The Miami Trace Panthers wrestling team has its sights set on a fourth consecutive Frontier Athletic Conference championship.
On Thursday, Jan. 21, the Panthers hosted the Blue Lions from Washington High School to complete the regular season FAC matches for both squads.
The Panthers won the varsity match, 55-18.
Miami Trace is now 5-0 in FAC duals and the Blue Lions sit in second place at 4-1.
The FAC championship will be held Tuesday, Feb. 9 at McClain High School. The team that wins that tournament will pick up five points to add to their regular season FAC dual meet total.
The second place team will receive four points and so forth.
The Blue Lions won the junior high match against the Panthers, 44-29.
It was also Senior Night, as the Panthers recognized seniors Luke Anders, Graham Carson, Mcale Callahan, Shane Seymour and Titus Lehr.
The varsity match started at 160 pounds, with Miami Trace sophomore Vincent Munro receiving a forfeit.
At 170 pounds, Miami Trace junior Kylan Knapp defeated Washington senior Jarad Kuhn, 15-0.
At 182 pounds, Miami Trace senior Graham Carson beat Washington sophomore Trevor Crocker, 19-2.
Miami Trace junior Jayden LeBeau won by fall at 195 pounds over Washington freshman Charles Souther in 4:26.
It was a titanic struggle at 220 pounds, as Washington senior Tyris Virts outlasted Miami Trace sophomore Stephen Lehr, 9-6.
At heavyweight, Washington junior Mason Mustain pinned Miami Trace sophomore Luke Hoppes in 1:32.
Miami Trace freshman Corbin Melvin pinned Washington junior Jenna Kuhn at 106 pounds in :39.
At 113 pounds, Miami Trace senior Titus Lehr pinned Washington freshman Xayvion Johns in :37.
Washington freshman Austin Cottrell received a forfeit at 120 pounds.
At 126 pounds, Miami Trace junior Weston Melvin beat Washington junior Branton Dawes, 3-0.
Washington sophomore Ian Roush won a 10-4 decision over sophomore Riston LeBeau at 132 pounds.
At 138 pounds, Miami Trace sophomore Aaron Little pinned Washington sophomore Zaigne Fettig in 3:24.
At 145 pounds, Miami Trace’s Asher LeBeau pinned Washington sophomore Cody Brown in 3:11.
The match ended as Miami Trace senior Mcale Callahan received a forfeit.
There were two exhibition matches.
At 138 pounds, Miami Trace sophomore Aiden Johnson pinned Washington freshman Tristan Vires in 2:40.
At 182 pounds, Washington sophomore Braydon Kettles pinned Miami Trace sophomore Keegan Williams in :57.
“I think both teams showed up ready to compete,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “(Both teams) showed up with a competitive attitude. We knew (the Blue Lions) were going to give everything they had and that’s exactly what they did.
“We had a pretty good crowd tonight, on both sides,” Fondale said. “I was happy to see a lot of people come out and support our seniors on Senior Night.
“We had a lot of young guys step up and we have pretty good leadership,” Fondale said. “During the matches, I would turn back and watch some of our wrestlers cheering on their teammates, getting excited. There was a lot of energy. We wrestled pretty well and came out on top. There are still things we can work on. We just have to maintain this mentality and peak at the right moment.”
“This was a big match-up,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “We’ll have a chance at the league title. It will come down to the league tournament. Every team you finish ahead of in the league tournament, counts as a win.
“Overall, we were happy with our attitude and effort tonight,” Reid said. “We knew coming in that this was a very good Miami Trace team. They have eight state-ranked wrestlers and we have two.
“We were more concerned about getting good matches in,” Reid said. “To help us see where we are at at this point in the season. It’s where you finish the season at. We talk to our kids about trusting the process. We’re not where we need to be right now, but, I saw a lot of improvement. We’re getting close.
“We bumped (Branton) Dawes up to get a good match against (Weston) Melvin,” Reid said. “Normally, Dawes wrestles at 120. Melvin wrestled really tough and really smart and came out with the victory there. We saw some things in that match that will help get us to State and hopefully get us on the podium.
“(Mason) Mustain picked up a win for us,” Reid said. “He did what he needed to do to pick up a pin at heavy.
“Tyris did a good job (at 220),” Reid said. “He had to dig down and fight to get a win there. We’re proud of him for that.
“Ian Roush stepped up tonight and picked up a nice win,” Reid said. “That was a very solid win there.
“Trevor Crocker wrestled as solid as he could against Graham Carson, one of their best wrestlers,” Reid said. “Charles Souther was in a really good match against Jayden LeBeau. We were in a close match and we made a mistake and Jayden made us pay for it.
“We saw a lot of improvement and we’re going to get back in the room and work hard,” Reid said.
Saturday, Washington hosts its bracket tournament, while Miami Trace hosts the McDonald’s Invitational, which is scaled back this year from the sometimes 16 or more teams taking part to six.
The teams competing at Miami Trace Saturday, in addition to the Panthers, will be: London, Cincinnati Wyoming, Greenville, Warren and Westfall.
Among the teams coming to Washington High School Saturday will be St. Clairsville and Gallia Academy.
Washington will wrestle at Clinton-Massie Wednesday and on Saturday, Jan. 30, Washington will host a meet that includes teams from Hamilton Badin and Canal Winchester.
Miami Trace will wrestle at Clinton-Massie Monday, along with Little Miami and Bellbrook. On Saturday, Jan. 30, the Panthers will compete in a quad meet at Westfall High School.