The Miami Trace Panthers held the annual Miami Trace/McDonald’s Invitational wrestling tournament Saturday, Jan. 25.
It was the first McDonald’s Invitational held in the new high school gymnasium.
Seventeen schools took part with Miami Trace winning with 236 points.
Warren was second with 164.5 points. Wyoming was third with 158 points and Logan Elm was fourth with 153 points.
Westfall was sixth with 122 points; Adena was 11th with 88 points; Zane Trace was 12th with 87 points; Unioto was 15th with 52 points; Chillicothe was 16th with 40.5 points and Circleville was 17th with 31 points.
Miami Trace had two weight class champions. Weston Melvin won the 113-pound title and Graham Carson won at 152 pounds.
The Panthers had a total of 12 wrestlers place in the top eight out of 14 weight classes.
At 195 pounds, Bryce Bennett placed second and Grant DeBruin was second at 285 pounds.
Aiden Johnson was third at 120 pounds and Storm Duffy placed third at 138 pounds.
Placing fourth for the Panthers were: Vincent Munro (145); Kylan Knapp (160); Jayden LeBeau (170).
Dawson Wallace was sixth at 182 pounds; Titus Lehr was seventh at 106 pounds and David Tyndall was seventh at 220 pounds.
Melvin went 5-0 on the day beginning with three pins and concluding with a 6-5 decision over Cole Coleman of Warren and, in the finals, a 6-4 overtime decision against Cole Renier of Logan Elm.
“Weston Melvin took first place and obviously, we’re happy about that,” Fondale said. “He actually had two close matches. He wasn’t that happy with his championship match and his semifinals match. He’s faced the Logan Elm kid before a couple of times and it wasn’t nearly that close.
“Props to Cole Renier of Logan Elm,” Fondale said. “He’s made a lot of improvement throughout the season.
“Weston’s semifinals match was kind of a nail-biter,” Fondale said. “He was down by a point with one second left and he was able to throw the kid to his back and get a take-down to win by one point.”
Carson also was 5-0 Saturday, starting with three pins, each in the first period.
Carson then had a 16-3 major decision over Noah Yoesting of Bellefontaine and, in the finals, Carson pinned Isaac Gray of Adena in 2:58.
“Graham was just solid all the way around,” Fondale said. “We’ve been talking about him getting his opponent to move and staying physical in the neutral position. Graham’s really taken that seriously and he’s been doing that in his matches. When he’s successful at moving his opponent, he usually ends up winning the match.”
Bryce Bennett went 3-2 Saturday. He lost his first match, but bounced back to beat Timothy Diamond of Unioto, 5-3.
Bennett then had a pin of Austin Carpenter of Warren in 43 seconds, followed by a major decision over Dillon Davidson of Taylor (9-0).
In his final match, Bennett lost to Quincy Brown of Madison, 3-1 in overtime.
“He lost 6-3 to Quincy Brown in the first round,” Fondale said. “Bryce faced him again in the finals and it was a really close match. He kind of had to fight from behind the first time he faced him. Then, in the championship match, he ended up only losing by a take-down in overtime.”
Grant DeBruin went 4-1 at the tournament.
He began with a pin in 56 seconds, followed by an even quicker pin (22 seconds).
DeBruin then had a pin in 4:13 and a 1-0 decision to advance to the finals.
In the finals, DeBruin was pinned in the first round, placing second.
“As a senior, I’m sure he’s not happy with his last match at the McDonald’s tournament,” Fondale said. “He kind of got caught in the throw. It’s tough to get off your back in a championship heavyweight match. I’m sure if he could do a couple of things differently, he’d like to take that back.
“I’m pretty proud of Aiden Johnson,” Fondale said. “Right off the rip, he wrestled the No. 1 seed and the No. 2 seed. He just had two tough matches. He wasn’t feeling so great, but he came out for us and didn’t lose another match. He understood that the team needed him to come back after those tough losses, put those losses behind him. That’s exactly what he did. He ended up going 2-2 on the day.
“Storm had a really close match with (Caleb) Lake of Chillicothe,” Fondale said. “Lake’s just a tough wrestler. He’s hard to score on; he makes you earn every point. Storm was in on his legs four or five times and just couldn’t quite finish the take-down. That’s something he’s been working on in practice. He’s going to focus on finishing his take-downs completely.” Duffy went 4-1 in the tournament.
“One of the most memorable matches for Vincent Munro at 145 was against a kid from Taylor,” Fondale said. “He was strong and a good defensive wrestler. We had a hard time getting off the bottom. In the last minute, he clicked it up a notch and really started to attack. He ended up beating the kid, 8-6 with about 10 seconds left. That was a really good win for Vincent, especially being a freshman; being able to finish a tough varsity match where you’re losing the whole match and you’re able to finish it all the way out.” Munro went 2-2 at the tournament.
“Overall, Kylan Knapp had a good tournament,” Fondale said. “He won his first three matches. His shoulder has been bothering him for a while and it started flaring up after the three wins. We held him out and took a couple of injury defaults. The kid in the finals he had already actually beat. There’s a chance he could have gotten first.
“Jayden just looked like a solid wrestler in his first three matches,” Fondale said. “He was taking down kids, turning them whenever he wanted. Then he ran into a State-placer (Devin Oligee of Madison). One thing Jayden’s been working on is to try and wrestle the entire six minutes, keep the intensity up. To be able to do that against a State-placer is pretty impressive. Then he had another tough kid from Logan Elm. (Luke) Linton got a few early take-downs and it was hard for Jayden to recover from that.” LeBeau was 3-2 on the day.
“Dawson Wallace got sixth for us at 182,” Fondale said. “He’s really showing his senior leadership and this is just another example. He’s underweight. He’s definitely the smallest 182-pounder in the tournament. His hip was bothering him, but he wanted to get out there and score some points for his team. It’s a great thing to have seniors like him, that, even though they’re hurt, even though things might not be going their way, they still want to do what they can for the team. It was great to see him go out there and stay tough.
“Titus is probably our most-improved varsity wrestler this year,” Fondale said. “He’s been pretty consistent with getting wins throughout the season. He pinned a kid in the cradle in the first period of the first match. That was pretty exciting. He came back later in the day and got another pin in the first period of a match.” Lehr was 2-3 Saturday.
“David’s been struggling with a pulled hamstring from earlier this season and a hurt shoulder from the end of the football season,” Fondale said. “He’s been consistent as far as being in the starting lineup and scoring some points for us. He wrestles with intensity. He always goes forward and doesn’t give up. We appreciate that type of senior leadership, too.”
Miami Trace will host a Regional Dual Team Tournament Saturday, Feb. 8.
Teams taking part include: Miami Trace, Blanchester, Clinton-Massie, Wilmington, Washington, Bexley, Bishop Hartley, Centennial, Linden McKinley, South, Gallia Academy, McClain, Jackson, Logan Elm and Unioto.