MIDDLE POINT — Sometimes switching to another sport can be a positive thing.
For Spencerville sophomore Brandon Dues, switching from basketball to wrestling his freshman year, appears to have turned out to be a great move.
Dues, who also is a lineman on the football team and a thrower in track, took first place at Saturday’s Lancer Invitational at Lincolnview.
In the 220-pound weight class, Dues steamrolled through the competition Saturday, winning his first four matches (three pins), before taking on Celina’s Cory Fortkamp in the championship match, where he won 10-4. Fortkamp came into Saturday’s championship match with four pins on the day.
“I played basketball my seventh- and eighth-grade years,” Dues said. “I got sixth last year (at the Lancer Invitational). So, this was a big improvement from last year.”
Dues feels there’s a distinct advantage in being a multi-sport athlete.
“I think working in one sport helps with the other sports,” Dues said. “In each sport you learn something different. Like in football, you learn how to break those blocks, or how to get those tackles. I think it all helps, especially with hand movement. In football and wrestling, it really helps.”
“Also, having quick feet helps you not only in football, but in track. I throw the discus and shot, and having quick feet really helps. Footwork is one of the biggest things about wrestling. You can have strength and know how to make the moves, but if you have (good) footwork, you can get out of and get in to anything.”
Despite being relatively new to wrestling, Dues has high aspirations.
“I was a district alternate last year,” Dues said. “I want to take it one step at a time. Of course, everyone’s goal is to win state. I want to be a district qualifier. I want to go in there, be a player and hopefully become a state-qualifier. But, it’s one match at a time.”
As a team, Spencerville finished third in Saturday’s 11-team field. Parkway ran away with the team title with 231 points. Van Wert was second (182), while Spencerville was a close third (179). Celina (175.5) and Lehman Catholic (140) rounded out the top five teams.
Dues’ teammate Jay Goetz steamrolled the field Saturday, en route to winning his third consecutive Lancer Invitational title.
Goetz, a junior, won the title at 138 Saturday. Last season, Goetz won the title at 132, and his freshman season he won the crown at 113.
In his title match Saturday against Hicksville’s Jack Figgins, Goetz recorded his fifth pin of the day, as he put Figgins on his back late in the second period.
“I’ve never met him (Figgins) before,” Goetz said. “He’s pretty strong. He liked to throw in and try to get that cradle. So, it was kind of hard to get out of that.”
Along with Dues and Goetz winning titles Saturday for Spencerville, teammate Michael Aldrich won at 285.
Parkway wins again
When Kevin Browning started the Parkway wrestling program seven years ago (first three years as a club sport), he wasn’t sure how long it would take before he would see his athletes standing at the top of the awards podium.
Well, it’s starting to become a regular occurrence for the Parkway program.
At Saturday’s Lancer Invitational, Browning witnessed his team notch its second consecutive Lancer Invite team title.
“We went from fifth place three years ago to first place, and then to first place again,” Browning said. “So, I think we’ve turned the corner a little bit.”
Browning’s son Preston, won the title Saturday at 132. Also winning a title for the Panthers was Ethan Meyer (145).
Last season, Preston Browning had some bad luck, suffering a season-ending injury in the postseason. This season, Browning wants to make a deep run in the postseason.
“I made it to districts and the very first match I broke my arm,” Preston Browning said. “I spent the rest of the weekend in the hospital. So, I’m hoping to go back (to districts) this year, place and get to state.”
Other champions Saturday included Antwerp’s Aiden McAlexander (120), Randall Mills (126) and Tanner Wentland (152), Celina’s Grant Grieshop (113), Defiance’s Gavino Martinez (106), Delphos Jefferson’s Kane Plescher (195),
Lehman Catholic’s Noah Young (160) and Ethan Knapke (170) and Van Wert’s Malachi Battle (182).