WILMINGTON — There are two Miami Trace Panthers wrestlers going to State later this week.
Sophomore Mcale Callahan placed third at the District tournament at 138 pounds and senior James Munro, who qualified to State last year, is making a return trip to the Big Show after placing fourth at the District meet at 160 pounds.
“It feels great,” Callahan said. “Ever since last year when I lost in the consolation semis, I’ve just focused on getting to my goals. Just changing up, not only my wrestling, but my mindset coming into this tournament. Last year, I was kind of nervous and didn’t know what to expect.
“This year I knew what I had to do and I did it,” Callahan said. “Muhammed’s a good wrestler. I respect him.”
Callahan defeated Ayyoub Muhammed of Thurgood Marshall, 1-0 in the match to determine third and fourth place at the District.
“James and I have been in the weight room, the hot summer days, all of that, we’ve been just grinding it out,” Callahan said. “He had his goals in mind and he got his done, too.”
“(We have) two wrestlers qualified to the State and one alternate (Weston Melvin at 106 pounds),” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “For a lot of guys, (the tournament) didn’t end up the way that they wanted. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t wrestle well and that they didn’t put their whole heart into their matches.
“I know James Munro wanted to place a little bit higher this year at the Districts,” Fondale said. Munro placed fourth at the District meet for the second consecutive year.
“That’s just something he can put behind him,” Fondale said. “We can just start to focus on a couple of things to change for (this) week. I know he’s not completely happy with placing fourth, but, he’s made it to the next level. Now we need to fine tune some stuff and get re-focused a little bit.
“For Mcale, this is his first time making it to State,” Fondale said. “He was pretty close to making it last year.” Callahan was sixth at the District tournament last year.
“We knew the Thurgood Marshall kid was tough,” Fondale said. “Mcale happened to beat him twice at this tournament. He had a lot of close matches, but found a way to win all of them, except for one.
“His goal and James’ goal are both to place on the podium at State,” Fondale said.
“I was hoping to make it to the finals,” Munro said. “I feel like I didn’t come prepared for that semifinals match (a pin by Zach Dunn of Goshen in 1:53). I got thrown to my back in the first period and got stuck.
“I just have to fight back and get on the podium (at State),” Munro said. “To get on the podium (at State) would be pretty cool.
“Mcale is a great kid,” Munro said. “I love him. I’m glad he’s coming to the State tournament with me. He’s a great teammate.”
“Our goal as a team was to place fourth here,” Fondale said. The Panthers were in second place after the first round and finished the tournament 10th with 62.5 points.
“We thought maybe we could get a couple more guys through to the State tournament,” Fondale said. “We thought we would get a couple more wins from our guys throughout the weight classes. This is some of the best competition in the state.
“For some of our kids who didn’t make it (to State), we can kind of readjust some things as we look towards next year,” Fondale said. “We need to keep drilling. Keep drilling and workout in the off-season, hit the mats over the summer.”
Dylan Arnold (170), Grant DeBruin (hwt.), Graham Carson (132), Devin Seymour (120), Weston Melvin (106), Storm Duffy (126) and Jayden LeBeau (145) also competed at the District tournament.
Arnold went 1-2, DeBruin was 1-2, Carson was 2-2; Seymour was 0-2; Duffy was 2-3 and LeBeau was 0-2.
Melvin went 3-2 and became a State alternate by placing fifth with a pin of Andrew Stachler of Greenville in 3:50.
“Dylan’s ankle has been sprained pretty bad for a couple of months now,” Fondale said. “He’s been wrestling on it and resting it when he can. (On Friday) he kind of tweaked his knee and he wasn’t able to finish wrestling, unfortunately.
“For our freshmen who went 0-2 (Seymour and LeBeau), some of their goals were just to make it here,” Fondale said. “As an upperclassman, your goal isn’t just to make the Districts. As freshmen, they set some goals to make it here and they did. They competed at this level.
“Storm suffered a heart-breaking loss,” Fondale said. “He lost to a kid who he beat previously in the season. It wasn’t one of Storm’s best matches.
“Graham Carson had a really good showing,” Fondale said. “He’s one of those kids, he’s like a sponge. He soaks up any information the coaches give him. Any techniques we show him, he just puts into practice. One of his goals was probably to make it to the State tournament. He fell short a little bit. He’s going to put in a lot of work in the off-season and hopefully he can close that gap.”
Division II wrestling begins at State Thursday at 4:10 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Callahan (46-5) will wrestle senior Kyle Peterson (36-14) of Aurora in his first match at State.
In his first match at State, Munro (49-2) will wrestle junior Ethan Hernandez (50-3) of Norwalk.