LIMA — There’s always something to build on after an early-season tournament.
After Allen East came away with its second consecutive Allen County Tournament title Saturday at Lima Senior, longtime Allen East wrestling coach Mike Abbey had plenty to build on.
The Mustangs won six individual titles Saturday as they ended the tournament with 266 points. Shawnee finished a distant second with 199 points. Spencerville (160), Bluffton (134) and Delphos Jefferson (121) rounded out the top five squads in the 11-team field.
“We had some great early rounds,” Abbey said. “We had one loss, going into the finals; and we lost two more there. So, we ended up being 34-3 on the day. We lost a couple tough matches in the finals, but it’s OK. It’s December, and that’s why we come and do these matches and tournaments. … We come to these tournaments to get some good matches.
“We were pretty solid, today. I think we had six champs, and we wrestled pretty aggressively. But we lost our aggressiveness in the finals. So, we have to get in a little better shape. That’s what it comes down to. That’s what it’s going to take at districts and state, if we want to do the things we want to do.”
Hunter Sidle (113-pound weight class), Chase Miller (160), Blake Hershberger (170), Caleb Welch (195), Alek Winner (220) and Eli Criblez (285) all won titles Saturday for Allen East.
Hershberger, who is still undefeated on the season at 11-0, is looking forward to making another run to the state tournament. Last season, the season was halted right before the state tournament, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hershbeger notched his second Allen County title Saturday. He was a state-qualifier last season.
“It’s kind of exciting for me, because I wanted to get down to state last year, and I wasn’t able to do that,” Hershberger said. “So, it still feels like I’m pushing to reach my goal that I had last year. It would be exciting to get down there and be able to wrestle.”
In Saturday’s finals, Hershberger pinned Lima Senior’s Javier Brito-Diaz in just 39 seconds.
For Sidle, Saturday’s Allen County title was the first for the Allen East junior.
Sidle, who is a standout distance runner, said the transition from cross country (in the fall) to wrestling is not always an easy one.
“I always think I’ll be in shape at the beginning of the (wrestling) season, because of cross country, but it’s a different form of conditioning,” Sidle said.
“We do a lot of running (in wrestling). But wrestling is so different than cross country, because you use about every single muscle in your body in wrestling.”
Along with Carmean and Hershberger, Kade Wireman and Eli Criblez are returning state qualifiers for Allen East. On Saturday, Wireman placed second at 145.
The most highly anticipated match of Saturday’s tournament was the matchup between Elida junior Conner Douglass and Allen East senior Drake Carmean in the finals of the 138-pound weight class.
According to the latest rankings on borofanohio.net, Carmean was ranked No. 1 in Division III in the 138-pound weight class. Carmean has been a state-qualifier all three previous years.
On Saturday, in the round-robin format, Carmean and Douglass met earlier in the day, where Carmean defeated Douglass, 9-3.
However, in Saturday’s finals, Douglass (5-2) slipped out with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Carmean. It was Douglass’ third Allen County title.
“Since I wrestled him earlier in the day, I didn’t know that I would have to wrestle him again in the finals,” Douglass said. “When someone told me I thought, ‘Oh boy, I don’t know if I have this in me.’ … But sure enough, I did. This is definitely my favorite title so far.”
Douglass was named by the coaches as the MVP of Saturday’s tournament.
“Basically, I knew he was beatable, after that first match,” Douglass said about Carmean. “It was 9-3, but the score made it look like it wasn’t very close. We wrestled really hard in that first match. I got busted up. I just wanted to bring it to him.
“There were some things I changed up (between the first and second matches on Saturday). I have a good coaching staff, and everyone believed in me. That really helps. Drake is aggressive, and he’s strong. He’s always going to try to break you. He’s solid all the way around.”
Other champions on Saturday included: Bluffton’s Thayne Kleman (106) and Tayton Kleman (126), Chase Martin from Delphos St. John’s (182), Lima Central Catholic’s Gavin Caprella (120), Lima Senior’s Aaron Bowsher (145) and Shawnee’s Cory Beach (132) and Mason Adlesh (152).
NORTH LEWISBURG — Coldwater (181.5 points) finished first followed by Kenton (168) in the 12 team competition.
Coldwater’s Grant Heuing (145 pounds) and Caleb Stammen (195) and Kenton’s Anthony Hunt (138) and Carter Bays (170) won individual titles.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.