CELINA — Longtime Wapakoneta head wrestling coach Jason Rostorfer has always preached to his athletes the importance of finishing on top.
At Saturday’s Celina Lions Wrestling Invitational at the Celina Fieldhouse, Rostorfer’s squad did just that.
Heading into the finals of Saturday’s invitational, Wapakoneta was sitting in third place in the team standings. There were 2.5 points separating Celina and Wapakoneta, with Vandalia-Butler sitting in between the two teams in second place.
In the finals, Wapakoneta finished on top in nine of its matches, en route to winning the team title.
Wapakoneta finished the day with 273.5 points. Vandalia-Butler was second (257) and Celina was third (247.5). Coldwater (203) and Napoleon (136) rounded out the top five squads in the 14-team field.
In the finals, Wapakoneta won five titles. Caden Mellott (113-pound weight class), Antwain Adams (138), Jarrett Mullen (144), Wyatt Buell (150) and Jace Knous (190) all notched titles for the Redskins.
In the other placement matches for Wapakoneta, Zach Steinke (third, 132), Corbin Mitchell (third, 157), Nate Buell (third, 165) and Andrew Mosler (third, 215) all won their respective bouts.
“We spend a lot of time at practice every day,” Rostorfer said. “We always talk about finishing on top the last 30 seconds (of the match). It was kind of the same analogy, today. You can go out and win the first couple rounds (of the pool format), but you have to win in rounds five and six.
“It takes a lot of mental toughness, because it’s a long day with a lot of tough matches. Going into the finals, we were in third place. So, we had a lot of matches that we had to win. … A lot of the matches were toss-ups. But these guys work hard at practice. They don’t always like it. … Sometimes we really have to get on them. The results are on the mat. These guys wrestled their hearts out today.”
Caden Mellott, a sophomore, jump-started Wapakoneta in the finals by defeating Vandalia-Butler’s Jadon Gyan, 8-1.
“I saw him (Gyan) at our holiday tournament in Vandalia,” Mellott said. “I wrestled him in the semis (semifinals). We went at it. … It was pretty close; and I stuck (pinned) him. This time, he really didn’t get anything on me, except for the escape (one point). I wrestled a lot better this time.”
Mellott said his team realized that Saturday’s invitational was going to be a battle.
“Coming in here, we knew it was going to be really tight with Vandalia-Butler and Celina. I knew that I would have a tough match, at least with him (Gyan),” Mellott said.
Another young Wapakoneta wrestler that stood out Saturday was freshman Antwain Adams. In his championship match in the 138-pound weight class, Adams recorded an 8-0 major-decision over Celina’s Zack King.
“I wrestled really well. You want to go at them. … You want to win,” Adams said with a grin.
Rostorfer said his team will enjoy this title, but said the celebration will be short-lived.
“We’re going to enjoy this today, because we always say, ‘Just stick to the game plan and good things will happen’,” Rostorfer said. “So, when you’re able to win a tournament like this, it fortifies the message you are sending to your team. We’re going to enjoy this, because they deserve it. But on Monday, we’ll give them a reality check. We always talk about districts and state. Of course, you have to have a good league tournament to have a good sectional draw.”
Earlier in the day, Celina senior Zack King notched his 100th career victory in the 138-pound weight class.
“It was definitely a goal, for sure – one of my many goals this year,” King said. “Now, I can focus on WBLs (Western Buckeye League), sectionals, districts and state.”
Also notching their 100th career win on Saturday was Celina’s Gavin Brown (165), Wapakoneta’s Corbin Mitchell (157) and Coldwater’s Will Fox (215).
Others winning titles Saturday included Antwerp’s Eli Reinhart (157), Bath’s Nolan Deppe (165), Celina’s Tyler Carlin (175), Coldwater’s Brady Hamilton (126) and Will Fox (215), Clayton Badida (106) of Connor (Ky.), Vandalia-Butler’s Noah Moreland (120), Parker Lee (132) and Zach Back (285).
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.