A total of 13 wrestlers from Fayette County have qualified to the District tournament coming up Friday and Saturday at Wilmington High School.
Eight wrestlers from Miami Trace High School and five from Washington High School will be competing beginning Friday at 3 p.m.
Each school also has one District alternate.
From Miami Trace, senior B.J. Anders is a Sectional champion at 182 pounds.
From Washington, seniors Zane Nelson (152) and Chris Conger (170) won Sectional titles.
From Miami Trace, freshman Graham Carson (113), freshman Mcale Callahan (126), junior James Munro (160) and senior Jacob Tinkler (170) placed third at the Sectional.
Sophomore Will Baughn of Washington was third at 138 pounds, sophomore Collier Brown was fourth at 182 pounds and junior Colton McNichols was fourth at 285 pounds.
From Miami Trace, senior Jaymon Flaugher was fourth at 145 pounds, sophomore Storm Duffy was fourth at 120 pounds and junior Dylan Arnold was fourth at 152 pounds.
Senior Courtney Walker of Washington (106) and senior Dalton Bartley of Miami Trace (220) both placed fifth in their weight divisions to become District alternates in the event of illness or failure to make weight of one of the other contestants in their weight class.
“Zane Nelson wrestled a great tournament,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “He didn’t get to wrestle in the finals. The wrestler from McClain defaulted due to injury.”
Nelson (38-7) will wrestle Bellefontaine sophomore Noah Yoesting (20-17) in the first round at the District. This will be Nelson’s third trip to the District tournament.
“Chris Conger wrestled a good tournament,” Reid said. “He wrestled (Sean Netherton) a returning State qualifier from Westfall (in the finals) and won that match, 7-0. Chris looked really good all tournament long. I was really impressed with how dominating he looked in the finals.
“We worked on some things as far as from neutral and talked about being light on his feet and he did exactly that the entire tournament,” Reid said.
Conger (36-8) will face Meadowdale senior Dawon Smith (17-4) in the first round Friday. This is Conger’s third time qualifying to the District meet.
Both Conger and Nelson have 147 career victories.
“The past two years, Zane has placed fifth at the District, making him a State alternate,” Reid said. “Chris was sixth last year. Both are looking to move up. We have pretty good draws, we feel, at the District.”
“The last four weeks of the season, Will has really picked it up,” Reid said. “He had a rough start, was kind of going back and forth, hovering right at .500. He started staying after practice, working extremely hard. He started rolling at the league tournament. He won the league, beating some kids who had beaten him.”
This will be Baughn’s first trip to compete at the District.
Baughn (24-13) will meet senior Ben Sherrill (32-2) of Bellbrook in the opening round of the District tournament.
“Collier is another wrestler who has been up and down this season,” Reid said. “He started the tournament off great as a No. 6 seed. He upset the No. 3 seed and then wrestled a pretty good semifinal match.
“In the consolation round, he wrestled (Kyler) Trefz of McClain who had beaten him three times this season and he beat Trefz in overtime,” Reid said. “It was a huge win. He ended up losing his third and fourth place match to a kid that he had beaten already in the tournament. Collier is a first-time District qualifier.
“Colton McNichols was a District alternate as a freshman,” Reid said. “He didn’t wrestle last year. This year, as a junior, he’s been our reserve wrestler. With an injury to our starter, Colton moved up. He was a league champion and now a District qualifier.”
McNichols (12-8) will square off against Eaton junior Seth Bowman (26-10) in the opening round of the heavyweight division.
“Courtney Walker became the first female wrestler for us to ever place at the Sectional,” Reid said. “She placed fifth. She is a District alternate, so there is a chance she could wrestle in the District tournament.”
Washington placed sixth at the Sectional with 109.5 team points, one-half point ahead of McClain.
“Fifth place through eighth place was really close,” Reid said. “We were only filling 12 weight classes. We had at least two kids wrestling out of weight. Myself and the coaching staff, we were really pleased with the way the kids wrestled.
“At the District, we’re going to be taking it one match at a time,” Reid said. “We just want to see our kids qualify (to State).”
“B.J. ended up beating a returning District champion,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “We’ve been talking about strategies going into this weekend. The conversation ended with him saying, ‘this is my year, I’ve been working hard and I think I deserve it.’
“I told him, ‘hard work always wins out,” Fondale said.
Anders (36-11) will face Cincinnati McNicholas sophomore Ryan Gear (13-7) in the opening around of the District at 182 pounds.
“This is Graham Carson’s third year of wrestling,” Fondale said of the Panthers’ 113-pound freshman. “He comes in and works hard. He’s like a sponge, he learns quick and doesn’t have too many bad habits.”
Carson (32-13) will meet sophomore Jayden Sturgell of Urbana (14-5) in the opening round of the District tournament.
“Mcale Callahan is also a freshman,” Fondale said. “He lost a really close match in the semis to a kid he beat at the McDonald’s Invitational finals. It was another really close match. He works very hard.”
Callahan (29-4) faces sophomore A.J. Lewandowski (30-14) of Oakwood in his first District match.
“James (Munro) is a junior who won two matches at the District last year,” Fondale said. “If we can just improve on that a little bit from last year, we can make it to the State tournament. He has high expectations going into the Districts for the second year in row.”
Munro’s first opponent at the District tournament will be senior Will Steuerwald (26-9) of Indian Hill.
“Jacob is a senior,” Fondale said. “This is his first year qualifying for the Districts. He’s another kid who has stuck with the program for four years. He found a way to get third place (at Sectionals). He’s expected to win a couple of matches, at least, at the District.”
Up first for Tinkler (23-13) at the Districts will be sophomore Gage Johnson (32-8) of Franklin.
“Storm went to Districts last year,” Fondale said. “He went 0-2, but he’s obviously looking to improve upon that. Storm did beat a kid at Sectionals that he had previously lost to earlier this season. That gave him a nice little confidence boost. It was a pretty good tournament for Storm.”
Duffy (22-21) will face sophomore Tyler Harkins (28-11) of Norwood in the first round of the District meet.
“This is Jaymon’s first time qualifying to the District tournament,” Fondale said. “Jaymon is one of those guys who started his wrestling career kind of late. He’s worked hard every year. He’s put the time in and now, as a senior, he’s found success. The hard work and time and effort he’s put in over the years has earned him a spot in the Districts. We’re very proud of Jaymon’s accomplishments.”
Flaugher (21-19) will take on senior Mitch Moore (35-5) of Graham Local in the opening round at 145 pounds.
“Dylan Arnold is a first-time District qualifier,” Fondale said. “He’s really stepped it up this year. He’s been behind a couple of upper classmen the last couple of years. He kind of filled in where we needed him. This year, we needed him and he’s stepped up. He’s one of our most-improved wrestlers. We have high expectations for him for next year, hoping he can improve even more.”
Arnold (19-14) faces senior Carston King (37-9) of Oakwood in his first match at the District tournament.
“These guys all have their own individual goals,” Fondale said. “That ultimate goal, for some of them, is just to make it to the State tournament. For others, it’s to place at State. We don’t set goals to go out and not compete and not try to make it to the next level.
“I can’t say that any of my guys realistically don’t have a goal of making it to the State tournament,” Fondale said.
Miami Trace placed fourth at the Sectional with 146 team points.
Logan Elm won the Sectional with 192 points, followed by Circleville with 162 and Westfall with 148 points.
Fairfield Union was fifth (117.5), Washington was sixth, followed by McClain (109), Hillsboro (101), Zane Trace (86) and Unioto (20).
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