The Miami Trace Panthers wrestling team traveled six-hours round-trip to compete in the 8th Annual Fricker’s Dual Tournament in Defiance, Ohio Dec. 20 and 21.
This annual tournament is among the best dual tournament formats in the state and boasts some of the best teams from Ohio and Michigan.
This year’s competition for the Panthers included Division III powerhouse Edison High School (2019 Ohio State Dual Tournament runner-up) and Michigan’s Hudson High School (2019 Division IV Michigan champions).
“The reason our program goes to Fricker’s is for lots of matches (experience), tough competition, and team bonding,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “The 17 wrestlers got plenty of matches and grew as teammates.”
This can be a humbling tournament for underclassmen due to the level of competition, but the Panthers continue to grow as a young team and improve their wrestling technique and acumen.
“There were some matches that didn’t go like we may have hoped,” Fondale said. “There were also some matches that ended as pleasant upsets.”
“We expected our boys to feel fairly sore and banged up at the end of the two-day grind, and that did happen, but they left with good attitudes,” Fondale said. “Our coaches (were) proud to see our guys wrestle their hearts out and support each other.”
The Panthers finished this tournament with five team wins and five team losses.
The Panthers won over Defiance (53-21); Elmwood (57-22); Logan Elm (49-27); Tinora (51-22); and Detroit Central Catholic (40-26). Notable individual performances included: Mcale Callahan who went 9-1 on the weekend; Weston Melvin and Graham Carson went 8-2; and Jayden LeBeau, Bryce Bennett, and Grant DeBruin finished the weekend with a 7-3 record.
The Panthers next compete Friday and Saturday in the GMVWA Holiday Wrestling Tournament at Vandalia Butler High-School.