BOWLING GREEN — Lofty expectations led to disappointment for both the Central Catholic and Wauseon wrestling teams, as both programs were frustrated despite finishing second at the Division II sectional tournament Saturday.
The D-II meet at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center featured 26 teams that were divided into North and South divisions. The top four from each weight class in both divisions advanced to the district meet next weekend, which also will be at BGSU.
The Irish fell just three points short of winning the title as they finished runner-up behind Clyde in the South division. But Central had two champions and 11 place-winners who qualified to districts.
“We would have liked to have gotten the win, but it doesn’t always work that way,” Central coach Tony Guerra said. “You always want more. I would like to have a couple of matches back. But they wrestled hard.”
Wauseon won four individual sectional titles. Overall, five Indians qualified for the district tournament.
“Second is better than a whole lot of other places. But this is not what we were looking for,” Wauseon coach Mike Ritter. “We definitely wanted to have a few more going [to district]. It's frustrating and disappointing.”
Clyde topped the South field with 258 points, followed by Central Catholic (255). Bryan was eighth (90) and Napoleon ninth (59.5).
Central junior Alex Mossing won the 138-pound weight class. Mossing improved his record to 30-4 when he pinned Dakota Flores of Clyde with 24 seconds left in the championship match.
“I wanted to pin the kid for team points,” Mossing said. “I tried to not give him anything. This just builds on the excitement.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the meet was Central Catholic sophomore Chris Norwood, who pinned his way through the tournament. Norwood (17-9) recorded his fourth fall of the meet when he pinned Clyde’s Xavier Corbin with 1 minute, 9 seconds left in the second period.
Norwood, who is wrestling for the first time this season, said the key to his wins was his double-leg takedowns that led to pins.
“This is my first time I’ve made it to the finals, so it was exciting,” Norwood said. “All I really do is pin. I thought I was underrated. But everyone has more experience than me. I only know the basics, but I have great coaches. They help me out during matches. I’m confident but not cocky.”
The Irish, who flipped-flopped with Clyde atop the team standings throughout the day, also had wrestlers in three other championship matches. Senior Matt Pool (113), sophomore Nate Hagan (126), and senior Shawn Murrey (170) all finished second.
Hagan lost a heartbreaker to fall to 24-6. The match was tied at 1 and went to four overtimes before Defiance’s Santana Villarreal prevailed by holding down Hagan and preventing him from escaping. Villarreal won 2-1 in sudden death.
Mossing, who wrestled a few matches later, said the setback motivated him.
“It made me mad and gave me more energy out there,” Mossing said.
Bryan senior Shelden Struble decisioned Nate Valentine of Wapakoneta to win the title at 145. Struble (45-2) rolled to a 7-1 victory.
Napoleon had two wrestlers finish second. Freshman Seth Beard was runner-up at 106 and senior Logan Funchion was second at 160.
In the South bracket, Wauseon had high hopes of winning the team title after finishing the regular season ranked eighth in the D-II state poll. But Sandusky Perkins ran away with the team title with 235 points. The Indians tallied 196.5 points, followed by Oak Harbor (172.5) and Eastwood (139).
Wauseon’s individual champs were sophomore Wade Hodges (126), senior Jacob Whitcomb (132), junior Aaron Schuette (160), and senior Zane Krall (220).
Hodges (27-5) won all four of his matches by fall. He pinned Oak Harbor’s Jeremy Balboa with 50 seconds left in the championship final.
“I’ve never pinned my way through a tournament before,” Hodges said. “Our team crashed but I wanted to come back strong. We have five solid guys get to districts. This will make me a one seed. So hopefully I will get that district title and then the state title.”
Whitcomb upped his record to 31-6 with a 12-6 decision over top seed Kane Plaugher of Lima Shawnee.
Schuette (30-6) also beat the top seed in his weight class as he posted an 11-4 win over Tony Didion of Perkins.
Krall (34-3) won his third straight sectional title with a 3-0 decision over Kordell Chaney of Perkins. But Krall, who finished second at state last year, was in no mood to celebrate after his match.
“Not good enough,” Krall said. “I have to keep getting better for state.”
The Indians also got a second-place finish from Gage Campbell (120).
Rossford junior C.J. Ball seemed to be on a mission against Campbell. Ball led 6-0 after the first period and extended it to 8-1 early in the second. Ball then registered a technical fall (17-4).
“The last two years I didn’t even make it out of sectionals,” Ball said. “So it’s a really big deal to get out of here. Taking first is just a bonus, but I was the underdog, and I wanted to win it. I was on the attack. I feel like I have a real chance at going to state.”
Oak Harbor had eight wrestlers qualify to districts.
The Rockets’ Luke Cramer (34-5) edged Eastwood’s Randy Caris 2-1 to win the title at 170. Caris (47-2) grabbed a 1-0 lead with an escape with 1:38 left, but in the waning moments Cramer got a takedown and held on for the win.
The Rockets also won a title in the finals at 285 as sophomore T.J. Lawrence defeated Grant Moyer of Bellevue 3-1.
Ritter said he hoped to send nine of his Wauseon wrestlers to districts. “We had a few disappointing matches where kids should have made it out but didn’t,” he said. “But the kids wrestled hard.”
Guerra said he was overall happy that 11 of his 14 Central grapplers kept their seasons alive. “The guys that won have set themselves up good for [seeding],” he said.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.