The Division II Sectional wrestling tournament, which got underway Friday evening, concluded Saturday afternoon at Washington High School.
A surge in the finals with five weight class champions lifted the Circleville Tigers to the top of the standings at day’s end.
The Tigers scored a total of 171.5 team points.
Miami Trace was second with 163.5 points, followed by Logan Elm in third with 155 points.
SCOL champions Clinton-Massie placed fourth with 148 points and the Washington Blue Lions were fifth with 110 points.
“I’m proud of our guys for taking second at the Sectional,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “We were in first after the semifinals. We just didn’t quite have a great finish. Circleville came out and really turned it up. They did a great job and they deserve to be the Sectional champions this year.”
“Going in, we were looking to be in the top three at the Sectional,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “We knew it would be pretty tough. We knew it was a difficult Sectional. Everything was really close, one through four and then five through eight. It speaks volumes about how much wrestling in this area in the Southeast and Southwest Districts has improved.”
Miami Trace will be sending seven to the District tournament while Washington will send four to the District.
The Division II District tournament begins Friday at 3:15 p.m. at Wilmington High School and will continue Saturday at 10 a.m. A top four placement at the District earns a wrestler the coveted honor of State qualification.
Miami Trace had one Sectional champion, junior Coby Hughes at 132 pounds. In the finals, he pinned Wes Davenport of Unioto in 1:15.
“Coby had a great tournament,” Fondale said. “The last time he wrestled Davenport, he won by, I believe, two points. Coby is wrestling the best he’s wrestled all year. The goal is to transition and continue that this week at the Districts.”
Hughes is now 33-8 on the season. He will wrestle freshman Steele Boysel (21-23) of Benjamin Logan in the first round at the District meet.
Senior Jared Fenner lost a close 2-1 decision at 195 pounds to Nick Vagnier of Logan Elm to place second.
“Jared had beaten this kid earlier in the year,” Fondale said. “He wrestled well, but it came down to about 30 seconds. All he needed to do was press the action and go forward and work a little bit harder. He’s not going to let that finals match bother him.”
Fenner, a State-qualifier last year, goes into the District tournament with a record of 40-7. He will face junior Aaron Fishcer (10-24) of Western Brown in the first round of the District.
At 106 pounds, freshman Storm Duffy lost a major decision, 14-1 to Trey Finnerty of Circleville to place second.
“It’s pretty good to be a Sectional runner-up going to Districts as a freshman,” Fondale said of 106-pounder Storm Duffy. “Storm came up through the Miami Trace wrestling program. If he wrestles the way he is capable, he has a chance to make it to the State tournament.”
Duffy (29-12) will wrestle sophomore Joey Dima (29-8) of Valley View in the first round of the Districts.
Senior Dereck Moore lost a tough 12-9 decision to Caleb Linton of Logan Elm at 152 pounds to take second.
“Dereck had previously beaten the Logan Elm kid,” Fondale said. “That was at the Fricker’s Duals. Dereck had a three-point lead with about 30 seconds left. He got into a scramble and just kind of got caught and that’s wrestling. Dereck’s excited. He’s focused. He’s not going to let that bother him as he prepares for the District. He’s had a goal ever since last year of being a State-qualifier.”
Junior Jack Anders won his third place match with a pin of Austin Miller of Hillsboro in 4:52.
“B.J. had a great tournament,” Fondale said. “There are a lot of good things to say about his season. To pin the Miller boy, that was a pretty good win. Miller is one of Hillsboro’s better wrestlers.”
Anders takes a record of 23-13 into the first round of the District where he will face senior Preston Bressler of Talawanda (26-13).
Junior Colin Wolffe pinned Conner Barton of Wilmington in 1:53 to place third at the Sectional in the heavyweight class.
“Colin came to us a little bit later in the season,” Fondale said. “Now, we’re entering the last two weeks of the season, so, he’s starting to get his conditioning where it needs to be.”
Wolffe (14-6) will go up against junior Seth Jermer of Western Brown (21-21).
