BLUFFTON — Longtime Allen East wrestling coach Mike Abbey is cautiously optimistic about this season.
Allen East returns a strong core of starters from last year’s team.
However, Abbey realizes his athletes cannot afford to rest on their laurels.
The Mustangs definitely did not take any of their matches for granted Saturday as they steamrolled through the Allen County Tournament at Bluffton High School, en route to a convincing victory against the rest of the field.
Allen East ended the one-day tournament with 400.5 points. Northwest Conference foe Spencerville was a distant second with 215 points.
Shawnee (210), Delphos Jefferson (190) and Delphos St. John’s (138) rounded out the top five squads in the 11-team field.
“I think we were top three in every weight class,” Abbey said. “We scored 400 points today. … That might be a first for us, in my 21 years (of coaching). I was really happy about that. But we could have been better today. We’re really not satisfied unless we’re wrestling at the top of our game. We have a couple months to be at the top of our game. So, we’re going to keep working at it.
“A couple weeks ago, we won Sidney (McCracken Invitational). Now, we’ve won this one. So, we’re doing alright. I’m pretty happy for the guys.”
Winning titles for Allen East on Saturday were Jordan Kennedy (120 pounds), Drake Carmean (126), Chase Miller (152), Blake Hershberger (160), Garrett Neth (195) and Brennan Davies (285).
Neth and Davies recorded their 100th career wins during Saturday’s tournament.
Last season, Neth and Carmean placed at the Division III state tournament. Neth placed sixth at 195, while Carmean placed sixth at 120 at the state tournament. Davies went 1-2 at state in the heavyweight class.
On Saturday, Carmean (9-0) pinned Shawnee’s Cory Beach in the 126-pound championship match to record his third Allen County title.
Carmean has set some high goals for him, personally, and his team.
“I’m shooting for first. That’s what I want – a state championship for Allen East,” Carmean said. “We have a pretty solid team this year. We have a lot of young guys. Our sophomores and freshmen are all pretty decent. They all work hard in the (wrestling) room. They all just want to come out and compete.”
Lima Central Catholic senior Chase Caprella notched his third Allen County title Saturday.
In the 132-pound championship match, Caprella (11-0) major-decisioned Spencerville’s Jay Goetz, 14-5.
“He’s pretty strong,” Caprella said about Goetz. “I just came out and wrestled tough. I wrestled him earlier, so I kind of knew what was coming at me. I just had to adjust. … I think I made the right adjustments, today.
“I wore him out. There was an injury timeout in the second period. … I think that was the breaking point in the match.”
Caprella, a three-time state-qualifier, has some lofty goals set for this season.
“(To be) at the top of the podium at the Schott (Jerome Schottenstein Center at Ohio State, at the state tournament). That’s always been the goal; and it’s still going to be the goal for this year,” Caprella said.
Elida sophomore Conner Douglass (138) recorded his second Allen County title Saturday, as he decisioned LCC senior SeVaughn Carter, 5-0. Last season, Douglass won the Allen County title at 126.
Saturday, Douglass (11-1) was able to control Carter for most of the match.
“I wrestled him last year at the Lima Senior (Spartan) Invite, and I beat him there,” Douglass said. “This year, I wanted to put a little more gap between us. Last year, I think it was 2-1. … It was 5-0 this year.”
Lima Senior sophomore Aaron Bowsher, won his second Allen County crown Saturday.
In the championship bout at 145, Bowsher (8-1) pinned Shawnee’s Trent Fairburn, early in the second period.
“I knew I had to go on the offense this year to secure it,” Bowsher said.
Also winning titles Saturday were Bath’s Zachary Simpson (182), Bluffton’s Thayne Kleman (106), Chase Martin (170) of Delphos St. John’s, LCC’s Gavin Caprella (113) and Spencerville’s Brandon Dues (220).
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.