In first action of the year, Galion’s Weldon places third at Mansfield Senior
MANSFIELD — The only thing Northmor senior Conan Becker didn’t win was the Bill Flanegan Award as the most outstanding wrestler at the 56th Gorman Invitational.
Based upon his performance, Becker should have asked for a recount of the coaches’ voting. It’s hard to imagine anyone fared better.
Becker had three wins by pin and another by major decision going into the title bout at 145-pounds Saturday evening at Mansfield Senior’s Pete Henry Gym. In a battle of two-time state placers in the finals, Becker easily brushed aside Norton’s Bret Baker, 9-4.
Becker is currently ranked No. 1 in the state among 145-pounders in Division III. But he was only seeded No. 2 in the Gorman. The top seed went to a wrestler based on a higher winning percentage this season.
Afterward, Becker (19-2) matter-of-factly recounted his tournament run in the 36-team field, claiming the title he missed last year with a loss in the finals.
“It was all right,” he said. “I have to get into better shape (the start to his wrestling season was delayed when the Northmor football team qualified for the playoffs). The kid I wrestled in the finals was a two-time state placer. I knew that would be a tough match.”
Becker was one of five Northmor wrestlers to place in the top eight, helping the Golden Knights to another top-10 team finish. Ashland won the team competition with 200 points. Bay and Norton tied for second with 145 each.
Northmor was ninth with 118 points. Galion was 17th with 68.
“It’s a good tournament with great competition,” said Northmor coach Scott Carr, who said Becker learned a lesson last weekend in Medina.
“He dropped a couple of matches against tough kids he could have won. We told him it’s time to start winning those matches,” Carr said. “We preach to all the kids all the time the need to finish strong … to wrestle hard for all five minutes.”
Other Northmor placers were Gavin Ramos (7th place, 126 pounds), Aaron Kitts (4th place, 132 pounds), Tony Martinez (5th place, 152 pounds) and Conor Becker (3rd place, 160 pounds).
Galion had four top-eight finishers, including senior Mason Weldon, who finished third at 285-pounds in his first matches of the season. Other finishers were Brenden Ganshorn (8th place, 120 pounds), Noah Grochowalski (6th place, 182 pounds) and John Abouhassan (7th place, 220 pounds).
Tigers coach Brent Tyrell was pleased, but felt his team left some wins on the mats.
“We lost some matches we could have won,” Tyrell said. “But I am happy with where we finished. I only brought eight wrestlers and we managed to finish in the middle of the pack against good competition.
“We still have a lot of work to do. But one of the great things about wrestler is it’s all about where you finish, not where you start,” Tyrell said.