In the final year of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference as it is, Northmor was able to add to their collection of winter sports titles.
Just two days after the boys’ basketball team claimed a share of their first ever title, the wrestling team not only won the Blue for the fifth straight year, but also was the top-scoring team in the league during Saturday’s conference meet.
Northmor finished with 212 points, while Red champion River Valley had 183. Galion finished third in the Red with 125.
The Knights won thanks to scoring depth. While both they and Highland claimed three weight class champions, Northmor had 11 of their 12 wrestlers finish in the top four.
“We’re a solid team with quality wrestlers at every weight class,” said head coach Scott Carr. “That experience showed this weekend. We have six seniors on our team and their leadership goes a long way and trickles down to the underclassmen.”
The coach cited his team’s depth, pointing out that Gavin Ramos pulled off some big wins to place at 126 pounds and that 160-pounder Kyle Price found out he’d be competing that day at 5:30 a.m. due to a teammate’s being ill. Carr noted that his team’s season builds up to the league meet, and then the postseason, which begins this Saturday at sectionals.
“We preach about this at the beginning of the season,” he said. “The league is a goal — it’s not our ultimate goal, but it’s a goal. It’s been building from November to now. We’ve been gearing up for the last month. It’s a good confidence boost going into sectionals.”
Conan Becker (138), Conor Becker (145) and Mason Burger (182) all took home first-place finishes. Conan claimed two pins and a technical fall in his first three matches before topping Preston Smith of Pleasant by an 8-0 margin in the finals. Conor won by pinfall in his first two matches before edging Pleasant’s Brock Zugg in a 4-3 finals match. Burger also opened with two pins and then won by a 10-4 margin over River Valley’s Sam Troutman to claim his championship.
Jake Neer (120), Matthew Ross (152) and Nathan Price (195) finished second in their classes. Winning their third-place matches were Manny Heilman (106), Ramos (126), Aaron Kitts (132) and Kyle Price (160); while Ben Singer (170) was fourth.
If Carr had one negative to take from the day, it’s that this marks the final year of his squad taking part in the MOAC tournament.
“It’s kind of bittersweet with the league breaking up,” he said. “I wish we could do it for the next 20 years. We’ve built a lot of good relationships with coaches — it’s sad.”
In the Red Division, Galion had a pair of champions, as Garrett Kuns finished first at 170 and Noah Grochowalski placed at the top of the 195-pound class.
Kuns cruised to his title, picking up two pins and a technical fall in his first three matches before beating Carter Layton of River Valley 10-0 in the finals. Grochowalski, not to be outdone, finished his day with three pins and technical fall, including a second-period fall over Northmor’s Nathan Price in the finals.
Brenden Ganshorn finished second at 106, as did Mason Weldon at 285. Also, Zach Carroll (152) and Matt Oehrli (160) took fifth and Cody Brady (126) was sixth.