DEFIANCE — Winning this year’s Western Buckeye League title in wrestling sort of resembles a two-part series.
Part one — the WBL Championships — took place Saturday at Defiance.
St. Marys pulled away for the tournament team title on Saturday, outscoring second-place Celina 203.5-167.5. Wapakoneta finished a very close third (164). Shawnee (81) and Elida (74.5) rounded out the top five squads in the 10-team field.
Part two will play out this coming week, as the WBL teams complete their respective dual schedules. Due to COVID, the tournament was pushed back a week earlier.
The Western Buckeye League overall team title is determined on both the regular-season dual records, and the WBL tournament placing - each worth 50 percent of the overall title.
Celina will host St. Marys in a dual this coming Tuesday, which will determine the overall WBL champion. Heading into Saturday’s WBL Championships, both Celina and St. Marys are undefeated in duals at 8-0.
If St. Marys defeats Celina on Tuesday, then St. Marys will have the outright WBL title. If Celina wins, the two teams will share the league crown.
Saturday marks the second consecutive season St. Marys has won the WBL tournament. Last season, St. Marys won both the tournament and overall WBL title.
On Saturday, St. Marys had seven wrestlers win titles. Michael Crites (106), Tyler Hisey (113), Trevor Hisey (120), Mason Saeler (160), Stashu Patterson (182), Carter Sharpe (195) and Braden Saeler (285) all won titles for the Roughriders.
“The last couple weeks, we worked really hard,” longtime St. Marys head coach Larry Gruber said. “I don’t even know what to say right now. Coming in, you have a lot of doubts. But things can fall in place for you once somebody wins, or somebody else wins. … You can get on a roll.”
St. Marys started off Saturday’s finals in strong fashion, winning its first three title matches.
Crites began with a win for the Roughriders in the 106-pound weight class.
In the championship bout, Crites (41-1) defeated Defiance’s Treven Rittenhouse (28-5) in overtime, 6-4.
“I got the seed I wanted, which was first,” Crites said. “The first match was a good warm up. Second match, I had to turn it up a little, and I got the pin. But in the third match, I knew it was going to be a battle.”
Tyler Hisey (37-1) followed Crites with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Wapakoneta’s Colin Mellott (28-2) in the 113-pound championship match.
“He (Mellott) is a senior and this is the last time I would ever wrestle him,” Tyler Hisey said. “So, I went out there thinking that I was going to beat him. I figured I might as well give him all I got.”
Hisey, a two-time WBL champion, said he will drop down to the 106-pound weight class for the postseason tournament.
Tyler Hisey’s twin brother Trevor Hisey (37-4), followed that match with a victory in the 120-pound weight class. He pinned Celina’s Derrick Slater in just 56 seconds to notch his third WBL title. The Hisey twins are juniors.
“I just wanted those bonus points,” Trevor Hisey said. “Our team needed them to stay in first place. So, I just went after those bonus points.”
Both Hiseys qualified for the state tournament last season. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was halted right before the state tournament was supposed to take place.
Elida junior Conner Douglass (20-2) notched his third WBL title on Saturday, as he recorded a 9-0 major decision over Bath’s Ezekiel Burkholder (16-6) in the title match at 138.
“It’s funny, because Zeke (Burkholder) is one of my best friends,” Douglass said. “He’s a good wrestler. … But you just really never like wrestling your friends for something big. Zeke is definitely stronger than me for sure. I’m always trying to pin him. I can never get a good pinning combination on him, because of how strong he is. He refuses to be on both shoulder blades.”
Others winning titles Saturday were Elida’s Brock Lyons (220), Celina’s Landon Engle (132), Jaden King (152) and Tyler Carlin (170), Shawnee’s Ethan Scurlock (145), Wapakoneta’s Nate Roa (126).
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.