By Rob Kiser
KETTERING — Piqua seniors Tristan Hostetter (126) and Sam Herndon (132) led Piqua with fourth-place finishes at the GWOC wrestling tournament Saturday at Trent Arena.
And are priming themselves for even bigger matches ahead.
“They have shown the ability to go out and compete at a high level every week,” Piqua coach Scott Kaye said. “They just need to continue to work on things and get better.”
Both were seeded fourth in their respective weight classes.
Hostetter, 26-13, opened the tournament by pinning Cameron Abrams of Tippecanoe in 55 seconds.
In the quarterfinals, he ran into Trotwood-Madison’s Demiri Randle and lost a 9-4 decision.
Hostetter then battled his way through the consolations.
He had a 19-11 decision over Phoenix Robinson of Fairborn, pinned Tyron Keeton of West Carrollton in 4:22; and won a 5-3 decision over Michael Maas of Fairmont to get to the third-place match.
That’s where he faced Randle for the second time and lost an 11-3 major decision.
It was 2-2 at one point, before Randle began to take control.
“Tristan (Hostetter) was doing a better job the second time for awhile,” Kaye said. “That kid is a long, strong kid and that is a tough matchup for Tristan. That is a tough adjustement to make.”
Herndon, 26-8, won his first two matches to advance to the semifinals.
He opened with a 12-5 decision over Blake Brown of Springfield, before winning an 8-1 decision over Jacob Boulton of Springboro.
He lost an 11-2 major decision to eventual champion Ronnie Pietro of Vandalia-Butler, before bouncing back with a 12-1 major decision over Connar Davis of Lebanon.
In the third-place match, he faced Andrew Knick of Northmont and it went to the wire.
Herndon held Knick the entire second period and it was scoreless going to the third period.
Herndon had an escape after starting down in the third period to go up 1-0, before Knick got a takedown.
Herndon tied it at 2-2 with another escape, before Knick got a takedown in the final 20 seconds to win.
“He did a lot of good things out there that he can take from the match,” Kaye said. “He wrestled a good match.”
Also competing for Piqua were Brian Wintrow (120), Isaac Bushnell (152), Matt Blankenship (160), Zavier Penny (170), Bryce Short (195) and Lance Reaves-Hicks (220).
“For those guys, it is (a learning season),” Kaye said. “But, they are all freshman (except Blankenship). If they stick with it and continue to work hard, this sport will turn into a worthwhile experience for them.”
Piqua will wrestle at the Greenville double-dual Friday at 6 p.m., before going to the Centerville D-I sectional the following weekend.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.