Two student-athletes from Miami Trace High School are heading back to the State wrestling tournament for the second year in a row.
Junior Coby Hughes (132 pounds), made it all the way to the District championship match before falling to the two-time defending State champion, Mitch Moore of Graham Local, certainly a favorite to win a third consecutive title in Columbus this weekend.
Senior Jared Fenner (195 pounds) placed third at the District with a 6-1 win over Zach Banks of Middletown Madison.
The Panthers had a total of eight wrestlers competing in last Friday and Saturday’s District tournament at Wilmington High School.
As a team, Miami Trace placed fourth out of 49 schools with a team total of 66 points.
Graham Local won with 321.5 points. Western Brown was second with 164 points and Circleville placed third with 96 points.
Clinton-Massie was ninth with 53.5 points; the Washington Blue Lions were 10th with 51 points; Hillsboro was tied for 14th with 41 points; Wilmington was 20th with 34 points, Unioto was 21st with 33 points and McClain was 35th with 9.5 points.
“We had seven qualifiers and two alternates,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “One alternate (Dylan Murphy) got into the tournament.
“All of our guys, except one, won at least one match at the District,” Fondale said. “That’s says a lot of good things about next year and the strong foundation that we have coming back.”
Junior heavyweight Colin Wolffe is a State-alternate after finishing fifth with a pin over Conner Barton of Wilmington in the match for fifth and sixth place.
At 106 pounds, freshman Storm Duffy went 0-2 at the District meet.
He was pinned by sophomore Joey Dima of Valley View in 1:07 in his first match.
In the first consolation round, Duffy was pinned by sophomore Kaleb Ream of Springfield Shawnee in 1:45.
Duffy ended his season with a record of 29-14.
“Storm just needs to get a little stronger for next season,” Fondale said.
Hughes began his District tournament run to the finals with a pin of freshman Steele Boysel of Benjamin Logan in 1:05.
In the quarterfinals, Hughes pinned sophomore Logan Iams of Ross in 5:01.
In the semifinals, Hughes had a 7-1 decision over senior Coleman Manning of Eaton.
That win put Hughes in the finals against the two-time State champion Moore. Moore’s pin of Hughes came in 25 seconds.
Hughes takes a record of 36-9 into the State tournament. His first opponent will be senior LeConte Merrell of Mansfield Madison Comprehensive, who sports a record of 42-2.
“I felt good at the District,” Hughes said. The first two opponents were new to Hughes. He had wrestled Manning last year at the District meet.
“I want to place at State,” Hughes said. “Win two matches and you can place.”
“Coby is a junior and returning State-qualifier,” Fondale said. “He’s kind of in the same boat as Jared Fenner, going 0-2 at State last year. He had the first-time jitters. I know he wasn’t happy getting knocked out right away last year. His goal is to place at State. He’s been able to wrestle some of the top kids in the State.
Dylan Murphy, a District alternate, got his chance to compete at the District when Unioto’s Trevor Lewis was unable to go.
Murphy’s first match at 138 pounds pitted him against senior Ian Schomaker of Talawanda. Schomaker pinned Murphy in 2:29.
In the first consolation round, Murphy pinned sophomore Nick Humphreys of Springfield Shawnee in 3:57.
In the second consolation round, Murphy suffered a pin by junior Keegan Rawlins of McClain in 22 seconds.
Murphy finishes the season with a record of 15-10.
Senior Dereck Moore competed for the Panthers at 152 pounds.
In his first-round match, Moore pinned Mariemont senior Riley Gullino in 3:29.
In the quarterfinals, Moore lost a 9-3 decision to senior Jesse Younce of Carroll.
In the second consolation round, it was Moore facing senior Braeden Lehman of Urbana. Lehman got the pin in 4:01.
Moore finished the season with a record of 37-12.
“Dereck Moore is a senior,” Fondale said. “He didn’t quite make it out. He had a really tough weight class. 152 had a lot of good wrestlers in it. In our minds and in his mind, it was completely possible for him to make the State tournament, being the calibre of wrestler he is. Sometimes you end up in a really tough weight class and you don’t make it out, even though you’ve had a great four years of high school wrestling.”
Sophomore James Munro competed for the Panthers at 160 pounds.
Munro lost a major decision to senior Gunnar Dawson of Middletown Madison, 15-4.
Munro bounced back in the first consolation round to defeat junior Kevin Coes of Mt. Healthy by major decision, 14-4.
Munro kept it going with a 5-4 decision over junior Austin Hamblin of Ross.
In the third consolation round, Munro lost to junior Isaac Allen of Wilmington by a 10-0 major decision.
Munro completed his season with a record of 22-19.
“He ended up winning two matches at the District,” Fondale said. “That was pretty good for us.”
Jack Anders wrestled for the Panthers at 170 pounds.
In the first round, Anders was pinned by senior Preston Bressler of Talawanda in 1:02.
Anders came back with a pin of junior Brock LeVan of Benjamin Logan in the first consolation round in a time of 1:17.
In the second consolation round, Anders fell by pin to junior Daniel Greiner of Batavia in 2:22.
Anders finished his season with a record of 24-15.
“He ended up injuring his shoulder,” Fondale said. “He was really confident he could make it to State, but, he suffered an injury. Hopefully next year, we’re healthy and stay healthy through the District tournament. All we can do is work on getting better and preventing injuries. That comes with strength and conditioning training.”
Jared Fenner at 195 pounds began with a pin of Western Brown junior Aaron Fisher in 2:54.
In the quarterfinals, Fenner faced junior Stone Day of Valley View. Day beat Fenner, 8-4.
In the second consolation round, Fenner pinned junior Christian Michael of Eaton in 1:48.
Fenner continued to wrestle back in the third consolation round with a 3-0 decision over junior Deegan Boris of Hillsboro.
Fenner then earned a 6-0 decision over junior Cole Mefford of Indian Lake.
That put Fenner in the match for third and fourth place.
In that match, Fenner defeated junior Zach Banks of Middletown Madison, 6-1.
Fenner takes a record of 45-8 to the State tournament. His first opponent will be sophomore Tyler Stein of Canfield (35-9).
“I thought my tournament was pretty good,” Fenner said. “I had the one loss to Stone Day of Valley View. He’s a pretty tough kid.” Day went on to win the District title.
“My goal this year is to get on the podium (at State),” Fenner said.
“Jared is a senior, a returning State-qualifier going back again,” Fondale said. “He’s been able to wrestle with and keep matches close with some of the top kids in the state. He trained hard in the off-season. I’m sure he’s not completely happy with just being a State-qualifier last year. I know his goal is to get on the podium at State, maybe even be top three or four.”
Junior Colin Wolffe (285) began the District with a 3-2 decision over junior Seth Jermer of Western Brown.
In the quarterfinals, Wolffe pinned junior Khrizdon VanHoose of Graham Local in 4:49.
In the semifinals, Wolffe fell to sophomore Lane Cluff of Hillsboro, 6-4.
Wolffe lost a close 2-1 decision to junior Trent Wilson of Valley View.
In the match for fifth or sixth place, Wolffe pinned junior Conner Barton of Wilmington in 3:27.
By virtue of placing fifth, Wolffe is a State-alternate.
If any of the top four wrestlers from the Wilmington District are unable to compete at State, that would open a spot for Wolffe (currently 17-8).
Division II wrestling begins at the State tournament Thursday at 4:10 p.m.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1