Panthers win 6th straight FAC wrestling title


HILLSBORO — The Miami Trace Panthers continue to hold sway in wrestling in the Frontier Athletic Conference.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Panthers won the program’s sixth consecutive championship in the sixth year of the conference.

Miami Trace went 5-0 in FAC dual meets during the season and on Saturday the Panthers scored 241 team points and won 10 of the 14 weight classes.

The Washington Blue Lions were second with 123 points, followed by Chillicothe (113.5), Jackson (87), McClain (71) and Hillsboro (64).

“I’m proud of my team,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “I’m especially proud of the three seniors — Aiden Johnson, Riston LeBeau and Stephen Lehr — each of them won their weight class. That’s just a testament to them finishing their final season.

“We have a lot of things to work on,” Fondale said. “The effort was there from my guys, we just have a few kinks to work out. The guys were supporting each other the whole time. There was a lot of excitement, especially during the finals. I’m proud of these guys for sticking with it. The wrestling season is a long one.

“Today’s win feels really good,” Fondale said. “A lot of them have their sights set higher.”

Johnson earned his 100th career victory at the tournament.

“One hundred victories is a pretty big deal,” Fondale said. “We had a really short season the year with COVID and he still was able to get 100 victories. He loves the sport of wrestling. He’d stick around and get 100 more if he was able to.”

Miami Trace dominated the meet, winning 10 of the 14 weight classes.

Weight class champions for Miami Trace are: Lyric Dickerson, 106; Will Enochs, 113; Brice Perkins, 120; Corbin Melvin, 132; Aiden Johnson, 138; Riston LeBeau, 144; Asher LeBeau, 150; Ethynn Munro, 165; Stephen Lehr, 175 and Evan Mollett, 190.

“We finished second overall,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “We were tied for second based on dual meets. We ended up second because of how we placed today, despite our forfeiting four weight classes.

“We ended up with one champion, sophomore Mack Parsley (165 pounds),” Reid said. “That’s his second title ever.

“We have to get healthy,” Reid said. “We’ve got some guys who are beat up, banged up, so, we weren’t sure how we would do. We’re happy with where we finished. We thought we could contend for a title, but, when you have four forfeits, that’s not possible.

“Now it’s back to the drawing board as we get ready for Sectionals,” Reid said.

“Congrats to our girls team for winning the first-ever FAC girls championship,” Reid said.

The Sectional tournament for Division II is set for Saturday, Feb. 25 Gallia Academy High School.

The top four finishers in each weight class will move on to the District tournament March 3 and 4 at Steubenville.

From there, the top four placers qualify to the State tournament set for March 10-12 at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.

The Blue Lions will wrestle at Westfall Wednesday at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, Washington High School will host the Queen of the Jungle tournament.

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