Northmor’s seven-man contingent in the Division III state wrestling meet was highlighted by junior Conan Becker, who finished sixth in the 138-pound class to earn a spot in the podium for the second straight year.
Becker opened with a 5-4 win over Zane Strubler of Casstown Miami East and followed that up with a Friday morning 8-0 major decision victory over Austin Eick of Rossford to reach the semifinals, ensuring him a spot on the podium.
“I feel pretty good, but that’s not my goal, so I’m not satisfied with anything,” said Becker after knowing he would finish in the top six.
While he wasn’t overly pleased with his performance in his first-round match, he did feel good about the way he wrestled against Eick, noting that he was more aggressive and focused.
“I didn’t back up at all and kept wrestling,” he said “I beat the kid back to the center each time the whistle blew.”
His coach, Scott Carr, agreed that Becker had a better performance in the second round than the first.
“Yesterday, he wrestled in segments,” said Carr on Friday. “He wrestled hard for 30 seconds and took 30 seconds off. This time, he wrestled hard the whole six minutes.”
Unfortunately for Becker, he would fall three straight matches in heartbreakers to fall to sixth place. In the semifinals, he lost to Archbold’s Noah Mattin by a 6-4 margin in overtime. Even worse, the winning takedown was recorded with only three seconds remaining on the clock in the extra period.
In Saturday’s consolation semifinals, he was tied with Brian Persinger of Wooster Triway at five points each late in the final period, but while both competitors were scrambling for a winning takedown, the Knight grappler was caught, tossed onto his back and pinned at the 4:34 mark. Then, in his fifth-place match against Troy Christian’s Jared Ford, while trailing 4-3 late, he was put on his back again for a five-point move, as Ford claimed a 9-3 decision.
Three other wrestlers picked up one win to miss out on placement by one match, while the other three went 0-2 on Thursday.
Both freshman Conor Becker and senior Matthew Ross won their only match on Thursday. Conor (145 pounds) topped Jordan Cress of Milton Union by a 6-0 margin, while Ross (152) came from behind to edge Orwell Grand Valley’s Nathan Rasmussen by a 7-5 margin.
Unfortunately for both, Friday’s competition proved to be far more rough. Conor lost to Cody Rhoads of Orwell Grand Valley in the quarterfinals by a 10-4 margin. Then, in the consolation bracket, he fell by a 5-3 margin to Chase Moore of Swanton to be eliminated. Ross met the same fate. In the quarterfinals, he lost by a 20-5 technical fall to Jake Huston of Oak Harbor. He had the lead over Wyatt Lefker of Williamsburg after the first period of his consolation match, but was caught in a throw in the second period and wound up pinned at the 1:32 mark.
At 120 pounds, Jakob Neer lost to Evan Guilford of Defiance Ayersville by a 13-3 margin in his first Thursday match, but bounced back to overcome Nicholas Cianciola of Canton Central Catholic by a 5-0 count. Unfortunately, the senior’s career with Northmor ended on Friday when Graham Shore of Casstown Miami East defeated him by a 21-6 technical fall.
Also, Aaron Kitts (132) was pinned by Isaac Elliott of Massillon Tuslaw in 1:47 in his first match and then got edged 15-10 by Reilly Heater of Sherwood Fairview in the consolations. Mason Burger (182) suffered a pin in 1:16 to Madison Jaso of Gibsonburg in the first round and then was defeated 6-2 by Ottawa-Glandorf’s Tyler Ebbeskotte. At 195 pounds, Nathan Price fell by pin in 1:00 to Dylan Hinton of Bloomdale Elmwood and then lost via 17-2 technical fall to Wyatt Long of Sidney Lehman Catholic.
While happy to have a school-record seven wrestlers competing in the state meet, Carr noted that such a large number of athletes added a new level of challenge to his job, as he might miss one or two of his charges while coaching another in his match.
“It’s good to get seven guys down here, but you lose that personal talk with guys,” he said. “I always like to talk with the guys before they go out there and go over strategy. It’s the most important match of their season and I can’t be there for it. It’s something I’ve not had to really deal with before. It’s just real hectic, but it’s better than having zero kids and sitting in room 304 doing nothing.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS