NORWALK — Wauseon’s Sandro Ramirez can’t bring himself to look at his state runner-up medals from the past two years.
The senior hasn’t seen either one since the end of last year’s state individual tournament.
“I look at them only right before the state tournament,” said Ramirez after beating Napoleon’s Zach Altman in the 152-pound finals at Saturday’s Division II district tournament at Norwalk High School. “But you can bet I’ll be looking at both for motivation this week. I want that state gold.”
Wauseon's Sandro Ramirez, right, pictured during the Maumee Bay Classic in January, won his fourth district championship Saturday, one of 6 Indian wrestlers to grab the top spot on the podium.
A four-time Northwest Ohio Athletic League champ and now a four-time district winner, a state title is all that remains for Ramirez (48-4) to accomplish. Luckily, he’ll have quite the support group along for the ride.
Riding the wave of a 7-1 semifinal round, the Indians had six wrestle their way to individual district crowns, while another three finished in the top four, giving Wauseon a school-record nine state qualifiers. It was more than enough for the Indians to run away with the district team championship as their 242.5 points more than doubled second-place Medina Buckeyes’ 104. Napoleon was the next top area finisher, taking fourth at 76.5 in front of Sandusky Perkins’ 74.5.
“Real happy for those nine guys. We had a couple guys, one in particular at 195 [Aaron Harris] who came real close to being our 10th,” Wauseon coach Michael Ritter said.
Ramirez pinned Tiffin Columbian’s Joey Simcoe in 59 seconds in the semifinals before beating Altman in a 16-10 decision.
“This is the second step to my first state title,” Ramirez said. “I came into high school thinking I was going to win multiple state titles. I still have won a state title, but it does feel good to win my fourth district title. I’ve been having some ankle issues but I thought I got my offense going well and I liked how I was moving.”
Gavin Ritter started the Indians’ championship march, earning a 7-3 finals’ win over Padua Franciscan’s Jimmy Balazy in the 113 class.
Alex Slattman and Nolan Ray followed with a pin (:49) and 14-6 major decision win at 120 and 126 respectively. In front of Ramirez, Gage Grunden dominated Lima Bath’s Collin Mell in a 11-2 major decision at 145.
The highlight for Wauseon might have come from Xavier Torres at 160, who held off a late charge to top previously unbeaten Ethan Hernandez of Norwalk. Hernandez entered the match at 44-0. Torres got an early lead and fought off what the Truckers’ coaching staff and fans thought was a takedown by Hernandez with 23 seconds left.
“He’s a tough guy,” said Torres of Hernandez.
“I knew I had to keep away from his throws and that’s what I was able to do. Then I was to get on top of him and control him.”
Tiffin Columbian’s Caden Blust slipped past Wauseon’s Hunter Yackee by a 3-2 decision in the 132 finals.
The Indians’ Mauricio Barajas (138) and Trent Davis (170) both won consolation matches. The nine qualifiers surpasses last year’s seven, which was also done by Wauseon in 1996.
“We thought Trent Davis would have a real tough go of it. That 170 class is a real tough weight class, but he wrestled really well today,” coach Ritter said. “I think there was some other groups of guys that we knew were going to have a struggle. At 138, Mauricio Barajas was going to have a tough draw, and lost a really tough quarterfinal match before battling back to qualify for us.”
Sandusky Perkins’ Lucas Salmon won the 170-pound title while Upper Sandusky’s Noah Clary won at 182. Wapakoneta heavyweights Evan Kaeck and Brenan Knueve cleaned at both 220 and 285 respectively.
Clary beat Maumee’s Ryan Haas in a 13-3 major decision. The Panthers’ Brandon Phillips was pinned by Kaeck in 5:28, trailing 10-4 at the time.
Otsego’s Jake Manley dropped a 13-2 major decision to Firelands’ Payton Burgdorf at 106.
Napoleon had three state qualifiers, including runner-up Jimmy Pelland at 120.
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