By Ben Robinson
TROY —- The Versailles wrestling team has already had a great year on the wrestling mats as the Tigers added hardware to their trophy case by winning a regional championship in the team duals and then competing in Columbus in the final four on February 10th.
And the Tigers aren’t finished by any means as they qualified four wrestlers to the individual state tournament and added another wrestler to state as an alternate.
Versailles senior Jacob Poling earned his berth at state by finishing third in the 126-pound weight class at the DIII district tournament at Hobart Arena in Troy over the weekend. Poling opened the tournament with a pair of wins on Friday —- pinning Angelo Mendez of Mariemont in 1:43 and then pinning Kobe Boggs of Coldwater in 1:15.
The Tiger senior lost to returning state champion Ethan Turner of Troy Christian in the semifinals, but cruised through his final two matches with a 4-0 win over Jacob Edwards of Bidwell River Valley and an 8-1 victory over Carlisle’s Justin Ritchie.
Fellow senior Tyler Gigandet joins Poling at state after taking third place in a very deep 170-pound weight class. He edged Jaron Patterson of Mechincsburg 3-2 in his opening bout at districts, but fell to Eli Moore of Wayne Trace 11-4 in the quarterfinals.
This forced Gigandet to take a long road to state, but the Tiger senior was up to the task as he ran off four straight wins. First, Gigandet pinned Matthew Welker of Miami East in 2:59 and then recorded a 12-2 major decision victory over Ezra Jones of Columbus Grove to set up a showdown with Mark Wrasman of Delphos St. John’s in a go-to-state match.
And Gigandet was dominant as he rolled to an 11-6 victory to set up a rematch with Jaron Patterson of Mechanicsburg in the consolation final. And much like their opening bout to start the tournament, the match was tight throughout until Gigandet pulled out the 5-2 win.
Junior Isaac Grilliot also earned a third place finish for the Tigers as he defeated Matt Schmersal of Ottawa-Glandorf 9-8 in the consolation final at 195 pounds.
Grilliot won his opening match via 3:56 pin against Noah Wise of Cincinnati Country Day, but lost to eventual champion Garrett Neth of Allen East in the quarterfinals.
Like Gigandet, Grilliot ran off four straight wins – a 2:30 pin of Jesse Fisher of Covington, a 4:34 pin of Quincy Brown of Middletown Madison, an injury default victory over Levi Morrison of Greenon, followed by his victory over Schmersal in the consolation final.
The fourth Tiger grappler to ensure a spot at state is junior 152-pounder Cael Bey, who overcame nearly insurmountable odds to earn his state birth.
Bey, who entered districts as the champion from the Lehman sectional, was upset in his opening match at districts by Justen Anderson of Wellston by the score of 6-2. This forced the Tiger wrestler to battle his way back through the entire consolation rounds, which he was able to do to finish fourth.
He began his journey with a 6-0 win over Lucas Moore of Troy Christian and followed with a 2-1 victory over Blake Hershberger of Allen East and a 6-5 win over Jake Mumper of Roger Bacon.
This set up a rematch with Andersonin the consolation semifinal – the go-to-state match.
But this time Bey wasn’t going to be denied as he took the action to Anderson and pulled out a thrilling 6-4 win to secure his berth at the state meet. He then dropped his consolation final match to Clayton Schemer of Blanchester.
The final Tiger wrestler who will be making the trip to Columbus is freshman 132-pounder Carson Bey as he finished fifth to qualify as a state alternate.
And the youngster had to go through a brutal bracket to earn alternate status after he dropped his opening match 7-3 to Chase Caprella of Lima Central Catholic. Carson responded with three straight wins as he defeated Andrew Frump of Blanchester 12-2, Peyton Brown of Milton-Union 3-1 and then knocked off returning state qualifier Ethin Hoffman of Arcanum 3-1.
After falling to Jake Hurst of Mechanicsburg 8-0 in the consolation semifinal, Bey recorded a 7-4 win over Nick Alvarez of Legacy Christian for fifth place and state alternate status. And should one of the four wrestlers who finished ahead of Bey in the district tournament fall to make weight or skin check, the Tiger freshman will have the opportunity to compete under the bright lights of the Schottenstein Center.