TROY — The Troy Christian, Miami East, Covington and Milton-Union wrestling teams combined for 12 state qualifiers and three district champions at the D-III district tournament at Hobart Arena Friday and Saturday.
The Eagles led the way, finishing third as a team and having all four wrestlers advance to district title matches.
On Saturday, Kyle Schroer (106) and Lee Burkett (190) both won titles.
Schroer recorded an 18-6 major decision over Ethan Cantrell of West Union and pinned Hayden Jones of Brookville in 4:46 in the title match.
Burkett decisioned Colton Hultgren of Milton-Union 6-1 in the semifinal and decisioned Drake Bennett of Miami East 12-8 in the title match.
“I am really happy for Kyle (Schroer) and Lee (Burkett),” Troy Christian coach Steve Goudy said. “Especially, Lee. It has been a battle for him the last couple years to get over the hump.”
Jason Shaffer (126) and Connor Havill (175) both finished second.
Shaffer won by default over Jericho Quinter of Covington in the semifinals, before losing by tech fall 17-1 to Dillon Campbell in the title match.
“I still feel like Jason (Shaffer) can win next week,” Goudy said. “We had a wrestler lose by major decision in the district finals one year and nearly major decision the guy the next week. We are always training for next week.”
Havill, the defending state champion, lost a 7-6 decision to Kane Epperly of Versailles in the title match after pinning Josh Groeber of Clermont Northeast in the semifinal in 27 seconds.
“Kudos to Versailles,” Goudy said. “Our defending champion got beat. That is what happens when think you are just going to show up and win. I think it will be a good loss (for Connor Havill). That will give him fuel as he prepares to defend his title next week. There always emotional roller coasters at district…always.”
The Vikings tied for fourth and had three state qualifiers.
“I thought we wrestled about as well as we could,” Miami East coach Rich Randall said. “We definitely met expectations.”
Cooper Shore (120) ran his record to 46-0 by pinning his way to the finals.
He pinned Nolan Earles of Preble Shawnee in 2:22 in the semifinals and decisioned Nathan Attisano 7-2 in the title match.
“Cooper (Shore) did what Cooper does,” Randall said. “He didn’t open up as much this week because he didn’t have too.”
Drake Bennett (190) and Dustin Winner (285) both finished second.
Bennet won an 8-7 decision over Owen Pummel of Indian Lake in the semifinals, before losing to Burkett.
“Drake (Bennett) wrestled beautifully,” Randall said. “That was a big win in the semifinals.”
Winner pinned Noah Rutherford of Carlisle in 5:52 before losing 3-0 to Eli Criblez of Allen East in the title match.
“Dusty’s semifinal match was a big one too,” Randall said. “That guy (Eli Criblez) is a projected state champion. We definitely narrowed the gap.”
Aaron Mills (144) and Hunter Randall (165) are both alternates.
“We had some tough ones (in the go-to state matches),” Randall said. “Both of those guys came back strong to get alternate spots.”
The Buccs finished sixth and advanced three wrestlers to the state meet.
Chase Vanderhorst (132) finished second.
He pinned Edward Kessen of Delphos St. John’s in 44 seconds in the semifinal before losing 7-5 to Wyatt Hinton of Norwood in the title match.
“That was a tough loss in the championship match,” Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst said. “But, he wrestled well.”
Michael Hagan (120) finished third and Caleb Ryman (138) was fourth.
After losing in the semifinals, Hagan decisioned Tyler Overman of Coldwater 8-1 and pinned Nolan Earles of Preble Shawnee in 57 seconds in the third-place match.
After losing in the semifinals, Ryman won a 9-2 decision over Nathan Opichka of Madeira in the go-to state match before losing by pin to Ashtan Hendricks of Greeneview in the third-place match.
“Michael (Hagan) had a strong tournament,” Vanderhorst said. “Caleb is a kid who has worked really hard, not just during the season but in the off-season as well. So, that was great to see.”
An injury caught up with Jericho Quinter (126), who finished fifth to earn alternate status.
“All of our guys wrestled well,” Vanderhorst said. “Poor Jericho (Quinter) he was up 13-3 (in the go-to-state match) and then got thrown. There are always highs and lows in the this tournament.”
The Bulldogs finished 15th as a team and advanced two wrestlers on to state.
“In the last five years, I don’t remember us having two wrestlers at state,” Milton-Union coach Andrew Slonkosky said. “So, I am happy with the way we wrestled.”
Payton Mayfield (126) took third.
After losing in the semifinals, Mayfield pinned Kyan Hendricks of Greeneview in 1:38 in the go-to-state match and pinned Matthew Wheeler of Madison in 1:37 in the third-place match.
Nathan Barker (157) finished fourth.
After losing in the semifinals, Barker pinned Emerson Layman of Spencerville in 4:30 in the go-to-state match, before losing an 8-0 decision to Kade Wireman of Allen East in the third-place match.
“We came out on fire on Friday and just kept it going,” Slonkosky said.
The state tournament will be conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Schottenstein Center.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]