LIMA – The Lima Central Catholic Thunderbird Invitational has been tabbed as possibly the most competitive regular-season Division III wrestling tournament in the state.
This weekend, 40 teams, which included 25 state-qualifiers from a year ago, competed at the annual tournament.
By the end of the two-day tournament, Archbold slipped out with the team title by a mere ½ point over Covington, 186-185.5. St. Paul finished third (150), Mechanicsburg was fourth (144) and Greeneview was fifth (130). Coldwater posted the best local finish, coming in sixth (123). Delphos St. John’s came in 10th (97).
Coldwater put two wrestlers in the championship round.
In the 220-pound weight class, Justin Post (38-1) decisioned Greeneview’s Adrian Harding 3-2 to win the title.
Saturday’s Thunderbird title for Post was the second of his career. Last season, Post went all the way to the Division III state tournament, where he finished seventh at 220.
“To pick up the win (on Saturday), that’s what we came for,” Post said. “A lot of people say this tournament is like wrestling at state. So, winning this is like a big confidence booster.”
Coldwater’s Jay Uhlenhake finished second at 113. Uhlenhake was pinned by Woodmore’s Evan Ulinski in 59 seconds in the championship match. Last season, Uliniski (35-0) was the state runner-up at 106.
“He was the best wrestler that I’ve wrestled this season,” Uhlenhake said. “I knew it was going to be a tough match, but I wish I could have hung in there a little longer.”
Columbus Grove had two wrestlers finish fourth in their respective weight classes Saturday.
Seniors Alec Gladwell (170) and Will Selhorst (182) were both defeated in their third-place bouts and had to settle for fourth.
“I’m pretty happy at where I came out,” Gladwell said. “This is my senior year, and I’ve never placed at this tournament. So, it’s a great accomplishment to come here and place in my last year of wrestling. Even though it’s not exactly what I was shooting for, it’s still nice to place at this tournament.”
Gladwell (20-5) hopes to use this weekend’s performance as a springboard for the remainder of the season.
“I hope that being able to place here is going to put me on the path to state,” Gladwell said.
Selhorst (21-6) was pleased at his performance this weekend.
“By far it’s the toughest,” Selhorst said about the T-Bird Invite. “Last year, I didn’t even make it to the second day here. So, I’ve improved a lot since last year.
LCC’s Jack Huffman (195) is creeping closer to his 100th career victory. After finishing third Saturday, Huffman (28-5 this season) is just five wins away.
Huffman had a battle in his third-place match with Van Buren’s Payten Whitticar. Huffman slipped out with a hard-fought 1-0 victory.
“I was trying to be careful,” Huffman said. “I was looking for opportunities to score. I was tired. …I can’t lie.”
In the third-place match at 285, St. John’s Nate Schroeder pinned Greeneview’s Isaiah Harding.