By ROB HAMILTON
The Northmor Knights were able to claim the Blue Division title at Buckeye Valley Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference tournament.
The Knights scored 134.5 points to finish in front of Centerburg (120) and Highland (112). Fredericktown (106.5), Mount Gilead (101), Cardington (63) and Ridgedale (0) followed. The Red Division was won by River Valley with 183 points, most in the meet, while Buckeye Valley was second with 174.
With more teams in the MOAC this year, the format for the tournament changed from the pure double-elimination meet that it had been. Athletes in each weight class were placed in four pools of two or three (for the most part) wrestlers. The winners of each pool then competed in a double-elimination tournament for the top four places, while the second-place wrestlers in their pools competed in a single-elimination tournament for fifth place.
The Knights, who placed third overall, claimed one individual champion, as Jamie Baldridge took first at 145 pounds for his third league title. Last year, he won at the same weight class and he took first at 135 as a freshman, while placing second at 138 as a sophomore.
“I had high expectations for myself,” he said after dispatching River Valley’s Efren Silva by second-period pin. “My sophomore year was disappointing, so I wanted to prove a point these last two years.”
Baldridge, who won all of his matches by pin, noted that he just wanted to get through his opponents quickly and efficiently.
“I wanted to kind of end things as quick as possible,” he said. “This is a trial run for sectionals, districts and state.”
The Knights had a lot of placers in the meet, including a pair of runners-up. Cody Ross fell to Ben Kidwell of Buckeye Valley by second-period pin in the 160-pound championship, while Kyle Johnson was pinned by River Valley’s Austin Guthrie in the first period. Also, Jake Farley placed third at 138. Matthew Ross was fourth at 113 pounds, as were Lane Foster at 170 and DaShawn Hood at 285. Griffin Jenkins took fifth at 120, as did James Ross at 126.
Highland had the other two Morrow County champions in the meet, as they finished fifth overall. Mike Stewart got things started for the Scots, edging Fredericktown’s Carson Mills 3-1 in overtime. The win, Stewart’s first league championship, was especially sweet considering that Mills had previously beaten him twice — once last year and once this year.
“It’s a good momentum builder,” the junior said. “It’s nice to finally get the MOAC. I came close my freshman and sophomore year both, so it’s nice to finally get one.”
All of Stewart’s matches with Mills have been low-scoring and close to where the Highland wrestler felt that the first takedown would determine the winner.
“It’s who gets the takedown,” he said. “The first time, he got the first takedown and won 4-3 and the second time, he got it and won 3-2, so it was nice for me to get it.”
Highland’s other win came at 285, where senior Ed Kontul beat David Praul of Buckeye Valley 4-1 for his second straight league title.
“He’s a good opponent and I respect him,” said Kontul of his opponent, whom he was facing for the first time. “It was a battle and I hope he continues to wrestle and get better. Now I know what I need to work on. It made me excited for what I’ll be doing in the postseason.”
Kontul also was proud to be a two-time champion in the league.
“I feel good about it,” he said. “I didn’t get it without working, that’s for sure. I think I made a name for myself and I’m proud of that, too.”
The Scots had a few other placers. Both Zach Baker and Dustin Baker finished second. Zach Baker fell by pin to River Valley’s Jordan Hale at 182 pounds, while Dustin lost by a 10-4 decision to Jonathan Alder’s Troy Caldwell at 220 pounds. Also,Sean Dudgeon took fourth place at 126
For Mount Gilead, a number of wrestlers finished in the top five, but they barely missed out on having a champion.
Luke Hutchinson, competing at 126 pounds, came closest before falling 3-2 to Pleasant’s Ethan Ice. Brock Moreland took second at 113 after losing via technical fall to River Valley’s William Law in the finals, as did Kyle Blanton at 132 pounds. Tim Williamson was fourth at 145 pounds, as was Alex Blanton at 152 and Mike Mollohan at 220.
Two Pirates finished second in the meet. Lane Waddell lost at 138 to Buckeye Valley’s Dashawn Haynes by injury default, while Colton Jenkins was pinned in the third period by Centerburg’s Jared Pack. Eric Collins (195) and Jarrod Fair (220) both placed fifth.
Complete MOAC wrestling placement results for first- and third-place matches are below.
Blue Division: 1. Northmor, 134.5; 2. Centerburg, Ce, 120; 3. Highland, H, 112; 4. Fredericktown, F, 106.5; 5. Mount Gilead, MG, 101; 6. Cardington, C, 63; 7. Ridgedale, R, 0.
Red Division: 1. River Valley, RV, 183; 2. Buckeye Valley, BV, 134.5; 3. Pleasant, P, 116.5; 4. North Union, NU, 92; 5. Jonathan Alder, JA, 72.
106: First place, Jordan Anthony, BV, defeated Kyle Davis, P, by 5-2 decision. Third place, Sterling Edler, RV, pinned Noah Maynard, NU, in 2:33.
113: First place, William Law, RV, defeated Brock Moreland, MG, by 16-1 technical fall. Third place, Javier Cornell, F, defeated Matthew Ross, N, by 17-2 technical fall.
120: First place, Mike Stewart, H, defeated Carson Mills, F, by 3-1 overtime decision. Third place, Chance Haynes, BV, defeated Preston Smith, P, by 12-0 major decision.
126: First place, Ethan Ice, P, defeated Luke Hutchinson, MG, by 3-2 decision. Third place: James Eppich, Cb, defeated Sean Dudgeon, H, by injury default.
132: First place, Bret Yutzy, JA, defeated Kyle Blanton, MG, by 16-0 technical fall. Third place, William Thatcher, Cb, defeated Taylor Young, P, by injury default.
138: First place, Dashawn Hayes, BV, defeated Lane Waddell, C, by injury default. Third place, Jake Farley, N, defeated David Hessler, RV, by 3-2 decision.
145: First place, Jamie Baldridge, N, pinned Efren Silva, RV, in 3:08. Third place, Austin Glasscock, Cb, defeated Tim Williamson, MG, by 11-5 decision.
152: First place, Collin Rollison, RV, defeated Chet Backiewicz, Cb, by 11-2 major decision. Third place, Tre Wells, P, defeated Alex Blanton, MG, by 4-1 decision.
160: First place, Ben Kidwell, BV, pinned Cody Ross, N, in 2:52. Third place, Corbin Bunsold, NU, pinned Caleb Kellogg, P, in 3:31.
170: First place, Jared Pack, Cb, pinned Colton Jenkins, C, in 5:44. Third place, Jim Brittsan, BV, defeated Lane Foster, N, by injury default.
182: First place, Jordan Hale, RV, pinned Zach Baker, H, in 1:50. Third place, Dillon Carmean, NU, pinned Jayke Morris, BV, in 4:43.
195: First place, Austin Guthrie, RV, pinned Kyle Johnson, N, in :25. Third place, Milan Pozderac, F, pinned Branden Webb, BV, in 1:17.
220: First place, Troy Caldwell, JA, defeated Dustin Baker, H, by 10-4 decision. Third place, Brandon Cox, NU, defeated Mike Mollohan, MG, by 4-2 decision.
285: First place, Ed Kontul, H, defeated David Praul, BV, by 4-1 decision. Third place, Derek Ridder, JA, pinned DaShawn Hood, N, in 2:28.
Rob Hamilton may be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 204.