By Rob Kiser
and David Fong
KETTERING — Andrew Bolin has had an amazing four year run on the Piqua wrestling team.
And the 145-pound senior nearly finished his career at the state meet — and still has a chance as an alternate.
After advancing to the Fairmont D-I district semifinals at Trent Arena on Friday night, Bolin ran into two tough opponents Saturday.
“Andrew (Bolin) has had an incredible career,” Piqua coach Scott Kaye about the wrestler who finished with well over 100 wins in his career. “He has worked hard and done everything you could ask him to do. He’s been an asset to the program.”
First on Saturday, he faced one of the top rated 145-pounders in the state in LaSalle senior Eric Beck.
Bolin gave him a battle before losing being pinned in 4:58.
Bolin was trailing just 4-1 at the time.
“He just had trouble getting any offense going against him,” Kaye said.
Then, in the go-to-state match, Bolin lost to Fairfield senior Sam Meddings 11-2.
Bolin trailed 2-0 after the first period, but found himself down 6-1 after two periods and couldn’t rally in the third period.
“He just had trouble getting on top of him and being able to do anything,” Kaye said. “He just couldn’t get anything started.”
Bolin improved to 37-7 be defeating Ian Heiland of Beavercreek for the third time this season in the fifth-place match, this time by pin 34 seconds into overtime — and if it was Bolin’s final high school match, it was a fitting finish to his high school career.
advance to state
Covington’s Lance Miller is a district champion, Lehman Catholic’s Wyatt Long is making the coveted journey to state and Miami East and Versailles combined to send seven wrestlers to state from the D-III district wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday at Hobart Arena in Troy.
Miller wins title
After missing out on a return trip to state last year, Miller (160 pounds), a senior, wanted to leave no doubt this year.
Miller did just that, winning a district title in impressive fashion Saturday. After winning his first two matches by pinfall, he won his next two by major decision, the last of which — a 16-3 win over Miami Valley Christian Academy’s Seth Henderson — gave Miller a spot at state and a district championship.
“I didn’t just want to win every match — I wanted to dominate,” Miller said.
The Buccaneer found the motivation he needed in not making it to state last year after qualifying as a sophomore.
“That motivated me a lot,” Miller said. “I knew I was good enough to go last year, I just wasn’t mentally ready. I had a different attitude this year. I was more mentally ready. After not going last year, I definitely wanted to go this year.”
Long moving on
It was a roller coaster of emotions for the Lehman senior throughout the day and the end result is he will be wrestling in the state tournament.
After losing to unbeaten and eventual district champion Daniel Beemer of Ottawa-Glandorf 6-1 in the semifinals, Long faced a pivotal match.
He faced Wyatt O’neil of Bethel-Tate in the consolation semifinals needing a win to get to state.
“I was upset about losing that match (in the semifinals),” Long said. “But, at the same time I had to get focused for the next match. It is just ridiculous when you think about everything that was at stake. This was my chance to do something — to get to state, which would mean something after all the hard work.”
And Long did exactly that, dominating O’neil for a 12-3 major decision.
“I pretty much dominated the match,” Long said. “I gave up a takedown late and held on from there. It was just incredible realizing I was going to state.”
He finished fourth, losing to Deandre Nassar of Bluffton 6-1 in the third-place match.
“It was tough focusing,” he said. “I was really tired by that match. But, it is great knowing I am going to state.”
East advances four
Miami East will be sending four wrestlers to the state tournament last year after Kaleb Nickels (113) and junior Graham Shore (120) both placed second, Alex Isbrandt (132) placed third and Zane Strubler (138) placed fourth.
Shore competed in one of the most highly anticipated matches of the tournament, as he met up with Legacy Christian’s Tommy Hoskins in the finals. Last year, Shore upset the nationally ranked Hoskins — a junior who has committed to wrestle at Oklahoma — at districts. Saturday, Hoskins jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 3-2 victory over Shore.
Shore will be making his third-straight trip to state. He placed seventh as a freshman and third last year.
Isbrandt — who beat Allen East’s Schuyler Caprella 7-3 in the third-place match — also will be making his third trip to state. He placed seventh in both of his previous state tournaments.
Nickels got to the finals by pinning his first two opponents and winning an 11-10 decision in the semifinals before falling to Jacob Edwards of Troy Christian in the district finals.
Strubler, a junior, will be making his second-straight trip to state. He earned his state berth with a 12-3 win over Covington’s Keringten Martin in the consolation semifinals.
Versailles sends three
Versailles advanced three wrestlers to the state meet.
Tanner Bey (145) and Jerome Bey (182) both finished second, while Jonathan Moorman (170) finished third.
Tanner Bey was pinned by Mechanicsburg’s Tanner Smith in 1:58 in the championship match, while Jerome Bey lost a 3-1 decision to Wil Morrow of Patrick Henry in his title match.
Moorman decisioned Danny Rosales of Ottawa-Glandorf in this third-place match 12-6.