BATH TOWNSHIP — There used to be just one path that led to Columbus. Now there are two roads that lead to the state wrestling tournament.
Wednesday’s regional quarterfinal matches kicked off the inaugural state team wrestling tournament. The destination for all of the area teams is to compete at the state finals on Feb. 9 at Ohio State. The traditional individual state tournament will be Feb. 28 through March 2 at OSU.
At Bath’s Division III regional quarterfinal on Wednesday, Spencerville and Bath won their respective matches to advance to Wednesday’s regional semifinal. The site for the semifinals will be announced at a later date.
In the first dual of the evening, Spencerville defeated Delphos Jefferson 45-21 to advance. The Bearcats recorded three pins on the night. Kyle Sawmiller (170), Lucas Shumate (195), Lucas Krouskop (220) all won by pins.
“We shifted people in and out, because we knew they had gaps in their lineup,” longtime Spencerville coach Tom Wegesin said. “We tried to get as full as a lineup as we could by shifting our guys around. So, the numbers worked out for us.
“The 182 (-pound) match ended up being a key match for us. Wyatt (Krouskop) really came through for us (defeated Josh Kroeger 3-2 in three overtimes). This was his first time down to 182 this year. So, at that point, it (Krouskop’s win) put it pretty much out of reach.”
Delphos Jefferson’s heavyweight (285) Geoff Ketcham reached a milestone, winning his 100th career match when he pinned Jake Bellows two minutes and eight seconds into the match.
“It’s very exciting to get it as a senior,” Ketcham said. “We got a couple more meets left and some more wins. But, I’m just really excited to get the 100th.”
Bellows, who gave up a significant amount of weight to Ketcham, gave the Delphos Jefferson standout all he could handle.
“I faced him two times before,” Ketcham said. “At the Lima Central Catholic Holiday Tournament, he gave me a run for my money. I beat him 6-2. So, that was a pretty good match.”
Chris Truesdale (145) also recorded a pin for Delphos Jefferson.
“Team-wise, we had some kids win some matches. …We had some kids get closer to ones that have beaten them all year long,” Delphos Jefferson coach Mike Wilson said. “Gaige Rassman (126) beat a kid (Derrick Smith) who has beaten him all year. But, we have problems up top. We have one kid with mono, one kid with a broken hand and we have a couple skin issues. So, it is what it is. But, I feel good for Tom (Wegesin) and his boys. So, good luck to them.”
Bath 52, LCC 19
In the nightcap, five open weight classes did not help Lima Central Catholic’s cause as Bath got off to a good start with three wins by void and then kept rolling after those uncontested wins.
Bath recorded four pins on the evening. Nate Stonehill (132), Collin Wise (152), Kyle Lhamon (220) and Caleb Neal (285) all had pins for the Wildcats. In all, Bath won eight of the 14 weight classes.
Bobby Sunderhaus (170) recorded the lone pin for LCC when he made little work of Easton Rudasil, putting him on his back in just 53 seconds.
Bath coach Clayton Westerbeck likes the idea of having a team state tournament.
“The knee-jerk reaction is to fight change. But I think it’s a good thing for the sport,” Westerbeck said. “It obviously caters to teams that have full lineups, instead of individuals. And this (dual tournament) gives us some matchups with other D-III teams in our sectional.”