The NWOAL contingent at the State Wrestling Tournament, had a successful trip to the Schottenstein Center. The Wauseon Indians representing on the Division II stage. As a team, the Indians finished third with a point total of 77.5.
The Indians top performer was Sandro Martinez at 145#. The junior did an outstanding job of getting to the finals beating a state placer on the way but fell just short of his dream of a title by losing 7-1. He fell to returning state champion Kavon Freeman of Mentor Lake Catholic.
It was a tough weight class and Sandro represented Wauseon well. At 195 senior team leader Tony Banister did not let Wauseon down. The 195# bracket had two other state placers and one was a nemesis Banister met three other times. Banister took a heart wrenching 3-2 loss in the semifinals to the nemesis, Kavan Sarver of state powerhouse St. Paris Graham, on Friday night. Banister was a man possessed after the disappointment and made his way through the consolation rounds to take third place with his 7-2 win over Pete Abraham of Parma Padua Franciscan. At 132# Junior Hunter Yackee turned in a brilliant performance. He reached the semis only to fall 4-0 to a three-time State champion from Graham. He would wrestle back tough through the consolation rounds and finished by bringing home a bronze medal in dominate fashion with a 5-1 victory over Luke Wymer of Akron St. Vincent’s St. It was indeed payback time at the tournament for the junior who was ousted from state a year before with no wins. Freshman Jarrett Bischoff at 120# made his first visit to the tournament for the Indians. Bischoff had a great run at the tourney reaching the semi-final bout where he fell 11-3. The defeat dropped him to the consolation bracket where he lost two more hard fought battles and finish a very respectable sixth place. Senior Andrew Bailey at 160# made the most of his trip to the state tournament by placing sixth and scoring a lot of bonus team point for Wauseon by reaching the state semis before dropping two matches. It was another great career ending by being on the podium at State. Two other Indians wrestlers making their first trips to the Schottenstein Center were Gavin Ritter at 106# and Xavier Torres at 152#. Gavin Ritter topped off a breakout sophomore season by winning his first-round match then ran into a couple buzz saws in the next two rounds forcing him out of the tournament. With his taste of state this year, Ritter’s hard work paid off sending the sophomore state qualification and a great year. In the 152# weight class sophomore Xavier Torres probably had the toughest row to hoe. After dominating in his first bout, Torres was defeated by the returning two-time state champion dropping to consolation bracket. Torres was pitted against yet another returning placer to be knocked out of the tourney. Like Ritter, big things will be expected from Torres next season after his first state experience. Finishing third was the Indians best showing at the tournament in many years. Coach Mike Ritter was pleased with his super seven. “The outcome was not quite what we wanted but the team wrestled well and competed in every match” At the State tournament level there aren’t any easy matches you have to be ready every match. I am proud of the team and proud how the guys reacted to adversity in tough situations. We are a young team and look forward to a bright future.”
In Division III. Delta’s Drew Mattin at 126# joined rare company as he captured his third state title and fourth state placement to end a terrific career. 2017’s championship came against Bruce Hrynciw of Oak Harbor with a pin in 3:39. Mattin will trade in his Green and White singlet for a Maize and Blue singlet as he will compete for the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines next year as he continues his education on a wrestling scholarship. Drew’s younger brother Cole ended his sophomore season with a sixth-place finish at 120#. The Archbold Bluestreaks did well in Division III as well led by senior Noah Mattin at 138#. Mattin fell 7-1 to Tanner Smith from team Champion Mechanicsberg in his final match to garner a silver medal. Junior Gavin Grime ended his Junior campaign by winning two solid matches and just missing the podium at state. Evergreen High School senior 106# Jared Fahrer fell to and out by being in a tough half of the bracket and could not finish his dream of state placement. Junior Chase Moore of Swanton finished a good season with a fine seventh place finish and a got a good idea where he wanted to be next year, on the podium. All in all, the NWOAL was again well represented.
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY MIKE REEVES