Wrestling: Two Lima area girls make debut at state

COLUMBUS — Two area wrestlers made history Friday at the state wrestling tournament.

At this year’s 86th annual Ohio High School Athletic Association boys wrestling state tournament, the girls competed in their own OHSAA sanctioned state tournament in conjunction with the boys tournament at Ohio State’s Jerome Schottenstein Center.

Friday was the first day of the three-day tournament.

Celina sophomore Kenzie Miracle (34-8) notched a win in her first-round match Friday, defeating Vermillion’s Lauren Ficker in a major decision, 12-4, in the 105-pound weight class.

“It was huge,” Miracle said about her first match at the Schottenstein Center. “Just walking out of the tunnel (of the Schottenstein Center) and seeing all these people when I’m down on the mat, was big.”

Miracle will face Columbus Academy’s Cecelia Cece Reitter (23-4) in today’s quarterfinals. This year, the two have faced off twice and have split the two meetings.

Miracle is coached by her father, James Miracle, who is the head coach for the Celina boys team as well. He was a state qualifier in 1999, while wrestling for Celina.

“This should be an interesting match,” Coach Miracle said about his daughter’s quarterfinal match.

This is actually Miracle’s second state tournament. Last year, the girls state tournament (not sanctioned by the OHSAA) ran separately at Hilliard-Davidson High School.

Ada freshman Marley Bulerin (30-7), the other area state-qualifier, lost to Avon Lake’s Layla Patterson in her first-round match Friday, 12-6, in the 125-pound weight class. In her consolation match, Bulerin lost to Heath’s Taryn Gamble by way of a tech fall, 17-0, and was eliminated from the tournament.

Allen East wrestlers advance

Allen East brought three athletes down to the state tournament.

After the first day, the Mustangs have two of the three still alive in the championship bracket in Division III. The third athlete has an opportunity to wrestle back and eventually place.

Senior Kade Wireman (47-4), who placed third at last year’s Division III state tournament in the 150-pound weight class, won his first-round match Friday in the 157-pound weight class.

Wireman decisioned South Range’s Jacob Starkey, 6-2.

“Right now, it (first-round win) is pretty big,” Wireman said. “None of these kids in my weight class are bad. So, winning a match like that – where I’m not letting him score points on me and I’m just giving it to him – is pretty good for me. He’s a little stronger kid, but I took it to him; and I came out with the win.”

Wireman, a four-time state qualifier, said it took a little while to settle in.

“I had to get my feet under me. I say that I don’t get nervous before my first match, but when you’re in the Schottenstein Center trying to win a state title, everybody gets nervous in their first match. … You never know what can happen. After I got my feet under me in the second period, I felt pretty good. If I lose, my goal is not reachable. I have to come back and keep working harder,” Wireman said with a grin.

Wireman will face Barnesville’s Ayden King in today’s quarterfinals.

Allen East senior Eli Criblez (46-1) dominated his first opponent on Friday. Criblez pinned Westfall’s Hunter Probasco, late in the first period in the 285-pound weight class.

Last year, Criblez placed fourth at 285. Two years ago, he finished runner-up.

“I just have to focus on my first match tomorrow, Criblez said about Saturday’s quarterfinal match against Liberty Center’s Owen Box (36-2). That’s all I care about. I’m not worried about the state finals right now.”

Allen East junior Trenton Gatchell (49-8), bounced back after his first-round loss Friday and won his first consolation match.

“Both seniors went out and wrestled pretty solid,” longtime Allen East head coach Mike Abbey said. “Eli went out and dominated right from the start. … He had a takedown within the first 15 seconds, dominated and ended up getting a pin.

“Kade had a kid from South Range. … He was a tough kid. … He’s a strong kid. He wrestled well. So, both seniors are off to the quarterfinals. So, they can go back to the hotel, rest a little bit and get ready for tomorrow morning.”

Abbey gave some advice to Gatchell after he lost his first-round match. Besides aiming to get a spot on the awards podium on Sunday, Gatchell has another goal within his reach.

