By ROB HAMILTON
The Northmor Knights sent six wrestlers on to the Division III district wrestling meet, to be held this Friday and Saturday at Heath, on their way to taking second place in the 19-team sectional hosted by Cardington over the weekend.
Hartley won the meet with 190.5 points, while Northmor was second with 177. Mount Gilead (four qualifiers) took eighth place and Cardington (three qualifiers) finished 10.
The Knights were paced with three finalists, of which two won sectional titles.
At 145 pounds, Jamie Baldridge pinned his first three opponents before topping Ricky Ratcliff of West Jefferson 3-0 in the finals.
After missing most of the season, Kyle Johnson has been making up for lost time at 195 pounds. After finishing second in the league meet, he pinned his way through four opponents to earn a title. He dispatched Cardington’s Eric Collins in 1:20 in his championship match.
After winning in the semis by pin over Lee Griffin in the semis, Johnson was excited to make it to districts.
“My team is on a roll right now,” he said. “I’d beaten that kid earlier in the year, so I just went out and did my thing. I’ve never gotten out of sectionals before — it’s a lot of hard work.”
Also advancing to the finals was Cody Ross, who earned two pins and a major decision before falling 8-4 to Jacob Croswell of Hartley by an 8-4 decision to take second place. Ross, who has been to districts before, just wants to get over the hump this year after placing sixth last year.
“I have to win my go-to-state match,” he said. “Last year, I lost it by one point.”
Those three will be joined by three more wrestlers who all placed third on Saturday. Griffin Jenkins went 3-1 at 120 points, while Jake Farley took four wins against one defeat at 138 and DaShawn Hood won three and lost one at 285 pounds.
At 113 pounds, Matthew Ross took fifth place to be a district alternate. Both Sam Neer (132) and Lane Foster (170) finished sixth in their weight classes.
Jakob Neer (106), James Ross (126) and Thomas VanHorn (182) all won one match for the Knights.
Mount Gilead finished with four district qualifiers, including three third-place finishers. Troy Whitt won three times at 106 pounds, while Brock Moreland took four wins at 120 and Mike Mollohan won five times at 220. Also, Alex Blanton placed fourth at 145.
Moreland, who made it to districts last time as a freshman, was pleased with his performance. After losing his first match-up on Friday, he recovered to win four straight matches: two by pin, one by technical fall and his third-place bout by major decision.
“I had some hard matches and stuck it out to win,” he said. “I tried my hardest — it was a little luck and me trying my best. Even when you’re losing, you have to keep going and you’ll probably end up winning.”
Luke Hutchinson finished fifth at 132 pounds to finish as district alternate. Kyle Blanton (138), Tim Williamson (152), Austin Jennings (170) and Frank Poppel (182) all claimed one win on the tournament for the Indians.
Cardington qualified three wrestlers to districts. At 195 pounds, Collins picked up two wins by pin before falling to Johnson in the finals. In the semifinals, he earned a 52-second pin over top-seeded Cameron Debevoise to clinch a trip to districts.
“He’s really strong and we tied up,” said Collins. “I got the over-under hook and he pushed in and when they push in, you can throw them. I just wanted to make sure he couldn’t get up. It feels great — I just pinned the number one seed in the tournament!”.
Colton Jenkins took third place at 170 pounds, winning four matches to advance to districts. Also, Lane Waddell went 4-2 at 138 pounds to take fourth with both of his losses coming to Northmor’s Farley.
Gabe McAvoy went 3-2 in the tournament to take fifth place and become a district alternate.
Competing in the Division II sectional hosted by Madison Plains, the Highland Scots were able to boast three sectional champs and five district qualifiers. The sixth place Scots got their first champion at 120 pounds, as Mike Stewart topped Raymond Raimo of River Valley 5-1 in the finals. Dustin Baker then edged Troy Caldwell of Jonathan Alder 5-4 in his championship bout to avenge a loss to the Pioneer wrestler in the finals of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference meet. Ed Kontul then topped David Praul of Buckeye Valley (whom he also beat in the league championship) by a 3-2 score in overtime.
Two more Scots took third place in the meet, as Sean Dudgeon topped Nathan Nagel of London 4-1 in the consolation finals at 126 pounds. Also, Zach Baker took third at 182 pounds after pinning Josh Pace of Whitehall-Yearling.
Also winning matches, but not placing, for the Scots were Aislynn McLaughlin (106) and Jared Limings (152).
Rob Hamilton may be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 204.