Monday, Feb 19, 2018
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Wauseon looks to defend NWOAL wrestling crown

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    Wauseon's Nolan Ray, top, wrestles Mentor Lake Catholic's Conor McCrone at 126 pounds at the state dual meet Sunday. Ray was 3-0 at the meet.

    The Blade/Kurt Steiss
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    Oregon Clay's Garret Anderson grabs the leg of Achbold's Gavin Grime in the 145 pound championship match during the Maumee Bay Classic wrestling tournament earlier this year.

    BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH

Fresh off its Division II state team dual wrestling championship won Sunday in Columbus, Wauseon will turn its attention to defending its Northwest Ohio Athletic League championship on Saturday at Swanton High.

First-round matches will begin at 10 a.m., and the finals will begin 45 minutes following the conclusion of all the consolation matches.

The Indians of 14th-year coach Mike Ritter defeated Washington Court House Miami Trace 72-3 in the quarterfinals at St. John Arena, topped Canfield 38-33 in the semifinals, then rolled to a 48-12 victory against Mentor Lake Catholic in the championship dual.

The Canfield score was deceivingly close, as Wauseon bolted to a 38-3 lead before purposely forfeiting the final five weight classes as a precaution before wrestling in the finals.

Seniors Hunter Yackee (132 pounds), Gage Grunden (152, 145), and Sandro Ramirez (160, 152), junior Gavin Ritter (113), and sophomores Nolan Ray (126) and Jarrett Bischoff (138) were all 3-0 at the state duals. Yackee recorded two pins and a major decision.

In winning the NWOAL title last year, Wauseon had nine individual champions in easily outpointing runner-up Swanton 295-184 at Patrick Henry. Liberty Center was third at 135.

The Indians are seeking their second title in three years, and their sixth NWOAL crown in nine seasons.

SPT-WRESTLING14p-14

Oregon Clay's Garret Anderson grabs the leg of Achbold's Gavin Grime in the 145 pound championship match during the Maumee Bay Classic wrestling tournament earlier this year.

BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge

CLAY LOOKS TO REGAIN TRAC TITLE: The Clay Eagles have not forgotten the outcome of last year’s Three Rivers Athletic Conference wrestling tournament when their string of eight straight league championships, including five straight in the TRAC, was snapped on their home mats by Fremont Ross.

The Eagles seek to begin a new run of league titles Saturday at St. John’s Jesuit. First-round matches begin at 11 a.m., and the finals are set for 4 p.m.

Last February, the Little Giants came to Clay, won five individual titles, and had four runner-up finishes. It was just enough to edge the favored Eagles by just 1.5 points (209.5 to 208) for first place in the team standings.

It was the first league wrestling team championship for Ross since 1988 in the former Buckeye Conference, and it was not decided until the 285-pound final was concluded. Clay’s Nick Daly won that final 3-1 but needed a pin for the Eagles to edge past Ross and continue their title streak.

Clay will be favored again on Saturday, led by seniors Garret Anderson, who goes for his fourth TRAC individual title, and Daly, who bids for his third.

CITY LEAGUE/TAAC UP FOR GRABS: The combined City League/Toledo Area Athletic Conference wrestling title will be up for grabs Saturday at Scott, where the round-robin (pool tournament) format will begin at 11 a.m. and continue until all weight classes are concluded.

Gibsonburg, which had won the past three CL-TAAC team titles, and fellow TAAC member Danbury did not enter the tournament this season. Each will leave the TAAC after this school year to join the Sandusky Bay Conference’s River Division.

BEDFORD WINS CONFERENCE, DISTRICT: The Bedford Kicking Mules have progressed to regional competition in both team duals and individual wrestling coming off their recent wins in the Southeastern Conference’s Red Division and district team-dual and individual tournaments.

The most memorable and dramatic of these victories came in the Division 1 district dual-match championship against Woodhaven on Feb. 7 at Bedford, where the Mules trailed 36-31 entering the dual’s final individual match.

Senior Andrew Baker recorded a pin to give Bedford the six points needed to take a thrilling 37-36 victory and advance to Wednesday’s regionals at Saline. Bedford had earlier defeated Southgate 52-22 in the district team-dual semifinals.

Coach Kevin Vogel’s team also won the SEC tournament at Bedford on Feb. 3, posting 245.5 points to edge runner-up Tecumseh (243.5). Chelsea was third (189.5) and Saline took fourth (171).

Bedford was also 11-1 in SEC dual-match competition during the regular season.

Winning SEC titles for the Mules were seniors Neil Antrassian (152 pounds) and Austin Emerson (285), junior Cade Sutterfield (119), and sophomore Colin Jagielski (171).

Bedford had conference runners-up with senior Hunter Gandee (189) and junior Blake Wingate (215).

In Division 1 individual district competition at Wayne last Saturday, Bedford qualified seven wrestlers to this Saturday’s regional tournament at Saline.

Advancing as district champions were Antrassian (39-5 record), Jagielski (34-11), Wingate (32-7), and Emerson (38-3). Qualifying with third-place district finishes were Sutterfield (38-7) and Gandee (32-10), and making the regional field with a fourth at districts was freshman Chase Grzegorczyk (112 pounds, 29-11).

Contact Steve Junga at sjunga@theblade.com419-724-6461, or on Twitter @JungaBlade.

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