LIMA — Good competition brings out the best in an athlete.
At this weekend’s Lima Central Catholic Thunderbird Invitational, area wrestlers got a good taste of what’s to come in the postseason tournament.
There were 38 Division III schools that participated in the two-day event at Edward C. Herr Gymnasium.
At Saturday’s finals, Covington came away with the team title, scoring 157.50 points. Greeneview finished second (147.5), Dixie (147) was third, Ayersville (140.5) was fourth and Archbold rounded out the top five (136). Coldwater had the best local performance, coming in seventh (111). Lima Central Catholic finished ninth (103).
LCC put two athletes in the championship round of their respective weight classes. The Thunderbirds also had two others in placement matches.
LCC’s Brandon McCormick (34-2) decisioned Dixie’s Corey Hawk 9-3 to notch the title in the 138-pound weight class. At 170 pounds, LCC’s Bobby Sunderhaus (30-5) was pinned in the title bout by Ayersville’s Tate Ankney with 12 seconds remaining in the second period.
“Brandon was real solid. He’s doing what he needs to do in order to be a state champion,” LCC coach Tommy Connelly said of McCormick. “When you wrestle the guys that are there at the end of the day, then you’re having a good tournament. …He had a great tournament. I think his closest match was a six-point victory.”
Connelly said Sunderhaus’ loss was one he can learn from.
“It’s one of those things that we’re still working on — staying in good posture and in good position. We still make some mistakes every now and then. But, we have three weeks to clean some of that up. …That’s when it matters, anyways,” he said.
Bluffton’s Zach Wilson (28-0) remains unbeaten on the season after winning all four of his matches this weekend. In Saturday’s title match at 152, Wilson defeated Madeira’s Tyler Williamson 11-5. Wilson has now notched three Thunderbird Invitational titles. His career record now stands at 153-17.
The two-time state placer and three-time state qualifier gave his opponent in the finals some credit.
“He was a little bit longer and lanky,” Wilson said of Williamson. “He’s a pretty strong kid. And I get frustrated with that sometimes.
“I just didn’t wrestle my best. It was at a slow pace and a little sluggish. But, it happens. …It’s better to get it out of the way now, instead of later.”
Despite being in control for most of the match, Wilson said he needed to stay a little more focused.
“(I need to) just keep pushing forward and scoring a little bit more and not shutting down,” he said.
The other area wrestler to notch a title on Saturday was Coldwater’s Justin Post (220). Post defeated St. Joseph Central Catholic’s Corey Durbin, 8-3 in the title match.
The Outstanding Wrestler Award for the Thunderbird Invite was Edgerton’s VanVleet, who won the title at 132.