Wrestling: Lima area titles are decided

This past weekend, area wrestlers wrapped up the regular season at their respective league tournaments.

Here is a rundown of who won titles and what lies ahead for these wrestlers.

Western Buckeye League

Each year, Wapakoneta puts itself in the conversation of being one of the top wrestling programs in the Western Buckeye League.

Heading into this past weekend’s Western Buckeye League tournament at Kenton, Wapakoneta was in the driver’s seat for a league team championship with a perfect 9-0 regular-season dual record.

The WBL team championship is based on two criteria – the regular-season dual record and the league tournament.

At Saturday’s WBL tournament, Wapakoneta put its stamp on the league title as it dominated the field of teams, en route to its 19th WBL team championship in school history.

Wapakoneta ended Saturday’s tournament with 180.5 points. Celina was a distant second with 148 points, while St. Marys (144) and Van Wert (141.5) rounded out the top four teams in a field of 10.

Defiance has the most WBL team titles with 20.

Before this season, St. Marys had won the WBL championship for four consecutive seasons. Before this past Saturday’s tournament, Wapakoneta’s last WBL team crown was in 2019.

At the WBL tournament, Wapakoneta advanced seven wrestlers to championship matches and came away with six winners.

Zane Russell (106-pound weight class), Caden Mellott (120), Gavin Ridenour (132), Reece Schnarre (165), Wyatt Buell (175), and Jace Knous (215) were the individual champions for Wapakoneta on Saturday.

At last year’s Division II state tournament, Mellott placed sixth in the 113-pound weight class and Knous finished seventh at 190. The top eight placers in each weight class at the state tournament earn all-Ohio status.

“If someone would have told me this morning that we were going to score that many points and have six individual champs, I definitely would have taken that,” longtime Wapakoneta coach Jason Rostorfer said after winning the WBL tournament. “Everybody on the team scored points today. Everybody contributed to the team total. A lot of people consider wrestling an individual sport, but they don’t realize the team aspect of it. We had 13 guys score points (on Saturday), and that’s what happens. Those young guys who did not get on the (awards) podium, did their job. They scored some points for us, and it adds up.”

Other WBL champions crowned on Saturday included Celina’s Zach Greber (144), Defiance’s Mason Ducat (138) and Michael Waltz (150), Kenton’s Anthony Hunt (157), St. Marys’ Cole Donovan (190) and Tate Hisey (126), Van Wert’s Joaquin Estrada (113) and Breese Bollenbacher (285).

Wapakoneta, along with most of the area Division II teams, begin their postseason at this coming Saturday’s sectional tournament at Defiance High School.

The top four placers in each weight class at the sectional tournament will advance to the district tournament. Then, the top four placers in each weight class at the district tournament advance to the state tournament at Ohio State (March 8-10).

Northwest Conference

Last season, Columbus Grove made history when it notched its first-ever NWC team wrestling championship.

This past Saturday, Columbus Grove added one more conference championship to its resume, winning the NWC tournament at Ada with 286.5 points. Allen East finished second with 263 points, while Bluffton (212.5) and Crestview (142) rounded out the top four teams in a field of eight.

Allen East leads the conference in team championships with 11.

Boat Thompson (132) and Kyle Lathrop (165) won individual titles for Columbus Grove on Saturday.

Longtime Columbus Grove coach Eric “Ernie” Siefker said the upperclassmen have paved the way for his program.

“Our (present) seniors were the first ones to win a league title in junior high for us. Then our (present) juniors came back and won it the second year. The juniors won it back-to-back in junior high. So, now they’re believing they can do it as a team, instead of just as an individual,” Siefker said.

Last season, Columbus Grove also won the Division III sectional team title.

“We’re trying to repeat what we did last year (win both NWC and sectional titles). We will be fighting for that again,” Siefker said.

Another key factor for Columbus Grove’s success is the depth of the team. “In all but two weight classes we’ve got at least two kids in each weight class, if not three,” Siefker said. “We’ve had a lot of wrestle-offs.”

Other individual NWC champions at Saturday’s NWC tournament included Ada’s Clayton McClain (150), Allen East’s Aizik Myers (113), Jordan Neal (144), Trenton Gatchell (157), Braylen Paxson (175), Brogan Paxson (215) and Kyden Culbertson (285), Bluffton’s Branden Cross (120) and Kyle Basil (190), Crestview’s Gavin Grubb (126) and Lincolnview’s Joey Sawyer (138).

Columbus Grove and many of the area Division III teams will compete at this coming Saturday’s sectional tournament at Lima Central Catholic.

Toledo City League

Lima Senior placed sixth out of eight teams at this past Saturday’s Toledo City League Championships at Start High School. The Spartans scored 29 points. Start won the team title with 192.5 points.

Lima Senior’s Aaron Parrish won the title in the 157-pound weight class.

Other top-four placers for Lima Senior included Corbin Phillips (third, 106) and Noah Talbert (fourth, 150).

Lima Senior will compete at this Saturday’s Division I sectional tournament at Clay High School.

Girls pre-regional tournaments begin this weekend

Lima area girls will begin their trek to the state wrestling tournament as the pre-regional tournaments kick off this weekend at various sites around the state.