GALLIPOLIS — The Washington Blue Lion wrestling team sent nine of its members to compete in the Division II District tournament held at Gallia Academy High School on March 5 and 6.
Seven Blue Lions won at least one match at the District tournament, but, unfortunately, no one placed in the top four to qualify to the State tournament.
Junior Branton Dawes won two matches in the 120-pound weight class.
In his first match, Dawes had a quick pin of River View junior Tucker Mounts in 37 seconds.
In his quarterfinals match, Dawes pinned junior Adam Porterfield of Athens in 1:43.
In the semifinals, Dawes lost a 9-5 decision to senior Jacob Norris of Minerva. Norris went on to win the District title. Norris did not place at State, going 1-2.
In the match to go to State, Dawes lost, 2-1 to senior Cole Coleman of Warren. That put Dawes into the match for fifth and sixth place, which Dawes forfeited, due to fatigue, according to Washington head coach Louis Reid.
Dawes finished the season with a record of 29-4.
Coleman placed fourth at the District and went 0-2 at the State tournament.
Freshman Austin Cottrell (126) went 1-2 at the District meet.
He won his first match, 7-4 over sophomore Hunter Wallis of Sheridan.
Cottrell was pinned in 28 seconds in his second match by eventual District champion senior Joseph Eckelberry of Tri-Valley. Eckelberry went on to place fourth at the State tournament.
In his next match, Cottrell lost 5-1 to sophomore Anthony Fletcher of Minerva.
Cottrell finishes the season with a record of 18-18.
At 132 pounds, sophomore Ian Roush went 1-2 at the District.
Roush lost in his first match by pin in 2:57 to sophomore Pedro Garcia of Dover.
Roush then won a 6-3 decision over freshman Brayden Strode of Morgan.
His run ended with a pin in 2:18 by junior Jaymin Salsberry of Lisbon Beaver.
Roush finishes the 2020-21 season with a record of 15-23.
Sophomore Zaigne Fettig competed at 145 pounds.
Fettig lost his first match at the District by pin in 1:55 to junior Caden Stout of St. Clairsville.
Stout was runner-up at the District and went 1-2 at the State tournament.
Fettig won by fall in his next match in 2:27 over senior Robby Brice of Athens.
In his next match, Fettig was pinned by junior Isaiah Armstrong of Tri-Valley in 1:59.
Fettig finishes the season with a record of 14-24.
At 152, Washington sophomore Connor Day went 0-2 at the District tournament.
He lost his first match by pin in 4:53 to junior Zavier Campsey of Athens. In his second match, Day lost by pin in 2:29 to senior Brady Crum of Union Local. Day ends the year at 11-10.
Senior Jarad Kuhn (170) went 0-2 at the District meet.
He lost in his first match by pin to senior Howard Williams of East Liverpool in 55 seconds.
In his next match, Kuhn lost to freshman Steven Davis of Gallia Academy, 7-4.
Kuhn finished the season with a record of 21-18.
At 182 pounds, sophomore Brayden Kettles went 2-2 at the District.
His tournament began with a loss by pin to junior Garrett Hilliard of Minerva in 2:56.
Kettles then pinned junior Hudson Misel of Marietta in 2:17.
In his next match, Kettles picked up another pin, this one in 4:10 over senior David Harper of Philo.
In the following match, Kettles was pinned by Steubenville junior Brandon Kinney in 2:05.
Kettles finishes the 2020-21 campaign with a record of 24-8.
At 220 pounds, freshman Brady Rohrer went 1-2 at the District tournament.
In his first match, Rohrer was pinned by senior Reese Skaggs of St. Clairsville in 35 seconds. Skaggs went on to win the District title and placed fifth at the State tournament.
In his next match, Rohrer pinned Athens senior Braylon Bacon in 44 seconds.
Rohrer was pinned in the next round in 1:55 by Steubenville sophomore Spencer Ostovich. Rohrer finishes the season with a record of 14-13.
At 285 pounds, junior Mason Mustain competed for Washington, going 1-2.
In the first match, Mustain lost by default to senior Jake Welch of Warren.
In his second match, Mustain pinned New Philadelphia freshman Garrett Dillon in 41 seconds.
In what would be his final match of the tournament, Mustain lost to junior Gauge Samson of Maysville by pin in 41 seconds.
Samson, third at the District, went 1-2 at the State tournament. Welch placed fourth at the District meet and went 0-2 at the State meet.
“Overall, things didn’t go as we thought they could go at the District tournament,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “We were disappointed, obviously, that we didn’t have a State qualifier. We thought that Branton would make it. We thought that Mason had a really good chance of making it.
“Brayden Kettles was a good surprise for us,” Reid said. “He wrestled pretty well, going 2-2 at 182 pounds.
“We finished 21st as a team (tied with Maysville with 29 team points),” Reid said. “That was the first time we did not finish in the top 20 at the District meet in like 12 years. We had a goal of placing in the top 20.
“We had only one senior wrestle at the Districts, that was Jarad Kuhn,” Reid said. “Everyone else will have a chance to make it to Districts and hopefully beyond next year.
“Jarad is a two-time District qualifier,” Reid said. “We were happy he made it there. He had two really tough matches. Overall, he is one of our most-improved wrestlers. He is one of the hardest workers in our room. Because of that hard work, he’s improved a lot and he had a great senior season.”
“Branton won his first two matches by pin,” Reid said. “In the semifinals, he lost to Jake Norris of Minerva in the semifinals, 9-5. We were in that match the whole time. We were actually winning that match and the kid came back on us in the third period.
“Branton had put a lot of effort and energy into that match,” Reid said. “It looked like he was going to make the District finals and then that kid came back and beat us.
“In the consolation semifinals, Branton lost a very close match, 2-1 to Coleman of Vincent Warren,” Reid said. “He wrestled us really tough. We didn’t have enough energy, so, we didn’t wrestle the match for fifth and sixth place.”
Dawes placed sixth at the District meet.
“Freshman Austin Cottrell won his very first match,” Reid said. “He’s an undersized freshman wrestling up at 126. He went 1-2. He wrestled tough.
“At 132, Ian Roush won a match,” Reid said. “At 145, Zaigne Fettig won a match.
“Brady Rohrer won a match at 220,” Reid said. “At 285, junior Mason Mustain went 1-2 in a very tough weight class. He lost on a stall call in overtime.
“I’m looking forward to next season,” Reid said. “We are a team that won 10 dual meets this year. We finished second in the league (Frontier Athletic Conference); we were third at the Sectional and 21st at the District.
“We return nine District qualifiers, plus two other wrestlers who were unable to compete this year who were District qualifiers the year before, so, they will be back,” Reid said. “We are going to be a really good team.
“I’m disappointed with how the season ended, but, overall, despite everything we went through with COVID, we wrestled a lot of matches and our team did really well,” Reid said. “This was one of our more difficult schedules and our kids stepped up to the challenge. We wrestled a lot of state-calibre teams and wrestlers. Our kids came in ready to go and I’m pretty proud of them.
“We saw our numbers increase,” Reid said. “We had more kids out. Our j-v wrestlers had over 20 matches. It was good season for Blue Lion wrestling. If you take away the District, we had a pretty good season.”