Tiger wrestlers end 27-year championship drought


February 4, 2014

MOUNT BLANCHARD — The drought is over.

The Galion Tigers claimed the North Central Conference wrestling championship here last weekend, ending a streak of 27 years without a league title.

Galion outscored two-time defending champion Upper Sandusky by 10 points — 277-267 — to secure the first-place hardware. Two years ago the Rams nipped the Orange-and-Blue by just five points for the crown. Last winter, Upper scored a more convincing 30-point triumph over the locals.

Rounding out the team scoring at this season’s meet were host Riverdale, 174; Bucyrus, 151; and Buckeye Central, 63. Colonel Crawford, Crestline and Wynford did not field teams.

“It took a whole team effort for us to knock off the Rams,” stated Brent Tyrrell, head coach of the champions. “It was a major team goal for us to win this meet. We had two freshmen step up and get a few big wins. Garrett Kuns bumped up two weight classes for the team and went 3-1 to take second place, and Ryan Talbott had a huge head-to-head win against an Upper kid which sealed to deal.”

All 13 Tigers who competed placed in the top three of their weight class.

A trio of seniors — Nick Flowers (145 pounds), JT Harris (182) and Justin Kleinknecht (120) — spearheaded the effort by going undefeated and winning their respective divisions.

“We had three seniors go out with a bang and got conference titles,” Tyrrell noted of the triumvirate.

Second-place Tigers were Drake Barnett (152), Mason Fry ( 170), Kuns (132), Deaken McCoy (220), Nick McDaniel (195) and Tristan Schroeder (285).

Garnering third-place honors were Carson McIe (113), Austin Reyes (126), Talbott (138) and Arby Thompson (160).

“What I believe won the tournament for us was the whole team went out looking to get bonus points in each winnable match,” Tyrrell mentioned. “We end up with 20 pins, one tech fall, three major decisions. It was a great feeling finally getting a title in our final year in the league, especially when nobody except our team thought we could knock off Upper this year.”