SPENCERVILLE — Longtime Allen East wrestling coach Mike Abbey is looking for results this season from his young squad.
At Saturday’s Allen County Tournament at Spencerville, Abbey got the most out of his team, as all nine of his filled weight classes produced, en route to the team title.
Allen East won Saturday’s tournament with 239 points. Shawnee (207) finished second, while Bluffton (205) was a close third. Elida (164.5) came in fourth, while Bath (154) rounded out the top five teams in the 10-team field.
Allen East ended the day with four champions, two second-place finishers, two third-place finishers and one fourth-place finisher.
Jordan Kennedy (106-pound weight class), Chase Caprella (113), Drake Carmean (120) and Garrett Neth (182) all won titles for Allen East.
Saturday was Allen East’s first Allen County team championship since the 2010-11 campaign.
“We had nine guys in the lineup today (out of 14 weight classes), and I had six guys in the top two,” Abbey said. “So, six out of nine in the finals – not too bad. We always want to be a little bit better. We could have been a little better in a couple matches; but overall, it was a good day.”
Despite being young, Allen East does boast some experience as well. There were two seniors in the lineup for the Mustangs on Saturday.
“We’ve got some good quality kids,” Abbey said. “I have five or six super-duper gamers, who are pretty solid. Overall, we have 13 on the team. They’re definitely quality kids. I wish I had a few more to fill a few more weight classes. But, we’re going to just keep working.”
Probably the most-anticipated match on Saturday was the 152-pound battle in the finals, between Lima Senior’s Naeem Russell and Lima Central Catholic’s Joey Caprella.
With the score tied at 1 apiece, Caprella got back points on Russell, to take a 3-1 lead. However, in the waning moments of regulation, Russell was able to score on a reversal, to knot the match at 3-3 and force overtime. In overtime, Caprella caught Russell on a shot, rode his momentum, and pinned him for the win.
Caprella, who is now 14-0 on the season, was named the most valuable wrestler by the coaches for Saturday’s tournament.
“When I got on top (in the third period), I was kind of like, ‘Well shoot, there’s the match’,” Caprella said about his bout with Russell. “And when he got that reversal, I thought there was more time left. Time goes fast when you’re in that situation. So, I had to get it done in overtime.”
Bath’s Collin Mell kept his undefeated record intact, as he steamrolled through Saturday’s competition, en route to the title at 145 pounds.
Mell (11-0) defeated Bluffton’s James Badial-Luna in the championship match with a tech fall, 19-2. Last season, Mell made it to the state tournament in Division II.
“I’m just looking forward to March,” Mell said with a grin. “I just want to go out there and dominate the rest of the season.”
Bluffton’s Deandre Nassar had no trouble in notching his second consecutive Allen County title. On Saturday, Nassar (9-0) pinned Shawnee’s Soloman Bryant in the finals at 195.
Nassar, a junior, is looking forward to getting back to the state tournament. Last season, Nassar went 1-2 at the Division III state tournament.
“I think the nerves got to me a lot,” Nassar said about his first appearance in the state tournament, last season. “So, I think this year it’s going to be a lot better, if I’m able to get down there.”
Other champions on Saturday were Bath’s Fielden Deeds (220), Elida’s Bailey Gipson (132) and Ethan Arbogast (160), Lima Central Catholic’s Jordan Hinegardner (138), Shawnee’s Ethan Anderson (170) and Bobby Grothjan (285), and Spencerville’s Garrett Jones (126).
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.