“I told him, ‘Keep your head up. It takes two (losses) to depart’,” Abbey said. “We have to win two more matches to tie the all-time single-season record (50 wins at Allen East). If we get to Sunday, then we have the 50 (wins).”

Mellott in quarterfinals

In Division II, Wapakoneta sophomore Caden Mellott (42-7) advanced to today’s quarterfinals after he recorded a 13-3 major-decision over Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy’s Rocco Czarnecki.

Mellott will face West Holmes’ Mason Taylor in today’s quarterfinal match.

“I’ve been on big stages before, like junior high state, but this is high school state. … It’s a little different.” Mellott said with a smile. “It feels really good, winning the first match. I just have to win one more, then I’m a placer. Coming in, that was the number one goal for me.”

Longtime Wapakoneta head coach Jason Rostorfer said he gave his sophomore wrestler some advice before his first-round match.

“That was kind of our pre-match talk: ‘Don’t let the environment get to you. It’s a big stage. There’s a lot of people. But when you walk out on the mat, wrestling is wrestling’,” Rostorfer said. “So, we talked to him a little bit, and he took it to heart. He had a nice 13-3 win. He stayed solid and didn’t try to force anything and get himself in trouble. Like I said, ‘Just win that match right in front of you, and you will advance to the next round’.”

Jace Knous (44-10) went 1-1 Friday at 190, to advance in the consolation bracket. Corbin Mitchell (47-7) went 0-2 Friday at 157, and bowed out of the tournament for Wapakoneta.

St. Marys duo triumph

St. Marys sophomore Tate Hisey (41-0) made quick work of Marlington’s Aiden Bean in his first match Friday, pinning Bean in 1 minute, 15 seconds into the Division II bout.

Hisey will face Chillicothe’s Cannan Smith in today’s quarterfinals.

Last season, Hisey placed fifth in the 106-pound weight class in the D-II state tournament.

Teammate Bo Hertenstein (23-10) pinned his first-round opponent Friday, Buckeye’s Nick Brunst, early in the third period in the 144-pound weight class.

Hertenstein will take on Watterson’s Mitchell Younger in his quarterfinal match.

Fox, Pummel get wins

In Division III, Coldwater senior Will Fox (40-4) defeated Genoa Area’s Ethan Crawford in his first-round match, 5-3. Fox will face Mogadore’s Tyler Shellenbarger in today’s quarterfinals.

Indian Lake sophomore Owen Pummel (40-6) advanced to the quarterfinals with a 5-3 decision over Caldwell’s Marshal Sayre on Friday. Pummel will face Garfield’s Keegan Sell in today’s quarterfinals.

Johnson rebounds

Spencerville’s Logan Johnson went 1-1 Friday in the Division III, 215-pound weight class and advanced in the consolation bracket.

Johnson (41-9) lost his first-round match to Liberty-Benton’s Gavin Gillig, 2-1. In his first consolation match, Johnson won by way of a forfeit.

Teammate Maddox Jurek went 0-2 Friday at 190 and bowed out of the tournament.

Johnson was a heavyweight last season as a junior.

“Logan has lost nearly 100 pounds,” Spencerville head coach Jon Brewer said. “He got tired of getting thrown around by big heavyweights. … He’s a bull. He’s put his mind to it, and he really puts the work in. I’m really proud of him.”

Said Johnson, “It (state tournament) is a great experience. It’s surreal. It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to since I was a little kid.”

Ducat on course

Defiance sophomore Mason Ducat (48-4) defeated Circleville’s Jacob Johnson by way of a tech fall, 20-4 at 132, to advance to the quarterfinals in Division II.

Others bow out

Columbus Grove’s AJ Schafer (D-III, 215), Edward Kessen (D-III, 132) from Delphos St. John’s, and Ada’s Clayton McClain (D-III, 144) went o-2 and were eliminated.

Mark Altstaetter wrote this story for LimaScores.com. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.