pounds. Woods fell in 2:25 in his opener, then rebounded nicely to gain a pin win at 1:50 over Liberty Union’s Brandon Shifflet. He went on to pin Federal Hocking’s Colten Roark in 2:50, but his season ended with a loss at the 2:03 mark to Crooksville’s Hunter Foster.

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