By ROB HAMILTON
Northmor split their matches on Wednesday at a bracket quad the Knights hosted. Galion, River Valley and Bucyrus also competed.
The Vikings, who finished first overall, defeated Northmor in the first match by a 36-33 margin. The Knights would then rebound to topple Bucyrus 54-22 in their second match.
Four Northmor wrestlers won both of their matches on the evening. Both Aaron Kitts (126 pounds) and Conan Becker (138) picked up two victories via pin, while Jake Neer (113) won by pin and decision and Matthew Ross (145) had both a pin and forfeit.
Griffin Jenkins (132), Jake Farley (152), Brad Baker (160) and Ben Singer (170) both earned one win by pin; while Manny Heilman (106), Wyatt Collier (120) and D.J. Christo (195) got their arms raised once due to forfeit.
This bracket quad came just days after Northmor won their first invitational of the year on Saturday at Big Walnut. Last year, the Knights had a great deal of success at large meets, which played a big role in head coach Scott Carr receiving the State Wrestling Coaches Association Coach of the Year award for Division III. The Knights won six invitationals, including their first team district title, a sectional championship and their third straight Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference victory.
“Mike Skelton did a good job of getting the program to a certain level and I’m just happy to take over and carry the torch,” said Carr.
Carr gave a lot of credit to the wrestlers in the program, noting that over the past few years, they’ve had plenty of athletes advancing to the state meet and, often, competing for and/or winning state titles.
“I think when some of our teammates see other kids being successful, it helps,” he said. “We get a lot of kids down there to watch and that they think ‘that could be me’ and it lights a spark under the younger kids.”
The coach noted that he and his staff do their part to help ignite that flame, as in their practice room, there are several reminders of the program’s past successes, including state championship brackets and a listing of the all-time top winners in school history.
“We did that on purpose,” said Carr. “We put that up so the kids see them on a daily basis. We give each kid a history of the program from the very beginning to keep them interested and motivated. It gives them something to shoot for. For example, a couple years ago, Tyler Heminger saw that C.B. Dollaway had the most career wins and he saw that and wanted to be the leader.”
During the meet, Galion also went 1-1. The Tigers topped Bucyrus in their first match by a 60-18 score, but fell to River Valley 54-24 in the battle for first place on the night.
Three Galion wrestlers had perfect nights. Freshman Brendan Ganshorn went 2-0 at 106 pounds, as did senior Austin Reyes at 138 and junior Ryan Talbott at 145. Two more wrestlers missed out on 2-0 nights due to losing one-point decisions to River Valley opponents in Garrett Kuns (160) and Nick McDaniel (220).
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS