By ROB HAMILTON
Three Division III Morrow County wrestlers earned a trip to the state meet when they competed in the Heath district competition last Friday and Saturday. For Northmor, Jamie Baldridge earned his third ticket to Columbus, while teammate Kyle Johnson also advanced. Mount Gilead’s Mike Mollohan also qualified for the state meet.
Baldridge took first at 145 pounds, claiming four wins in the meet, three via second-period pin. The Knight senior pinned his first three opponents before taking on West Jefferson’s Ricky Ratliff in a rematch of last week’s sectional final. This time, Baldridge defeated his opponent by a 5-0 margin. Baldridge currently has a 48-2 record and is third all-time in Northmor history with 163 career wins. He’ll look to add to that number on Thursday when he opens with Anthony Walden of Beachwood, a senior with a 33-8 mark.
Johnson took fourth place at 195 pounds to earn his first trip to the state meet. After winning his first match, he lost in his second to fall to the consolation bracket. There, he won three straight matches to advance to the state meet before losing in the battle for third place.
Johnson, who is 12-3 this year as a junior, will have his first match Thursday against Moises Lopez of Willard, a senior with a 36-6 record. Northmor’s Jake Farley will be a state alternate, as he finished fifth at 138 pounds. After winning his first match, he lost his second to fall into the consolation bracket. There, he won his first two matches, but lost by decision in his go-to state bout. He took an 8-3 win over Hobie Howiler of Barnesville in his fifth-place match, though, to improve to 32-16 on the season.
Northmor’s other three district qualifiers all went 1-2 on the day. Senior Cody Ross (37-15 on the year) competed at 160, while senior DaShawn Hood (17-19) wrestled at 285 and sophomore Griffin Jenkins (24-17) was at 120 pounds.
For the Indians, Mollohan (33-12) opened the tournament with two wins to advance to the semifinals. While he lost in overtime there, he was able to rebound and claim a quick pin in his go-to-state bout before losing in the third place match. The Mount Gilead sophomore will open the state meet with a match against Creston Norwayne’s Mitch Murray, a senior with a 33-4 record.
Also competing for the Indians were freshman Troy Whitt and sophomore Brock Moreland. Both went 1-2. Whitt (20-15) won his first match at 106 pounds before falling twice; while Moreland (31-13) rebounded with a consolation win after losing his first bout, but then was eliminated in his next match.
Senior Alex Blanton qualified at 145 pounds, but due to injury was unable to compete at districts.
Three members of the Cardington Pirates also wrestled at Heath over the weekend.
At 170 pounds, Colton Jenkins went 2-2, missing out on a top-six finish by one match. The senior finishes the season with a 27-14 record. Junior Lane Waddell went 1-2 at 138 pounds to finish 25-15 on the season, as he was eliminated by Northmor’s Farley after winning his first consolation bout. At 195 pounds, senior Eric Collins (16-16) competed.
Competing in the Division II district meet hosted by Claymont High School, Highland junior Mike Stewart advanced to the state meet by virtue of placing fourth at 120 pounds. Stewart (47-7) followed up a win in his first match with a quarterfinal loss, but was able to win four straight matches to earn the right to compete in Columbus. This included a 2-0 overtime win in his go-to-state bout before he fell by decision in the third-place match.
He will open the state tournament by taking on Korey Frost of Canfield, a senior with a 40-4 mark on the season.
Junior Dustin Baker (44-6) is the state alternate at 220 pounds. Baker won his first match, but lost a 5-4 decision in his second. In the consolation bracket, he picked up two wins, but lost in the go-to-state match before recovering to take fifth.
At 182 pounds, freshman Zach Baker (26-21) finished sixth. A bye and decision win placed him in the semifinals, but he lost in that round and then fell by an 11-8 margin in the go-to-state bout and then by major decision in the fight for fifth.
Senior Ed Kontul (23-6) went 2-2 at 285 pounds, winning one match in the championship bracket and one in consolations. Also, freshman Sean Dudgeon (30-18) competed at 126.
Rob Hamilton may be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 204.