A group of seven members of the Washington Blue Lion wrestling team opened the 2015-16 season by taking part in an invitational at Franklin High School.
The Blue Lions finished in seventh place out of 12 teams with 117 points.
Western Brown won the invitational with 217.5 points.
Campbell County, Ky., was second with 215.5 points and Ross was third with 191.5 points.
“We sent seven of our wrestlers to the Franklin Invitational,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “We have a full lineup, but, it’s a really tough tournament and we felt some of the kids would be better served going to another tournament, so we sent them to Wilmington.
“We were 10 points out of fifth place,” Reid said. “That was with seven guys against teams that had full lineups. So, we were really pleased.”
“At 106 pounds, we had freshman Collin George,” Reid said. “He didn’t win any matches, but, he did wrestle tough. He wrestled two opponents very tough, so, we were happy with that.”
Sophomore Chris Martin placed seventh at 113 pounds.
“Chris had a pretty good day of wrestling for us,” Reid said.
Junior Tre Thomas finished in fourth place at 120 pounds.
“Tre picked up two pins for us on the day,” Reid said.
Junior Connor Chrisman was seventh at 132 pounds.
“Connor had two pins for us at Franklin,” Reid said. “This was his first time breaking into the varsity lineup. We’re really happy with that.”
Sophomore Chris Conger competed for the Blue Lions at 138 pounds.
“Chris was a bright spot for us,” Reid said. “He finished second at the tournament. He picked up two pins on the day, along with two major decisions.”
Conger pinned freshman Chandler Chapman of Jay County (Ind.) early in the second period and senior Marcellus Mohanna of Monroe 27 seconds into the third period.
“In the finals, Chris lost to (Bryan) Spahr (a senior) from Campbell County, Ky.,” Reid said. “This was the first high school tournament in which Chris wrestled for first place. That was a big step for him. Spahr is a returning State-placer in Kentucky. Chris had a very good showing.”
Senior Austin Hixon wrestled for the Blue Lions at 152 pounds.
“Austin was wrestling up a weight class for us,” Reid said. “Normally, he’ll be wrestling at 145 pounds. Due to his weight loss plan, he had to wrestle up at 152. So, he was a smaller 152.
“Despite that, he pinned his two opponents in his pool (junior Zach Joering of Campbell County and senior Jacob Schmit of Jay County),” Reid said. Both pins came midway through the first period.
Hixon had another pin in the bracket portion of the tournament before himself being pinned in the match to decide fifth and sixth place.
“Austin ended up with three pins for us on the day, despite giving up eight pounds,” Reid said. “So, he had a great tournament and a great start to the season.”
Returning State qualifier, senior Mason McCane, competed at 182 pounds for the Blue Lions. McCane finished in second place.
“By far, this was the toughest weight class of the tournament,” Reid said. “In Mason’s pool, there was a kid who was a returning State alternate; he may have qualified two years ago. And there was another District qualifier in that pool.”
McCane pinned his way through the first three rounds in 1:00, 1:39 and 56 seconds.
McCane’s third pin of that series came against sophomore Davey Stamper, a returning District qualifier from Western Brown.
McCane wrestled senior Chase Sayers of Ross and won a challenging match, 8-6.
“As I said, Sayers was a State alternate or a State qualifier,” Reid said.
In the finals, McCane lost to senior Andy Kohler of Jay County (Ind.), 3-0.
“He (Kohler) is currently ranked 5th in Indiana,” Reid said.
“We have some things we need to work on,” Reid said. “Mason said we’re going to get back into the room and work hard. We go to that tournament to see tough opponents. That helped us figure out some things we need to work on in order for Mason to get better.
“The goal (for Mason) is to be on the (State) podium at the end of the season,” Reid said. “So seeing this good competition early is going to help him at the end of the year.”
Junior Trevor Hicks wrestled at heavyweight for the Blue Lions and brought home a weight class title.
“Trevor picked up two quick pins (1:48 and 59 seconds) to begin the tournament,” Reid said. “Then, in the semifinals, he wrestled a returning District qualifier and State alternate (senior Jeremy Rosenblum of Ross), winning a 10-8 decision.
“In the finals, Trevor wrestled (Colvin) Turner of Franklin,” Reid said. “(Turner) placed sixth at the District last year. Trevor beat him, 8-7 to win the tournament. This was Trevor’s first varsity tournament championship.
“Last year, Trevor was a District qualifier at 220,” Reid said. “This year, he’s at 285, and, man, did he wrestle tough. I was extremely happy with the way Trevor wrestled. Every match, he seemed to wrestle a little bit smarter. We’ve still got some things we need to work on in the room, but it’s a great start to the season for Trevor.”
Washington’s next competition is Thursday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. at McClain for an SCOL tri-match, along with Chillicothe.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1