UHRICHSVILLE — The Washington Blue Lions had 12 District qualifiers make their way across the state to compete in the Division II District tournament held at Claymont High School in Uhrichsville, which lies between Cambridge and Canton.
Washington sophomore Branton Dawes, a State-qualifier last season, placed fifth at 120 pounds, becoming a State-alternate.
Washington junior Dylan Moore placed sixth at 182 pounds.
The Blue Lions had sent at least one wrestler to the State tournament for the last 12 years in a row. The last time the Blue Lions did not have someone qualify to State was 2007.
“We had goals going into the District tournament of getting three or four kids through to the State meet,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “We believed this was a realistic goal. We almost achieved it.
“Unfortunately, Collier (Brown) didn’t get to wrestle,” Reid said. “He was one of the kids we felt had a great shot.”
Brown ended his senior season with a record of 39-8 and a total of 99 career wins.
“He had a great season,” Reid said. “He was league (Frontier Athletic Conference) champ. He was Sectional runner-up. He beat a lot of really good kids. The leadership that he provided this year was awesome. Even though he didn’t get to wrestle Friday and Saturday, he was there and he was a vocal leader. He was like having another coach. He was also a four-year starter for us.
“Kalub Wilkerson, another senior for us, had a goal of making it to State,” Reid said. “He went 1-2, but he wrestled hard. He was a league champion and Sectional runner-up. He had just a phenomenal career for us. He was a four-year starter.
“Chase Sluder, we only had him for two years,” Reid said. “He made it to the District meet in just his second year of wrestling. He improved so much.
“Last year, he wrestled heavyweight,” Reid said. “This year he wrestled at 195. That’s two differences in styles. We were impressed with how he wrestled. He was a two-year starter.
“Those three seniors gave us a lot of wins this year,” Reid said. “The big thing was, they worked really hard and they were vocal leaders. Losing them, that’s going to hurt. But, they showed our kids, our upcoming seniors, how they should lead. They leave a legacy of hard work.
“We had a school record 12 District qualifers and they were a part of that,” Reid said.
“Branton Dawes, of course we wanted to get him back to the State meet,” Reid said. “We knew it would be difficult. There were five really good wrestlers in that weight class. It wasn’t the greatest draw. If we’d have been anywhere else on the bracket, I think we would have gotten (to State). It would have still been difficult, but not as (much).”
For the Blue Lions, freshman Ian Roush went 1-2 at 106 pounds.
Roush won his first match in overtime, 13-11 against Adam Porterfield of Athens.
In the quarterfinals, Roush lost an 11-2 major decision to Jarret Stillion of Meadowbrook.
In the second round of consolation matches, Roush lost to Hunter Albright of Indian Valley, again by an 11-2 major decision.
Roush finishes the season with a record of 27-16.
“He’s an undersized 106,” Reid said. “(His win) was pretty big. He won in overtime.”
Sophomore Bryce Warner went 0-2 at the District tournament.
He lost by pin in the first round to Justin Bucheit of East Liverpool in 3:20.
In the first consolation round, Warner lost by tech fall (15-0) to Skylar Harris of Vinton County.
Warner completes the year with a record of 25-19.
Dawes began the District with a pin of Nate Witsberger of St. Clairsville in 47 seconds.
In the quarterfinals, Dawes pinned Garytt Schwall of Gallia Academy in 1:15.
In the semifinals, Dawes lost a 3-2 decision to Tyler Masters of West Holmes.
In the consolation semifinals, Dawes lost 4-3 to Trey Finnearty of Athens.
In the match for fifth and sixth place, Dawes pinned Eric Reed of Cambridge in 5:08.
Dawes finishes the 2019-20 season with an outstanding record of 49-3. Dawes has 90 career wins.
“Tyler Masters is a returning three-time State place winner,” Reid said. “He was either third or fourth at State last year. He beat us 3-2. We wrestled a great match and gave him a tough match.
“Then we dropped down into the consolation (bracket) and we wrestled a two-time State place-winner in Trey Finnearty of Athens. He placed seventh in Indiana last year. He placed eighth in Ohio the year before. He made it to State as a freshman. We just happened to have to wrestle those two kids and that’s how it happens sometimes.
“Branton is a State-alternate, so we’re going to work out all week long,” Reid said. “There’s still that chance that he could get in. No matter how small a chance, you work out and go up there and you never know what could happen. Eighteen alternates wrestled at the District tournament in Claymont this weekend.”
Reid spoke about junior Dylan Moore.
“He continues to surprise us,” Reid said. “He got a late start to the season. He was second at the league meet, then he pinned his way to a Sectional championship. He kept it rolling into the Districts. We talk about kids getting hot here at the end.
