Depth proved to be the difference for Wauseon, which ended Oak Harbor's stranglehold on the Perrysburg Invitational Tournament title Saturday night.
The Rockets had easily won the wrestling tournament four straight years, but the Indians halted that dominance at the 39th annual PIT.
Oak Harbor had more individual champions — six to three for Wauseon — but all 13 Indians that entered the tournament placed and they compiled too many points prior to the championship round.
"We really had to fight off Oak Harbor," Wauseon coach Mike Ritter said. "They have a powerhouse lineup. We just won a couple matches in the finals and that sealed it up. Every kid we brought placed. So our depth really helped us. All those lower placements were the big difference."
Entering the 189-pound final where Wauseon senior Nick McCall squared off with Oak Harbor senior Sean McGee, the Indians held a slim five-point lead. McCall (23-2) scored three takedowns — one in each period — to decision McGee 7-4. The win wrapped up the title for Wauseon which posted 247.5 points to 238.5 for Oak Harbor.
"To win it for the team I had to try to score as many points as I could," McCall said. "Our program has stepped up a lot. Depth is a great thing to have in these situations."
The last two years Wauseon finished runner up to Oak Harbor at the PIT where a spotlight shines brightly on the championship mat. The Indians also defeated the Rockets 42-21 in a state dual meet last Sunday.
"We got over the hump," Ritter said.
Wauseon got titles from Cody Pontius (112 pounds), Dalton Nicely (135), and McCall.
"I'm more proud of the team win," said Nicely, who pinned Ashland's Zach Carter. "I finally feel we're on top and I think that's where we'll be for while. I wanted to get the pin. I'm just really happy."
Oak Harbor had some consolation in senior Ian Miller who won his fourth straight PIT title. It took Miller, a defending state champion at 145 pounds, just 44 seconds to pin Delta's Tyler Yant in the 152-pound championship. Miller (27-0) pinned each of his four opponents at the tourney in under a minute and was named the PIT's most valuable wrestler.
"It's always exciting to win," said Miller, who will wrestle at Kent State. "You can't take any tournament lightly."
The Rockets' other winners were Brock Evans (119), Tyler Hackworth (125), Alex Bergman (140), Konner Witt (160), and Jake Cramer (171).
Delta finished a distant third (133.5) with two champs. Host Perrysburg was fourth (116.5), and Clay finished fifth (112.5)
The Indians were ranked fifth in the latest Division II state coaches poll and the Rockets were ranked second.
"We have a lot of work to do to live up to that and Oak Harbor is kind of our measuring stick," Ritter said. "This was a good test for us."
Wauseon entered the championship round leading the tournament with 233.5 points and Oak Harbor was second (210.5). The Indians had six wrestlers in the championship finals and the Rockets had eight. The two had grapplers meet head-to-head in the finals of the 160 and 189 pound weight classes and they split those matches.
Wauseon got its first win when junior Cody Pontious (7-0) held off Napoleon senior Zach Walker 3-1 in the 112-pound championship. That expanded the Indians' lead to 27 points.
The Rockets got four team points back in the next match (119 final) when freshman Brock Evans (12-5) shutout Perrysburg junior James Waltermeyer 3-0.
Oak Harbor got another win in the next weight class, 125, as senior Tyler Hackworth successfully defended his 2010 PIT title. Hackworth (15-2) decisioned Mohawk senior Chad Shellhouse 9-4 to pull the Rockets within 19 points.
"I was hoping for a pin and not just the win. We needed the team points," Hackworth said. "But it felt good [to repeat]."
Wauseon countered with a win by junior Dalton Nicely (18-4), who pinned Carter with 27 seconds left in the second period. The fall gave the Indians six more points and a 25-point edge over Oak Harbor to essentially secure the team title.
Bergman (20-4) repeated as PIT champ in the 140-pound final as he took down Hamilton's Gage Asher 6-1. But at 145, Delta sophomore Jared Mattin (25-3) posted a 14-3 major decision over Oak Harbor senior Kyle Mincheff.
Rockets senior Konnor Witt improved to 20-2 with a dominating 10-0 win over Wauseon's Lucas Tanier in the 160-pound final. Witt, a state runner up last year, won his third straight PIT title.
Perrysburg junior Micah Carter made the home crowd happy and pushed his record to 16-1 with a 5-3 decision over Wauseon's Trent Seiler in the 215-pound title bout.
Oak Harbor scored another convincing win at 171 when senior Jake Cramer (19-3) shutout Clay's Chico Cloyne 8-0.
To open the night, Mansfield's Michael Evans (20-1) pinned Clay sophomore Nick McNutt with three seconds left in the second period of the 103-pound final.
Delta junior Luke Kern (5-0) repeated as PIT champion when he knocked off Mohawk senior Kyle Parker 4-2 in the 130-pound weight class.
Wauseon got third-place finishes from Austin Yarnell (130) and Austin Kulzi (152).
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com or 419-724-6354.
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