OTTAWA — Saturday’s Western Buckeye League Wrestling Tournament at Ottawa-Glandorf had a familiar feel to it.
Last season, Defiance came into the WBL Tournament with a perfect 9-0 dual record. Bath came in with an 8-1 mark.
All Defiance needed to do in order to win the WBL title outright, was to win the tournament.
Defiance did just that.
On Saturday, Defiance, once again, came into the tournament with a 9-0 dual record. Wapakoneta, which lost to Defiance in the regular-season dual by two points, came into the league tournament 8-1.
And just like last season, Defiance took care of business.
In Saturday’s finals, Defiance walked away with six individual titles, en route to winning its second consecutive WBL championship. The Bulldogs had eight wrestlers (out of 14 weight classes) compete in the championship matches.
Wapakoneta also had eight wrestlers make it to their respective title bouts. However, the Redskins won just three of those matches.
In Saturday’s tournament, Defiance defeated second-place Wapakoneta 225-189.5. Bath finished third (120), Elida placed fourth (99), while St. Marys (92.5) rounded out the top five in the final team standings. There were 10 teams at the tournament.
Defiance coach Pat Murphy, who was the longtime wrestling coach at Lima Central Catholic before coming to Defiance three years ago, was pleased at how well his team competed on Saturday.
“We wrestled about as well as we probably could have. We placed 11 out of 13. Overall, it was a pretty good performance,” Murphy said.
Murphy was named the WBL Coach of the Year.
Winning titles for Defiance included: Danny Assaf (106), Ryan Lantow (120), Gage Grunden (126), Fernando Chavez (132), Robbie Bowers (160) and John Seibert (285).
For Wapakoneta, Tyler Copeland (138), Dallas Ambos (145) and Landon Hall (195) all notched titles.
“Obviously, second place isn’t the standard,” Wapakoneta coach Jason Rostorfer said. “We’re not happy with that. But, we had some guys wrestle up and guys exceed their seeds. We had Tyler Copeland, Dallas Ambos and Landon Hall get individual titles, but it wasn’t enough. When you’re two weight classes down and don’t have opportunities to score, that’s tough.”
Elida’s Blaine Hunter won the title in the 113-pound weight class. Hunter, a junior, also hit a milestone on Saturday, winning his 100th career match.
“I didn’t think it would happen in my junior year,” Hunter said, who placed eighth at last year’s Division II state tournament. “I think last year helped out, having 43 wins.
“But, I’m more interested on how I do at sectionals this year. They have me ranked fourth in the state, and I wrestle the fifth- and sixth- ranked wrestlers there (at the sectional tournament).”
One of the most competitive matches of the tournament was the title bout at 145, which featured Wapakoneta’s Dallas Ambos and Bath’s Nate Stonehill
After getting down early, Ambos battled back to notch a hard-fought 5-3 decision over Stonehill.
“I knew he was going to hit firemen’s,” Ambos said. “I guess I just got messed up in the first period. He hit me with it and I went to my back. I knew I had to come back and it was going to be a big fight. I just fought as hard as I could.”
Shawnee’s Derek Kuhlman won the title at 152, defeating Wapakoneta’s Dylan Plaugher 6-0.
“I wrestled him once before,” Kuhlman said about Plaugher. “It was a close match before and I knew I had to have control this time.”
For Wapakoneta, not winning the WBL championship doesn’t diminish its season. The Redskins will quickly focus on getting ready for the upcoming postseason, which starts in two weeks.
“We never stop thinking about it,” Rostorfer said about the postseason tournament. “This (WBL tournament) is a big event, as far as the local area goes. So, those guys who won today and got first place, they’ve got a good first step toward the state tournament. And the guys who got beat in the finals, hopefully this motivates them.”
Others winning titles on Saturday included: St. Marys’ Jaden Heitkamp (170), Kenton’s Dylan Castle (182) and Bath’s Kyle Lhamon (220).
Delphos Jefferson slipped past both Allen East and Bluffton for the Northwest Conference title Saturday at Bluffton. Delphos Jefferson ended the tournament with 242 points, while Allen East and Bluffton both recorded 228 points.
Spencerville finished fourth (221), while Ada came in fifth (187). The rest of field included: Columbus Grove (168), Paulding (149.5) and Lincolnview (66).
Champions on Saturday included: Ada’s Chase Sumner (120) and Jarod Woodland (195); Allen East’s Luke Brown (138), Brandon Soules (152) and Schuyler Caprella (126); Columbus Grove’s Preston Brubaker (106); Delphos Jefferson’s Wyatt Place (132) and Tyler Foust (182); Spencerville’s Cole Bellows (145), Wyatt Krouskop (220) and Tyler Dues (285); Paulding’s Aaron Mock (160), Adam Deatrick (170) and Kage Seals (113).
Woodland and Deatrick were named NWC Co-Wrestlers of the Year
Allen East’s Mike Abbey was named the Coach of the Year in the NWC.
Lima Senior finished seventh as a team at Saturday’s Three Rivers athletic Conference Championships at Findlay.
Jaden Burk had the best finish for Lima Senior, placing fourth in the 120-pound weight class.