“He won his first two matches at the District by pin,” Reid said. “He upset kids that everyone thought would beat him. He just was really focused. Last year he went 2-2 at the District. This year, he improved by placing. We’re hoping he takes that next step by qualifying (to State) next year.
“Mason Mustain was in another tough weight class,” Reid said. “Last year, four of the kids in his weight class at Districts placed at State. He lost to a State-qualifier and a State-placer at the District last year.
“He’s been battling through some things all season long,” Reid said. “He went 2-2 in a tough heavyweight class. He wrestled well. It was a style change for him and we have some things to work on.
“Everyone else, they wrestled well,” Reid said. “We were happy with the way they wrestled. They got that District experience, which is important.”
Washington freshman Coty Brown went 0-2 at 126 pounds.
In his first match, Brown was pinned by Brandon Brown of Carrollton in 26 seconds.
In the first consolation round, Brown was pinned by Michael Eckelberry of Sheridan in 2:49.
Brown ends his initial high school season with a record of 14-23.
Freshman Josiah Whitt went 0-2 at 132 pounds.
Whitt lost his opening match by pin to Logan Ours of Lisbon Beaver in 1:04.
In the first consolation round, Whitt was pinned by Luke Snider of Sheridan in 3:21.
Whitt ends the season with a record of 14-22.
Freshman Connor Day (145) was 0-2 at the District meet.
He lost by pin to Peyten Kellar of Warren in 39 seconds in his first match and in the first consolation round, Day lost by pin to Jeremy Brown of Indian Creek in 2:32.
Day finishes his freshman season with a record of 26-23.
Senior Kalub Wilkerson went 1-2 at the District tournament.
In his first round match, Wilkerson pinned Claude Romshak of Union Local in 2:54.
In the quarterfinals, Wilkerson lost a 10-0 major decision to Brandon Kiser of Dover.
In the second round of consolation matches, Wilkerson lost to Bronson Carter of Gallia Academy, 2-1.
Wilkerson finishes the season with a record of 34-13.
Junior Jared Kuhn went 0-2 at the District at 170 pounds.
Kuhn lost his first round match to FAC opponent Brice Parks of Jackson by pin in 32 seconds.
In the first consolation round, Kuhn was pinned by Marshall Humphrey of Maysville in 1:49.
Kuhn completes the season with a record of 15-26.
Washington junior Dylan Moore (182) went 2-3 at the District tournament.
Moore began with a pin of Josh Sayers of West Holmes in 49 seconds.
In the quarterfinal round, Moore pinned Justin Bartlett of Cambridge in 1:07.
Moore lost in the semifinals to Austin Starr of Indian Creek by pin in 1:30.
Moore fell in the consolation semifinals to Dylan Hines of Tri-Valley, 9-3.
In the match for fifth and sixth place, Moore lost by pin to Anthony Parks of Jackson in 1:30.
Moore finishes his junior year with a record of 14-9.
Senior Chase Sluder (195) was 1-2 at the District tournament.
Sluder began with a 16-0 tech fall loss to Elijah Llewellyn of Indian Creek.
In the first consolation round, Sluder recorded an 11-1 major decision victory over Aaron Causey of Jackson.
In the second consolation round, Sluder lost 7-0 to Logan Williams of Minerva.
Sluder finishes his senior season with a record of 20-20.
At heavyweight, sophomore Mason Mustain went 2-2 at the District meet.
In his first match, Mustain was pinned by Hunter Beach of New Philadelphia in overtime (7:45).
In the first consolation round, Mustain bounced back with a 9-4 decision over Seth Schneider of Tri-Valley.
In the second consolation round, Mustain pinned Peyton Tuttle of Steubenville in 4:21.
In the third round of consolation matches, Mustain lost to Dylan Wogerman of Athens by a 4-0 decision.
Mustain wraps up his sophomore season with a record of 42-8 giving him over 80 career wins.
One other senior, Collier Brown, was unable to compete at the District meet.
“We have a good group of wrestlers, a good foundation, coming back next year,” Reid said. “We’d love to get 14 to Districts next year. We’re still going to shoot for that goal of having three or four to the State meet.
“We have built up a really good program, thanks to Roger Mickle with the old Eastside program,” Reid said. “Paul LaRue. Now we have the Cobras (youth program). We have a good middle school and a good high school program. We’ve come a long way.”
Reid has guided the Blue Lion program to its current level of excellence since the 2001 season.
The Blue Lions placed 19th at the District out of 38 schools that were represented, scoring 38 team points.
McClain was 21st with 29 team points and Hillsboro was 33rd with three team points.