TROY – It wasn’t too difficult to figure out.
When Ottawa-Glandorf senior Tyler Ebbeskotte’s hand was raised after winning his “go-to-state” match at Saturday’s Division III district wrestling tournament at Troy’s Hobart Arena, it was pretty easy to pinpoint his father.
Randy Ebbeskotte, father and coach of Tyler, was there on the mat to embrace his son after he stamped his ticket to the state tournament Saturday. Ebbeskotte, a first-year head coach at O-G, was previously an assistant coach.
For Coach Ebbeskotte and his son Tyler, the path to the state tournament has been a challenging one, to say the least.
Tyler has battled ongoing knee issues the past two seasons, and now was finally realizing his dream of competing at the state tournament. On Saturday, Ebbeskotte (20-5) placed fourth in the 182-pound weight class. The top four placers in each weight class at the district tournament advance to the state tournament, which runs Thursday through Saturday at Ohio State.
In fact, O-G will have five wrestlers competing at the state tournament. Out of the five state qualifiers, the Titans had one district champion. Daniel Beemer, a junior, won his second consecutive district title Saturday and will return to the state tournament with a 35-0 record. At last year’s state tournament, Beemer finished fifth in the 182-pound weight class.
Along with Ebbeskotte and Beemer, Le’on Palomo (fourth, 120 pounds), Logan Balbaugh (fourth, 152) and Danny Rosales (fourth, 170) will travel to Columbus to compete.
As a team, O-G finished third at Troy. Mechanicsburg won the district title, defeating second-place Troy Christian, 186-141. O-G finished the two-day tournament with 102 points. Versailles finished a close fourth (100), while Miami East (97.5) rounded out the top five teams.
“The emotions flowing out of me before were just unbelievable,” Coach Ebbeskotte said. “I’m so happy for them. Obviously, Tyler set that over the top. People don’t even know what he’s gone through in the past three years. For him to finally break through and get down there is pretty special.”
Tyler, who also plays football, said going to state his senior season is extra special.
“He (his father) has coached me from biddies up until now. I can look at him and know what he’s thinking. It’s kind of special. My brother (Derek, now an assistant) started, and he went to state his senior year, and he had injuries just like me. So, it was really special. We were hoping to do it again, and ended up doing it.
“It’s definitely a special thing. You get close to a coach, no matter who it is. But, the fact that it’s my dad, is really neat.”
O-G’s performance at Troy made school history.
“It’s the most (state qualifiers) in school history,” Coach Ebbeskotte said. “One year, it was two (state qualifiers). Now, we put it up to five. The bar is set a little higher now. I couldn’t be happier with all of their performances. We have some well-deserving kids. Three seniors going to state for the first time. It can’t get much better than that, other than, of course, placing down there.”
For Beemer, winning his second consecutive district title on Saturday was another step toward his ultimate goal. On Saturday, Beemer had his hands full in his district title match as he defeated previously-unbeaten Hudson Jump from Grandview Heights, 9-6.
“The kid was unbelievably strong,” Beemer said about Jump. “He’s pretty quick on his feet. I was working with my coaches and my teammates all week long on making adjustments to his style of wrestling. I feel great coming out on top.”
Delphos St. John’s senior Brett Vonderwell, qualified for the state tournament for the third time in his career.
On Saturday, Vonderwell (41-5) lost his title match in the 170-pound weight class to three-time state champion, Mechanicsburg’s Kaleb Romero. The Ohio State-bound Romero (48-0) pinned Vonderwell in the first period.
“I wrestled him before,” Vonderwell said about Romero. “I shot a couple shots last time, but it didn’t work out. So, the plan this time was to go out and shoot and see what I can do. I went out and shot. But, the hips got out of place and he took advantage of it.”
The Caprella bothers from Allen East, Chase and Schuyler, both finished fourth in their respective weight classes on Saturday.
Chase (39-5), a freshman, placed fourth in the 106-pound weight class. Schuyler (38-4), a senior, notched the fourth spot at 132 pounds.
“It’s awesome,” Schuyler said. “I can’t explain it. It’s unreal. Just knowing this is my last chance to do it, and I got the job done.
“I knew that if I came and wrestled that it was my weekend. This was my last chance. I knew I had to perform at my best. And I came down here and did it.”
Added Chase, “Making it down (to the state tournament) is awesome. And doing it with him (Schuyler) has been the goal all year.”
Ada junior Chase Sumner (38-3) will return to state. On Saturday, Sumner placed third at 138.
Sumner, who placed fourth (132) at last year’s state tournament, lost a match at this weekend’s district tournament, and was forced to wrestle back on Saturday in order to secure a top-four spot.
“I’ve been in that position before, so it’s kind of a relief,” Sumner said with a smile.
Other area wrestlers qualifying for the state tournament on Saturday included Lima Central Catholic’s Kobe Cunningham (fourth, 113) and Bluffton’s Deandre Nassar (third, 195).
Cunningham (32-7) made it to the state tournament last season. This weekend, the senior Cunningham found himself battling back after losing an early match.
“It’s a good experience,” Cunningham said. “Every match is ‘do or die’. If you win one, you keep on going. The next match is just another match. That motivated me to get through this tournament.”
Nassar (39-6), a sophomore, had to wrestle back on Saturday to make it to the third-place match.
“It feels great,” Nassar said. “I fell a little short last year. So, it’s nice to get the win this time, and be able to go to state.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.