The Napoleon Wildcats slayed Northern Lakes League wrestling giant Perrysburg on Saturday.
Napoleon's Wesley Jeffries-Babcock, front, celebrates with coaches Austin Ripke, left, and Jason Seiler, right, after defeating Maumee's Ryan Haas in the 182-pound championship during the Northern Lakes League wrestling tournament at Maumee.
Napoleon captured the school's first NLL title, dehtroning the seven-time champion Yellow Jackets in the process. The Wildcats finished with 181 points, while Perrysburg placed second with 158.5 points in the league meet at Maumee.
Napoleon had three individual champions: Caleb Hernandez (106 pounds), Zach Altman (152), and Wes Jeffries-Babcock (182). The Wildcats also had 12 of 14 wrestlers place in the meet.
“This was really a total team effort from every single kid that wrestled today,” Napoleon coach Jason Seiler said. “It's huge. I told the kids on Friday that very few people know about Napoleon wrestling, and even fewer expected us to win today. Perrysburg has been absolutely dominant the last seven years, and no one was really even close. So to flip the script and beat a great program with a lot of tradition has me excited about our program. I can't say enough great things about our kids.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Northern Lakes League championships
The Yellow Jackets had four individual champs: Chase Walczak (126), Curtis Carpenter (132), Alex Garee (138), and Ethan Garee (170).
Bowling Green's J.T. Pickens, left, and Springfield's Andrew Stoll wrestle in the 120-pound class at Saturday's Northern Lakes League wrestling championships at Maumee.
Napoleon led Perrysburg 156.5 to 125.5 entering the championship and consolation finals. The Wildcats had seven of its 14 wrestlers earn a spot in the championship round, while Perrysburg had six.
Midway through, Perrysburg had closed the gap to 20 points. Then in the 152-pound final, the schools squared off in a pivotal match.
Napoleon's Altman earned a technical fall against Perrysburg's Broc Ryan. Altman earned four points for the win and 1.5 bonus points for the technical fall.
“It feels really good. I went in wanting the team title more than the individual title,” Altman said. “So getting the win and helping us win the team title is awesome. We knew going in we had a shot. We did really well today. This helps us a lot going into sectionals. It gives us confidence.”
Seiler said Altman has been steady for three years.
“I'm proud of him for winning a championship as a senior. He works hard. He really deserves it,” Seiler said. “The team title wasn't a sealed deal at that point, and it was a really big win against a Perrysburg kid.”
Napoleon then posted a big last-second win at 182, when Jeffries-Babcock hit a takedown with one second left in the match to stun Ryan Haas of Maumee. Haas had posted a takedown with 1 minute, 26 seconds left to seize a 3-2 lead. But Jeffries-Babcock was able to get the takedown just before the final whistle to win 4-3.
“I was so tired. I was exhausted,” Jeffries-Babcock said. “I just kept working hard. So it was pretty good.”
Haas had pinned Jeffries-Babcock earlier this season.
“He got big points for us,” Seiler said. “That was really exciting. It got us all fired up.”
Hernandez got the Wildcats off to a great start with a pin at 103. Hernandez took a 4-2 lead with a reversal in the second period, then he pinned Anthony Wayne's Bryce Gilts with 30 seconds left in the match.
“Gilts has been wrestling extremely well. So for Caleb to get a pin and get us rolling was absolutely huge,” Seiler said.
Anthony Wayne finished third with 129 points, followed by Maumee (108), Bowling Green (84), Springfield (80), Northview (53.5), and Southview (15).
The Generals, Panthers, and Bobcats each had two individual champs.
AW got titles from Ethan Baumbarger (160) and Cole Ragan (285). Maumee's champs were Justin Schneider (145) and Brandon Phillips (220). BG's winners were J.T. Pickens (120) and Max Fausnaugh (195).
Springfield's Mason Hakeos won at 113.
Perrysburg's Walczak and Maumee's Phillips successfully defended their 2017 titles.
Walczak pinned his way through the tournament, winning all three matches by fall. He pinned Anthony Wayne's Cody Hutt with 28 seconds left in the second in the final.
“I've always wanted to be a two-time NLL champion,” Walczak said. “My goal was to [get all pins]. My coaches push us and my practice partners really help me out. This is a confidence booster. It will help me carry things on to the tournament.”
Finishing second for Napoleon were Lincoln Healy (113), Zane Hull (132), Ethan French (145), and Sebastian Chavez (220).
“We want to keep it going. We don't want it to be one year and done,” Seiler said.
Hakeos decisioned Healy 4-0, Pickens then defeated Springfield's Andrew Stoll 12-6.
Perrysburg then rolled off three consecutive lower middleweight titles, starting with Walczak.
The Yellow Jackets then got another fall when Carpenter pinned Hull.
At 138, Perrysburg's Alex Garee held off Northview's Conner Liber 5-3. Liber almost tied it with a takedown with 20 seconds left but the wrestlers went out of bounds.
Maumee's Schneider then posted a 15-2 major decision against French.
At 160, Baumbarger then held off BG's Nick Jackson 9-3.
Wrestlers from rivals Perrysburg and Maumee squared off in the 170-pound final. The Yellow Jackets Ethan Garee took a 3-0 lead over the Panthers' Noah Pasquinelli. But Pasquinelli got a reversal with 1:24 left in the match to make it 3-2. However, Garee got his own reversal with 58 seconds left and ultimately won 5-4.
Fausnaugh then pinned Perrysburg's Connor Gryczewski at 195.
Phillips, who placed second at state for Maumee last season, pinned Chavez in the second period.
Ragan, who has committed to play football at Air Force, then defeated Springfield's Cade Chappetta 5-2. Chappetta had pinned Ragan in the final last year.
For the first time, the NLL champion was determined by the team that won the tournament. In past seasons, a combination of head-to-head dual meet points and tournament points determined the overall winner.
Perrysburg had won seven consecutive titles from 2011-17. The Yellow Jackets are tied with Springfield for the most team titles in NLL history with 16.
Napoleon, which joined the league in 2011, finished second to Perrysburg last season.
“It's pretty amazing,” Seiler said. “To see the type of wrestlers and coaches they have at Perrysburg year in and year out. Same thing with Anthony Wayne with the type of kids they bring in. And then all of the other teams have good individuals. You wonder if it's something you can actually obtain. So to be able to do that is really special. It speaks a lot to the type of kids we have.”
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