TROY — The consolation semifinal match is better known as the go-to match.
If a wrestler wins this match at the district tournament, they advance to the state tournament.
If they lose, at best, they’re a state alternate.
The top four placers in each weight class at this weekend’s Division III district tournament at Troy’s Hobart Arena advance to the state tournament at Ohio State (March 8-10).
For at least a couple area wrestlers, winning Saturday’s consolation semifinal bout was the path for a trip to the state tournament.
Allen East had two wrestlers lose their respective semifinal matches Saturday and were forced to win their go-to match in order to compete in the third and fourth-place matches of their respective weight classes.
Allen East senior Lucas Freeman defeated Preble Shawnee’s Travis Howard in a consolation semifinal match, 11-9, to guarantee a top-four finish in the 138-pound weight class.
Freeman (37-13) went on to place fourth, as he lost a tough match to Middletown Madison’s Drew Price, 10-8.
“I wanted to go out big, I guess,” Freeman said with a smile. “I came a long way from last year. I didn’t even make it here (districts). I was fifth at sectionals — an alternate for districts. It’s an amazing feeling to come this far.”
Freeman’s teammate, Chase Caprella, defeated River Valley’s Jacob Edwards in his consolation bout at 113 pounds, 8-4, to notch his spot for the state tournament. Caprella went on to finish third Saturday, as he defeated Cincinnati Country Day’s Max Boaz 5-2. Caprella (38-2) will be making his second trip to the state tournament.
“Oh man, it’s crazy,” Caprella said in reference to the consolation semifinal match. “But, they say that ‘pressure makes diamonds.’”
Caprella wants to do more than just compete at the state tournament.
“(I want) to win it,” he said. “That’s the biggest goal.”
In the most highly-anticipated match of the day, Lima Central Catholic’s Joey Caprella faced Ada’s Chase Sumner in the finals of the 145-pound weight class. Saturday’s bout between these two was a rematch of last weekend’s sectional title match at LCC, in which Caprella won 12-3 over Sumner. Sumner (32-3), a senior, is a two-time state-placer. Caprella, a junior, (40-0) will be making his first trip to the state tournament.
In Saturday’s finals, Caprella pinned Sumner in the early moments of the third period.
“I knew what he (Sumner) was going to come out and do,” Caprella said. “I knew he would be on his offense right away. I thought I did a good job of slowing him down in the first period. (There were) a couple close calls of me going to my back, but I kept my composure. I knew he was going to get tired by the third period. The third period is when it happens.”
In the final team standings at Troy, Ottawa-Glandorf had the best team performance, finishing third with 99.5 points. Miami East won the title with 140 points, while Troy Christian (135) was a close second. Coldwater (seventh, 76) and Allen East (eighth, 75) were two other local teams that finished in the top 10 overall spots.
“The group, as a whole, is really well-rounded,” O-G coach Randy Ellerbrock said. “They wrestled really well. It is, what it is, down here. Team-wise, we wrestled really well.”
O-G’s Daniel Beemer continued his domination.
On Saturday, Beemer won the district title at 182 pounds, when he pinned Allen East’s Garrett Neth in the championship match. Beemer is now 37-0 on the season.
At least year’s state tournament, Beemer placed fourth at 195 pounds. The year before, he placed fifth at 182.
“My mission is to hopefully finish on top of that podium this coming week,” Beemer said. “Right now, since it’s postseason, you want to just get off the mat as quick as possible – hopefully not get injured and stay healthy.”
Beemer will be joined at the state tournament by teammates Grant Goecke (second, 160) and Danny Rosales (second, 170). Goecke looked to be in contention in his championship match against Indian Lake’s Dylan Knotts, but was forced to default with an injury, as he landed hard on his shoulder.
“I’m very hopeful it’s nothing serious,” Coach Ellerbrock said about Goecke’s injury. “Two years ago, he (Goecke) was a 15-win kid. So, he’s come a long way. He deserves to end better than that.”
Bluffton’s Deandre Nassar won the title at 195 Saturday. In the finals, Nassar (38-1) pinned Middletown Madison’s Zach Banks in the finals. Nassar will be making his second trip to the state tournament.
Allen East will be sending four wrestlers to the state tournament.
Besides Freeman, Caprella and Neth advancing to the state tournament — freshman Drake Carmean placed second at 120 at Troy. Carmean (36-5) was pinned in the second period by Miami East’s Graham Shore in the finals.
Columbus Grove will be sending its first wrestlers to the state tournament since the 2012 campaign.
Freshman Jeff Meyer (36-11) placed fourth at 285, while sophomore Dylan Sargent (40-9) finished fourth at 220.
“A freshman and sophomore – I’m really happy,” Columbus Grove coach Eric Siefker said. “It’s nice to get a chance to get them down there and get some experience.”
Other area wrestlers finishing in the top four of their respective weight classes and advancing to the state tournament were Indian Lake’s Cole Mefford (second, 220) and Connor Dixon (third, 182), and Coldwater’s Thomas Schwieterman (second, 285).
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.