The Washington Blue Lions competed strongly in the Division II Sectional wrestling tournament which they hosted Saturday, Feb. 29.
Miami Trace was able to put a little distance between the two rivals in the final matches to win the Sectional with 221 points.
Washington was second with a team score of 197.5.
Fairfield Union was third with 153.5 points and Logan Elm was fourth with 129.5 points.
McClain was fifth with 112 points, followed by Unioto, 82; Hillsboro, 67; Circleville, 56 and Waverly, 48.
Washington is sending 12 to the District tournament.
The Blue Lions had two Sectional champions: Branton Dawes at 120 and Dylan Moore at 182.
Washington had four competitors place second: Ian Roush, 106; Kalub Wilkerson, 160; Collier Brown, 220 and Mason Mustain, 285.
Bryce Warner (113) and Jared Kuhn (170) placed third and Coty Brown (126), Josiah Whitt (132), Connor Day (145) and Chase Sluder (195) placed fourth for the Blue Lions.
“We were there, all the way through,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “Even in the finals, if we could have flipped a few of those, that could have been the difference in us winning.
“We’re happy (with placing second), but not satisfied,” Reid said. “We won’t be satisfied until the end of the season (at State), our goal is get kids on the podium. This is a small step.
“We have 12 kids, the most I’ve ever had in my career, qualify to the Districts,” Reid said. This is Reid’s 19th year coaching the Blue Lion wrestling team.
“Branton Dawes is a two-time (Sectional) champ,” Reid said. “He really wasn’t pushed. He’s got a really difficult weight class at Claymont. It’ll take a good week of practice and everything he’s worked on all season long to get back to the State meet. It’s going to be a tough week for all of our kids.
“Junior Dylan Moore, last year he was a District qualifier,” Reid said. “This year, he’s a District qualifier and Sectional champion. He wrestled lights out today. He pinned everyone (going 3-0). He pinned a kid (Jeff King of Fairfield Union) in the finals who has won a couple of tournaments and is a really solid kid. He’s ranked in the State and is projected to make it to State. Dylan made short work of him (a pin in 1:33).
“Collier Brown lost to Kade (Rawlins of McClain) this time,” Reid said. “We beat him last week.
“DeBruin beat Mason,” Reid said. “We had a pretty good game plan. DeBruin kind of turned it on at the end and beat us there. He’s a tough kid, but we have a tough kid, too.
“These kids are all moving on,” Reid said. “I’m really proud of them. I just pointed out to them that we started off the season 0-5 in dual meets. It looked kind of rough. In our first tournament, we didn’t place as high as we thought we would. Then we went 7-0 at one point.
“Then, by the end of the year, we finished 7-2 down the stretch in dual meets,” Reid said. “The last three tournaments we wrestled in, now make it four, we’ve placed in the top three, including today, the FAC, Canal Winchester and our home bracket tournament.
“We have a saying this year, ‘trust the process,’” Reid said. “Our kids are trusting the process, that the work they put in will pay off for them, and it has.
“We lost some close matches today,” Reid said. “We’ve got to get back into the room and work on our conditioning and a little bit of our technique. Conditioning and technique are things that I saw in the finals, where, if we improve a little bit, that could be the difference in our kids making it to State, or not.
“Honestly, at the beginning of the season, we thought we could get five to seven kids to the District,” Reid said. “So, for us to be sending 12, it is fantastic. That’s just a testament to how hard these kids have worked. And the coaches, too.
“We put a lot of individual work in with the kids,” Reid said. “It goes hand in hand. It’s not just them, it’s all of us working together to get as many kids as possible to the State and placing at least one kid at the State meet.
“We’ve got to get back to work (this) week,” Reid said. “We’ve got some teams coming in to practice with us. “I’m really happy with how many District qualifiers we have. But we’ve got to work on our finals matches, so we can place a little higher. Your final placement matters.
“I’m proud of the guys, though,” Reid said. “They’ve worked really hard. I’m really happy with the support from our administration.
“Jeff Wiederhold did a good job of running the tournament,” Reid said. “He and his wife, Kim. Everyone who helped today did a great job with the tournament. This is our 12th meet that we’ve hosted this season.”
District first-round match-ups:
106 – Ian Roush (9) (26-14) vs. Adam Porterfield (10) Athens (26-8)
113 – Bryce Warner (10) (25-17) vs. Justin Bucheit (12) East Liverpool (25-12)
120 – Branton Dawes (10) (46-1) vs. Nate Witsberger (9) St. Clairsville (20-7)
126 – Coty Brown (9) (14-21) vs. Brandon Brown (11) Carrollton (41-6)
132 – Josiah Whitt (9) (14-20) vs. Logan Ours (10) Lisbon Beaver (29-5)
145 – Connor Day (9) (26-21) vs. Peyten Kellar (11) Warren (44-0)
160 – Kalub Wilkerson (12) (33-11) vs. Claude Romshak (11) Union Local (29-16)
170 – Jared Kuhn (11) (15-24) vs. Brice Parks (12) Jackson (42-2)
182 – Dylan Moore (11) (12-6) vs. Josh Sayers (12) West Holmes (13-14)
195 – Chase Sluder (12) (19-18) vs. Elijah Llewellyn (9) Indian Creek (37-4)
220 – Collier Brown (12) (39-8) vs. John Pardue (11) Athens (21-18)
285 – Mason Mustain (10) (40-6) vs. Hunter Beach (12) New Philadelphia (25-13)