State duals end for local teams
By ROB HAMILTON
The OHSAA state dual meet wrestling tournament came to an end for Morrow County schools on Wednesday, as Highland, Northmor and Mount Gilead were all eliminated from competition during the regional semifinal rounds.
Both Northmor and Mount Gilead were eliminated by Northridge in the Division III, Region 22 semifinals. In the first round, the Vikings beat Mount Gilead 64–13, while Northmor topped North Union by a 46–23 margin. Afterwards, Northridge eliminated the Knights by a 43–27 margin.
“Northridge is good — we knew that coming in,” said Knight coach Scott Carr. “We thought it’d be a hard-fought battle and they were better than us tonight. I told them they have a few hours to be disappointed about not moving on, but we have to re-focus for the league meet.”
In Northmor’s win over North Union, nine Knights had their arms raised by the referee. Griffin Jenkins (113) and James Ross (120) got their team started with pins in the lower weight classes. Mitchell Whisler won at 132 by major decision, while Jacob Farley took a decision at 138.
The Knights then got pins by Jamie Baldridge (145) and Lane Foster (170), a major decision by Cody Ross (160) and a win by forfeit by Colin Visconti (152) to open up an insurmountable 40–12 lead. Tyler Beck finished the Northmor scoring by picking up a forfeit win at 220. Carr noted it was nice to get Visconti back in the line-up. A state qualifier last year, the senior had missed much of January recovering from a torn meniscus.
“It’s always good to see him back out there,” said Carr. “He’s a senior who’s done as much as he can and is a leader on the sidelines. He means more to us than wins and losses; that’s for sure.”
In the other first-round match from Wednesday, Northridge controlled the upper weights on their way to topping Mount Gilead. Thanks to a major decision by Kyle Blanton at 120 pounds, a pinfall by Luke Hutchinson at 126 and a decision win by Alex Blanton at 138, the Indians only trailed 18–13 at that point. Unfortunately for Mount Gilead, the Vikings won the final eight matches to pull away for the win.
Northmor got off to a fast start against Northridge, getting a pin from Dylan Jenkins at 106 pounds, followed by decisions by James Ross (120) and Sam Neer (126), to take a 12–6 lead. The Vikings would win the next two matches to go up 16–12 and never looked back, though.
Baldridge won by decision at 145 to bring the Knights within one point, but Northridge would win five of the final seven matches (one by forfeit) to pull away. Cody Ross (170) and Beck (195) both earned pins to provide the remainder of Northmor’s scoring.
Competing in the Division II, Region 14 action at Lexington, Highland lost to River Valley by a 42–32 margin. The Vikings would then get defeated by the host school, which moves on in the tournament.
River Valley won the match in the lower weights, as they took the first five contests before Jake Limings won by technical fall at 138 pounds. After two more Viking wins, the Scots took five of the final six matches, but weren’t able to score enough points to make up that early deficit.
Jeremy Johnson (170), Zach Rowe (195) and Dustin Baker (220) all picked up pins, while David Fisher (160) won by decision and Ed Kontul (285) picked up a forfeit win.