Scots, Knights claim wrestling titles Saturday
By ROB HAMILTON
Thanks to placing nine wrestlers in the top four at Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference wrestling meet, including a quartet of champions, the host Highland Scots were able to not just win the Red Division, but also boast the overall best score on Saturday.
Highland finished with 159.5 points to outdistance River Valley’s 140. Third-place Northmor tallied 135.5 points to earn the Blue Division title. Buckeye Valley, Pleasant, Mount Gilead, North Union and Cardington rounded out the eight-team meet.
“We’ve never won the whole tournament,” said Scot head coach Adam Gilmore. “When these seniors were freshmen, we won the Red, but were fourth overall. It’s nice for the seniors to win the whole tournament.”
The Scots dominated in the upper weights, claiming four championships and a runner-up in the final six classes.
David Fisher started things out at 160 pounds by defeating Tyler Bashaw of Mount Gilead 15–8 in the finals of that class. Jeremy Johnson followed at 170, as he pinned Buckeye Valley’s Ben Kidwell early in the third period.
After not competing in the championship finals at 182 pounds, the Scots got a second-place finish from Zach Rowe at 195 before getting back-to-back wins in the final classes.
Dustin Baker took first at 220 pounds with a second-period pin over North Union’s Brandon Cox before Ed Kontul didn’t waste any time in pinning Cardington’s Crew Cochran 99 seconds into their match.
“We have a lot of seniors in the upper weights,” said Gilmore. “They came together in middle school and coach Jeremy Ammons taught them a lot about wrestling. It paid off for them with a league title. You see a lot of groups of kids come as freshmen and sophomores and then dissolve, but we still have a nice group.”
Other than Rowe, the Scots had two other second place finishers. At 113 pounds, Mike Stewart took second to River Valley’s Raymond Raino, while Jake Limings was runner-up to Mount Gilead’s Alex Blanton at 138.
Austin Lafever finished fourth at 120 for Highland, while Trevor Meade took that same place at 145. Also, both Aislynn McLaughlin (106) and Austin Panyik (182) placed fifth.
“It was nice — the kids really are a team,” said Gilmore. “They’re pretty tight. They might be hard on each other, but are a team and it shows. It’s nice to see kids buying into the system. They’re not afraid to work hard. It’s a team thing and not like 15 kids and a couple individuals.”
While the Knights did pick up a team trophy for winning the Blue, head coach Scott Carr was hoping to place higher overall in the meet.
“It’s always good to win your side of the league, but better to win it overall,” he said. “It’s weird to finish third overall and get a trophy — it’s kind of bittersweet.”
Two Knights claimed individual championships. At 145 pounds, Jamie Baldridge pinned Curt Fedoush of Buckeye Valley in the second period. Then, at 195 pounds, Tyler Beck took the title by topping Highland’s Rowe.
Colin Visconti took second at 152 for the Knights, while Dylan Jenkins (106), Jacob Farley (138) and Lane Foster (170) all finished third.
Griffin Jenkins finished fourth at 113 pounds, as did Mitchell Whisler at 132 and Kyle Johnson at 182. James Ross (120) and Cody Ross (160) both placed fifth, while Sam Neer took sixth at 126.
In the past, teams have gone straight from the league meet to sectionals the very next weekend. However, with the OHSAA state dual meet tournament underway, there will be an extra week before that meet happens — something Carr welcomes, not just to get his team healthier, but also to correct some of the mistakes he witnessed Saturday.
“For only eight teams, this was still real good competition with a few state qualifiers in this room,” he said. “You can’t take too many for granted. We made some silly mistakes, which happens when you have a lot of freshmen and sophomores in the line-up.”
Mount Gilead finished with 94 points in the meet and claimed a pair of league champions.
Luke Hutchinson won at 126 pounds, taking a major decision win over Cardington’s Adam Reed in the finals. Also, Alex Blanton pinning Highland’s Limings in the finals. Bashaw also made the finals, but lost to Highland’s Fisher to claim second place.
Kyle Blanton (120) placed third in the meet; while Mike Mollohan (220) and Connor Hill (285) both finished fourth.
Tim Williamson was fifth at 132, as was Franklin Poppel at 195. Sixth place went to Andrew Evans (152), Josiah Schirtzinger (170) and Austin Jennings (182).
Cardington tallied 45.5 points, as the Pirates only had eight wrestlers compete in the meet.
Reed took second at 126 pounds, while Cochran also claimed runner-up at 285. Eric Collins placed third at 195, while both Jaelyn Ballard (106) and Lane Waddell (132) finished sixth.
Winning the two $1000 coaches’ scholarships for this year were Northmor’s Beck and River Valley’s Ben Crabtree.