- Eyes On
With two teammates having already clinched state tournament berths, Wapakoneta Redskins junior Colton Brown nabbed a 2-1 win on an ultimate tiebreaker to join Dallas Ambos and Landon Hall at the state meet in Columbus this week.
Three of Wapak’s four district qualifiers advanced to state for the first time, while junior Heath Newman finished fifth and is an alternate for the state meet.
The Redskins concluded the two-day Division II district wrestling tournament Saturday at the Stroh Center on the campus of Bowling Green State University.
All four wrestlers were in the same position virtually the entire tournament, as it was an all-or-nothing affair Friday and Saturday for the Redskins.
They each won their first match and lost their second match Friday.
“Fortunately for us, they all were able to win their first match on Friday,” Wapak coach Jason Rostorfer said. “That was huge because it puts them a round ahead (in consolations). Unfortunately, they each lost second round match.
“At the end of the day Friday, they knew they had their work cut out. We went back to hotel and said they just needed to take one match at a time and not worry about two or three rounds ahead. It was nice to be away from the arena and spent some time relaxing in the hotel.”
Entering action Saturday, each of them needed to win three straight matches in the consolation bracket to qualify for state.
Guaranteed only four matches Saturday, incredibly, the Redskins combined to go 11-1 before their fate for state were determined.
“It was nerve wracking,” Rostorfer said. “It’s a district tournament, so it’s not easy to win matches. Having four guys in the same situation, it’s not the optimal situation to be in. I told them (Saturday), when you can go 11-1 on the second day of the district tournament, that’s pretty impressive. I was proud of their effort.
“They had to take one match at a time, and they did.”
Brown edged Clyde sophomore Marshall Messer, 2-1, in that ultimate tiebreaker.
“Colton was able to hang on to him and ride him out for a win,” Rostorfer said. “That was big for (Colton), obviously. Colton was determined to win that match. I told them they don’t have to be pretty. They just have to worry about wins.”
Brown was then defeated on a 2-1 decision by Perkins senior John Workman.
Ambos, in his first match Saturday, edged Tippecanoe junior Gabe Callicoat in a 3-2 decision.
For his second win, Ambos topped Lexington junior Chuck Mikelait in a 5-3 decision.
To earn his trip to state, Ambos earned a 10-2 major decision over Celina senior Andy Garwood, who was 40-5 this season entering the match.
In the third-place match, Ambos lost to Oak Harbor junior Ben Petersen for the second time at districts, defeated on a 4-3 decision.
Hall won two decisions in his first pair of matches Saturday, topping Maumee junior Cahle Puhl, 5-0, and Bay senior Cody Wright, 8-4.
To clinch his spot at state, Hall edged Clyde sophomore Garit Witt, 3-1, in a consolation semifinal.
In an all-Western Buckeye League third-place match, Shawnee sophomore Dylan Hefner edged Hall on a 2-0 decision.
Newman, for his first match Saturday, topped Toledo Central Catholic senior Jared Fann in a 7-3 decision. Newman won his second match, 3-2, over Lexington senior Gabe Benjamin.
In the go-to-state match, Newman was pinned at 4:12 by Perkins senior Alex Tetzloff.
Newman won the fifth-place match in a 19-4 major decision over Buckeye senior Alex Wilk to clinch his spot as state alternate.
The three-day Division II state championships will start Thursday with the championship preliminaries at 4:10 p.m. and Round 1 of the consolation bracket at 8 p.m.
Rostorfer described his thoughts entering the final week of the season, which not all wrestlers are assured.
“The state tournament is an accomplishment,” the coach said. “It’s what we stress all year almost every day in practice. There’s mention of wrestling in the state tournament and reaching that level. They’re one of 16 kids left in the entire division. That’s a huge accomplishment.
“We talked about not worrying about who they’re paired against. The goal was just to qualify, and they did.”
Rostorfer said his guys will need some rest before they can start prep work for competition in Columbus.
“I told them (Sunday) to enjoy their accomplishment,” he said. “(Today) we’ll go back to practice. they’re beat up right now. It looks like they went through a boxing match right now. We’ll work on some recovery (today) and take it easy to get their legs back under them to 100 percent and we’ll start getting ready for this weekend.”
Here are Wapakoneta’s opponents in the championship preliminaries Thursday in Columbus:
—Coventry junior Zack Lake, 42-7 (Ambos)
—Urbana sophomore Jack Harris, 46-2 (Hall)
—Johnstown-Monroe senior Clayton Bullard, 48-0 (Brown)