LIMA – It was three weeks ago when Coldwater won the Division V state football title.
For several of those football players, there wasn’t much time for them to make the transition to the wrestling mat.
At Saturday’s Lima Central Catholic Holiday Invitational, several of those Coldwater athletes played important roles in Coldwater winning the annual holiday wrestling tournament.
Coldwater defeated second-place Paulding by a decisive margin, 274-226. Wayne Trace finished third (219.5) and Carey was a close fourth (213). Spencerville posted the next-best local performance, finishing seventh in the 18-team field.
Coldwater had four wrestlers compete in title matches Saturday. Spencer Seibert lost to Fostoria’s Lance Smith in the championship match at 132 pounds, 6-0. Jay Uhlenhake (113), Justin Post (220) and Jake Schmidt all won their respective title matches.
Schmidt, the son of Coldwater wrestling coach Rob Schmidt, found himself in a battle in his championship match against Paulding’s Adam Deatrick. Schmidt slipped out with a hard-fought 6-5 victory over Deatrick. Schmidt, who plays linebacker on the football team, is looking strong so far this young season. After Saturday’s invitational, Schmidt stands 7-0.
“I didn’t know anything about him (Deatrick),” Jake Schmidt said with a smile. “The past couple of years, I’ve been a ‘head case.’ So, the rule in the wrestling room now is that I cannot know who I’m going to wrestle.”
Coach Schmidt points to the dedication of his athletes as the key ingredient to his team’s success.
“We have 22 on the team and about half of them are football players,” coach Schmidt said. “But, the younger guys, (football) coach (Chip) Otten gives me one or two days a week, once our season starts. That helps out tremendously for our younger guys. The other guys (varsity football players), we don’t get them until the playoffs are over. …Then, they need a week off. So it’s been a short period of time that we’ve had them. They come in with the attitude that they believe they’re going to be successful and that’s a good thing.”
Spencerville’s Logan Vandemark is making a transition of his own. The junior heavyweight wrestled his freshman season, but as a sophomore was injured during the football season and did not even get on the wrestling mat.
On Saturday, Vandemark continued to show signs that he’s coming back strong, by defeating Patrick Henry’s Brandon Bennett, 6-2 in the title match at 285. Vandemark’s record stands at 15-0 on the season.
“Last year, I came out of football with a shoulder injury, so I took the year off from wrestling,” Vandemark said. “I didn’t want to come into wrestling and hurt it more, so I took the year off and it really helped.”
Kenton junior Sylas Smith kept his undefeated record in tact as he defeated Ottawa-Glandorf’s Derek Ebbeskotte in the finals, 5-4. Last season, Smith made it to districts, but went 0-2 and was eliminated from the tournament. After Saturday’s championship, Smith is 15-0.
“It was a good match (on Saturday) and he (Ebbeskotte) is in my league (Western Buckeye League). So, we’re going to have some good matches this season,” Smith said.
Paulding’s Taylor Deatrick was the only other local wrestler to notch a title Saturday. Deatrick had little trouble with Williamsburg’s Dawson Davis, winning 13-6.