Seven local wrestlers advance to state meet

By Rob Hamilton - [email protected]

Seven Morrow County wrestlers — five from Northmor and one each from Highland and Mount Gilead — will see their season extended one more week, as they advanced through districts into the state meet.

In finishing third at the 60-team Division III district meet hosted by Heath, Northmor had 99 points and advanced five of the six wrestlers they brought to the state meet, which will be hosted by The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center this weekend.

Conor Becker highlighted Northmor’s performance, as he won a district championship at 170 pounds to improve to 30-0 on the year as he attempts to earn his second straight state title.

Becker opened his district with a first-period pin over David Worza Jr. of Bridgeport before dominating Glenn Keeton III of Westfall in a 20-3 technical fall. In the semifinals, he defeated Kameron Hughes of Martins Ferry 5-0 and then, in a rematch of his sectional final match, pinning Mount Gilead’s Andy Williamson in 1:06.

Two more Northmor wrestlers took second place in Austin Amens and Niko Christo. Amens (38-8) advances to his first state meet as a senior behind three wins at 145 pounds. He opened with a 2-0 win against Xavier Lamneck of Ridgewood and then claimed a 10-0 win over Tucker Smith of Meigs. He edged Hayden Johnson of Richmond Edison by a 9-8 margin in the semis before losing by technical fall to Carter Chase of Pleasant in the finals.

In reaching his second state meet in as many years, sophomore Niko Christo moved his record to 43-7. He opened with a 15-0 technical fall against Justin Butler of South Gallia before defeating Dylan Hershberger of Garaway by a 6-0 count. In his semifinal match, he got past Andrew Knaup of West Muskingum by an 11-10 count, but was topped 12-6 by Pleasant’s C.J. Smith in the finals.

Seniors Gavin Ramos and Dale Brocwell both finished in the top four at Heath.

Ramos claimed third place at 132 pounds and now is 41-8 on the season. He opened with a quick pin over Elijah Cox of Tuscarawas Valley and then won 6-1 over Todd Fouts of Trimble. He would lose by pin in the third period of his semifinal match with Gavin Weaver of Newcomerstown, but rallied with a 4-0 win over Devon Watkins of Sandy Valley and a win via default against Aiden Aiello.

In advancing to his first state meet, Brocwell (21-8) opened with a 10-5 win over Dylan Ward of Martins Ferry and a 9-8 decision against Branden Boggs of Sandy Valley at 106 pounds. He would lose by major decision to Wesley Wydick of Utica in the semis, but battled back to finish fourth. He won 12-5 in a rematch with Ward to clinch a spot in the state meet before losing by pin to Andrew Huck of Bidwell River Valley.

At 126 pounds, sophomore Marcus Cortez finished his season with a 21-18 record. He lost 11-7 to Gage Dyke in his opening match, but picked up a 28-second pin over Jonathan Rossano of Martins Ferry in the consolation bracket. He wouldn’t be able to continue advancing, though, as he was pinned by Tyler Bruer of Shenandoah in the next round.

Mount Gilead tied for 25th place at Heath behind their two competing wrestlers.

Williamson placed second at 170 pounds. Before falling to Becker in the finals, he won three matches, pinning Brandon Mamie of Bellaire in 52 seconds and Aiden Green of Bidwell River Valley at the 5:59 mark. In the semifinals, the junior (45-5) won 17-10 against Tabor Lackey of Trimble.

Junior Jesus Rubio (28-20) competed at 152 pounds, going 0-2 in the tournament.

Highland competed in the Division II district hosted by Wilmington, where their four wrestlers did well enough to earn a tie for 22nd place out of 54 teams, scoring 29 points.

Christian Miller improved to 31-11 by finishing third at 152 pounds and making his first state meet as a senior.

Miller won by pin over Zach Osborne of Franklin at the 1:28 mark and then topped Hank Williams of Bethel-Tate by a 9-2 score to reach the semifinals. He would lose 7-2 against Trace Braun of Graham Local, but bounced back to top Colten Jacobe of Milton-Union 4-0 and then defeat KeAnthony Bales of Eaton 7-1.

Sophomore Cody Matthews of Highland finished his season with a 44-9 record after taking sixth place at 160 pounds. He opened with a pinfall win over Gage Huston of Blanchester and then edged Camden McDanel of Graham Local 5-4, but was unable to get a third win in the meet. In the semifinals, he lost 10-2 to Dylan Dodson of Licking Valley. Then, he was edged 3-2 by Zac Schmidt of Eaton in his go-to-state match before defaulting to Zach Walsh of Granville in the fifth-place bout.

Sophomore Caleb Wetzel (32-15) won one match at 113 pounds. He opened with a first-period pin over Cooper Campbell of Monroe, but then was beaten by major decision by Justin Mills of Valley View. In the consolations, he lost 2-0 to A.J. Kimble of Licking Valley.

Junior Triston Hinkle (29-21) competed in the 182-pound match, but wasn’t able to win either of his two contests.

By Rob Hamilton

[email protected]

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS