LIMA — To say Allen East has some horses on its wrestling team, might be a play on words.
However, once the Mustangs get on the wrestling mats, they tend to look more like stallions.
At Saturday’s finals of the 17th annual Lima Central Catholic Thunderbird Invitational at Msgr. Edward C. Herr Gymnasium, Allen East finished an impressive second out of 41 teams. State-power Waynedale slipped past Allen East for the team title, 246.5-229.5.
Eastwood (148), Blanchester (143) and Covington (131) rounded out the top five teams.
Bluffton, which finished 12th, had the next-best area team performance in the two-day invitational with 76 points.
Allen East had five wrestlers compete in Saturday’s championship matches. At the end of the day, the Mustangs had four wrestlers crowned champions of their respective weight classes.
“That was great (the finals), most definitely,” longtime Allen East coach Mike Abbey said. “(Having) five guys in the finals – for first and second – I think is the most ever in the finals for us; and we (also) had seven on the podium. I’m quite proud of the guys.
“I had all 13 guys wrestling today. Everybody scored points for us. It’s a team thing, but I’ve got some bullets, no doubt about it. We’re pretty fortunate. We need to stay healthy and keep working hard. … It’s coming along. The next one is a couple weeks away, when we get to the state duals. We’ll see how that all goes. It’s been a fun year, so far.”
Drake Carmean (126), Kade Wireman (138), Chase Miller (152) and Garrett Neth (195) all won titles for Allen East on Saturday. Brennan Davies, a heavyweight for Allen East, finished second.
“We were solid,” Abbey said. “We won some big matches out here, today. Four champs, by far, are the most ever (at the Thunderbird Invite).”
Carmean (25-2), who placed sixth in the 120-pound weight class at last year’s Division III state tournament, defeated Eastwood’s Brandon Hahn (33-2) in the finals at 126 on Saturday. Last year, Hahn placed fourth at the Division III state tournament (120).
Hahn has been a thorn in the side for Carmean. Saturday’s victory was Carmean’s first one over Hahn in his high school career.
Most recently, Hahn defeated Carmean at last week’s Van Buren Invitational. So, Saturday’s victory for Carmean was bittersweet.
“He got me in the last 30 seconds (at Van Buren). … He scored two (points) and I ended up losing 3-1,” Carmean said in reference to last week’s loss to Hahn. “I’ve actually lost to him three times in my high school career. This is the first time I was able to come back and beat him.
“It makes me feel really good that all my hard work in the (wrestling) room is starting to pay off. He (Hahn) placed fourth last year (at state), and I took sixth. I just want to get higher on the podium this year (at the state tournament). That’s what keeps driving me to work harder and harder.”
For Allen East freshman Kade Wireman (28-4), winning a title Saturday is hopefully a sign of more good things to come. Wireman pinned Ayersville’s Garrett Shreve early in the second period in the title match at 138.
“It’s always my goal (to win a title). I’m working to be the best that I can be,” Wireman said. “So, I’m hoping to just keep winning.”
Allen East senior Garrett Neth (24-1) had little trouble in winning the title at 195 on Saturday. Neth pinned Waynedale’s Cam Jordan, early in the second period.
“I felt comfortable at the beginning of the match,” Neth said. “I got a take down. I felt like I had control of him. I got the turn, and that was it.”
Last season, Neth placed sixth in the 195-pound weight class at the Division III state tournament.
For Lima Central Catholic, it’s been the Caprella brothers who have been making opponents stand up and take notice.
On Saturday, sophomore Gavin Caprella (27-1) won the title at 106, while Chase Caprella (27-2), a senior, won the crown at 132.
Chase Caprella is a three-time state qualifier. In Saturday’s finals, the elder Caprella looked to be in prime form as he won a 9-0 major decision over Waynedale’s Storm Stanley.
“I feel really good,” Chase Caprella said. “I’m always looking to score and I want to keep getting better. I think that was a pretty quality opponent. It was good to get a win over him.”
Gavin Caprella said it’s always exciting to be able to win a match with his brother looking on.
“I love it,” Gavin Caprella said. “Hearing him (Chase) and my coaches yelling from the corner – it just motivates me.”
Other champions Saturday included Ashland Crestview’s Caden Hill (285), Blanchester’s James Peters (220), Carey’s Tanner May (182), Lakota’s Trevor
Franks (170), Otsego’s Jake Manley (120) and Jesse Wright (145), Wayne Trace’s Jarrett Hornish (113), Waynedale’s Peyton Lemon (160).
Manley was named by the coaches as the most valuable wrestler of the tournament.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.