Two weeks after winning the Ohio High School Athletic Association's inaugural state duals tournament, the second-ranked Panthers positioned themselves to capture another state title with a resounding performance at the Division III district tournament Saturday night at a packed Stroh Center.
Delta freshman Jake Spiess (41-4) needed only 1 minute, 26 seconds to pin St. Mary Central Catholic's Alex Smith at 106 pounds in the night's opening championship match, and the Panthers continued to roll. Delta had four champions and qualified five wrestlers for states, winning the district title with 143 points. Upper Sandusky finished second with 120 points while Genoa came in third with 105.
"We had a great weekend," Delta coach Anthony Carrizales said. "I was really, really proud of our boys. They've been wrestling great for the past few weeks, especially when you look at our top five guys going down to Columbus. I think we're in great position to win a team title down there and hopefully get some guys to the finals and get some individual state titles.
"I'm optimistic about it. The thing is you go down there, and anything can happen."
Delta junior Kyle Keller (36-3) followed Spiess' opening pin with a 8-4 decision over Archbold sophomore Damian Short in the 120-pound title match before junior Tyler Fahrer and senior Jared Mattin added to the haul. Fahrer earned a 6-0 decision over St. Mary's Adam Guerra at 145 pounds while Mattin won a 7-1 decision over Ontario's Nick Miller at 160. Dustin Marteney, who fell 5-1 in overtime to Galion's Zac Tupps, also qualified at 126 pounds.
"I just made up the move," he said. "I just kind of rolled into position and got it."
For Delta, it’s been that kind of season, and it was that kind of night.
"This is huge for us," Keller said. "I think we have a really good shot next week."
The Panthers highlighted a strong day for area teams. Liberty Benton’s Tyler Sarreshteh pinned Upper Sandusky’s Carson Mengerink in 5:07 at 113 pounds, Archbold’s Logan Day won by forfeit at 138, Liberty Center’s Jimmy Spieth won a 7-6 decision over Mohawk’s Grant Price at 170, and North Baltimore’s Dalton Ishmael pinned Ontario’s John Goodwin in 35 seconds at 195.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class qualified for the state meet, which begins Thursday at Value City Arena. Others making the trip include Woodmore's Evan Ulinski (106), Otsego's Trenton Soto (126), Archbold's Kenny Price (132), Short (120), Travis Jaramillo (195), Liberty Center’s Zach Niner (138), Elmwood's Michael Baer (145), Genoa's Drew Keenan (145) and Jay Nino (220), Jake Fejes (152) and Cody Buckner (285), and Fostoria's Tony Reynolds (170).