After capturing a scintillating win in the regional semifinal over River Valley, the West Holmes High School varsity wrestling team saw their hopes of a first-ever berth in the state team duals championship tournament come to a screeching halt after suffering a 61-12 loss to a monster powerhouse Akron St. Vincent St. Mary team in the Wednesday, Jan. 18 Ohio High School Athletic Association Div. II Region 10 State Team Duals Regional Final at Cloverleaf High School near Lodi, Ohio.
“We got our eyes opened in facing St. V,” head coach Scott Vaughn said. “That team is for real. All those kids dedicate their life to the sport and live it and breathe it. But to make it to the finals was exciting. And we only had one senior and one junior in the lineup against them, so that really says a lot about our future.”
The Knights also have done very well in dual matches this season and recently earned a runner-up spot in the Ohio Cardinal Conference meet.
Having experienced such great success throughout the season, it is no surprise that Vaughn is excited to see what the year-end tournament brings.
“We now have a week-and-a-half rest until sectionals,” Vaughn said. “That is good coming off a hectic late schedule. It feels like the kids are working hard, and we are starting to peak at the right time of the year. I think a few of the kids are feeling the workload of a stretch of Wednesday through Saturday matches and meets. It’s a grueling sport, and we are going to use this 10 days off to let them heal up.”
The Knights have had a huge amount of success in their lighter weights, where state-qualifiers senior Thane Kaufman and sophomore Cael Woods have been joined by sophomore Tyler Masters and freshman Jack Welsh. That quartet, along with Walker Uhl, Skylar Cline and Cruz Alexander, have helped West Holmes ignite a strong season despite its youth. Freshman Stephen Baldridge also has gained momentum recently as he learns the ropes, but no wrestler will take advantage of the time before sectionals more than junior Josh Baldridge.
Baldridge, who narrowly missed a state berth last season, was looking extremely strong early on this year, tearing through competition. However, a hand injury derailed his campaign for several weeks, and he is just now making his comeback bid.
“Josh came out of an awesome football season, and we were looking to get to state. Then he has the hand injury, and he was out several weeks, and it takes time to get that conditioning back,” Vaughn said. “He is working his way back into wrestling shape, and he is still kind of deciding what weight he wants to wrestle at for the tournament. His little brother is coming along too, so those guys combined with our lighter weights have us very excited about what lies ahead.”
One champ and eight placers pace Attack Team at OYWA Mid-Ohio
The Holmes Area Wrestling Club Elementary Attack Team placed nine wrestlers on the podium on Sunday, Jan. 28 at the 2018 Ohio Youth Wrestling Association Mid-Ohio Division Varsity Tournament held inside The Dungeon at West Holmes High School.
Leading the way for the Attack Team was fourth-grader Louden Dixon, who pocketed the championship at 76 pounds. Earning third-place honors were fourth-grader Peyton Martin (64 pounds), fifth-grader Hunter McCluggage (79 pounds), sixth-grader Logan Vansickle (82 pounds) and sixth-grader Josh Gregory (105 pounds).
Fifth-grader Justice Hendrix (70 pounds), sixth-grader Jack Marmet (120 pounds) and sixth-grader Gabe Averbukh (150 pounds) posted fifth-place finishes with third-grader Chris Williams (73 pounds) earning sixth place.
“We had another good day,” Attack Team head coach Jarret Mathie said. “We sent 12 wrestlers to compete and left with nine placers. I’m pleased with the way the team performed. In nine contested finals matches, we lost just one match.”
Also competing in the tournament were fifth-grader AJ Roberts (67 pounds), sixth-grader Easton Edwards (90 pounds) and sixth-grader Taylor Galion (100 pounds).