Sophomore James Munro lost by technical fall (17-1) to Isaac Allen of Wilmington at 160 pounds to place fourth.
“James is a hard worker,” Fondale said. “As a sophomore, it’s quite an accomplishment to make it to the Districts. He’s very coachable.”
Miami Trace has two District alternates.
Junior Dylan Murphy placed fifth at 138 pounds and junior Dalton Bartley was fifth at 220.
“Murph’s had a good season,” Fondale said. “He was sick for about three weeks. He fell a little bit short to a kid he pinned earlier in the season.
“Bartley’s one of wrestlers who just struggles with his consistency,” Fondale said. “Last year, he won the SCOL. He’s going to have to continue to work hard in the weight room and the practice room. I know this was not the way he wanted to finish the season. The stars didn’t align for him this year.”
If, for any reason, one of the top four placers at the Washington Sectional is unable to compete this weekend at Wilmington, a fifth-place competitor takes the fourth spot and each wrestler would move up a notch.
For the Blue Lions, senior heavyweight Trevor Hicks improved his season record to 46-2 with three wins at the Sectional.
“Trevor went out and pretty much dominated,” Reid said. “He has a goal to get on the podium at the State. He looked really focused. He pinned everyone at the Sectional.”
Hicks won the final by pinning Lane Cluff of Hillsboro in 1:32.
Hicks will wrestle senior Andrew Profitt (11-6) of Taylor in the first round of the District meet.
Junior Zane Nelson made it to the finals, losing a tough 3-2 bout to Greg Brewer of Circleville at 145 pounds.
“Zane wrestled really smart,” Reid said. “He lost a close match to Brewer. That’s a kid we’ll probably see again. I’m confident Zane is going to improve in the areas we need to focus on. He’s going to be pushing for a State berth.”
Nelson will wrestle senior Trenton Scott (19-3) of Franklin in the opening round of the District.
Junior Levi Clay won his 120-pound match for third place, 10-7 over Blake Seaman of Clinton-Massie.
“That was really fantastic for Levi,” Reid said. “He hasn’t gotten to wrestle a full season since junior high. This is his first full season back and he hasn’t disappointed. I’m really proud of him. Levi he avenged a loss to Seaman from Clinton-Massie, who won the SCOL last week. Levi wrestled really smart. They wrestled earlier in the season and he beat Levi in overtime.”
Clay goes up against freshman Isaiah Wortham (24-6) of Chaminade-Julienne in his opening District match.
Junior Chris Conger won by default over Brandon Bohman of Waynesville at 152 pounds.
“They were in a really close match,” Reid said. “The kid couldn’t continue on. Chris wrestled really well, making it to the semifinals. He lost to Moore from Trace. He dropped down and beat a kid from Hillsboro and then finished third.”
Conger will wrestle junior Yima Nyamor (41-5) of Wyoming in the opening round of the District.
The Blue Lions have two District alternates. Senior Tre Thomas placed fifth at 126 with a pin over Mason Snyder of Wilmington in 2:36.
Senior Ethan Stewart was fifth at 160 pounds with a default over Phil Waters of McClain.
“We thought we could get Tre out (to Districts),” Reid said. “We knew it was a very difficult weight class. There were five (at 126) and all five were ranked in the top 20 in Ohio. He wrestled tough.
“Ethan was in another difficult weight class at 160,” Reid said. “He almost upset a returning State-qualifier from Wilmington, Isaac Allen, in the consolation semis. He lost 3-1. That kid (Allen) is extremely tough. He’s ranked in the top 15 in the state.
“We also had Connor Lane (a sophomore) place sixth at 106,” Reid said. “We had Kalub Wilkerson (a freshman) finished sixth at 132. Freshman Jaimie McCane was sixth at 195.
“We took 11 to the Sectional and nine of them placed, so, that was a really good day for us,” Reid said. “All of our guys who qualified have a great chance of making it to State. It’s a brand new week, your record starts at 0-0 again.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge that comes this week,” Reid said. “We’re going to practice with some other teams and work really hard.”
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1