By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — Before the season began, Troy Christian wrestling coach Steve Goudy said that winning a state championship as a team was the goal.
And after winning four with the Eagles already, he also knows that winning at the sectional, or even the district, level doesn’t necessarily give a picture of what those state standings will end up looking like.
“Oh, absolutely. We want to win a state title. But we don’t necessarily have to win here to win that state title,” Goudy said at the first day of the Division III district tournament Friday night at Hobart Arena in Troy. “We want to perform here, because you get a better draw in those early rounds the higher you place here.”
And the Eagles — who finished second at last week’s sectional tournament — did perform on district’s first day, putting seven wrestlers in Saturday morning’s semifinal round and keeping all of its nine district qualifiers alive, sitting in first place with 71.5 points. Legacy Christian is in second with 61.5 points and Allen East is in third with 60 points, while Brookville — the team that won last week’s sectional — was all the way back in 11th with 24 points.
“It’s all about next week. Still, if we struggle to win these matches, then it’s going to be hard to win them next week — so we’ve got to go out and take care of business here,” Goudy said. “We had a great week of practice, probably our best week all year. But we’ve had some hiccups, some physical things we couldn’t control. We’re just trying to get through this week to buy us a week to heal up.”
Leading the charge for the Eagles is senior Ethan Turner (132). A state runner-up last season, Turner is looking to get back to the top after winning a state title his sophomore year — even if he and the team aren’t necessarily feeling the pressure of their lofty goals.
“Same thing as it’s been every year — to go out and win a state title is the end goal ultimately. But I think through this season, we’re at a point where we just want to go out and let it fly, and have fun,” Turner said. “Over the summer and past couple months, our team has readjusted our focus. Now, we just go out and wrestle and have fun, and everything else will take care of itself.”
And all of those efforts showed, too.
Turner pinned Madeira’s Owen Gill in 24 seconds in the first round, then he pinned Versailles’ Nick Monnier in 25 seconds in the quarterfinals.
“Oh yeah. I feel like our coaches have definitely prepared us and have us primed to peak at the right time,” Turner said.
Caleb Schroer (106) also scored something of an upset in his loaded weight class. After winning a 16-3 major decision over Carlisle’s Kyler Walsh, he held off Lima Central Catholic’s Gavin Caprella — one of the favorites in the bracket — in a 10-6 decision.
“I’m feeling excited, especially because I haven’t been wrestling my greatest yet,” Schroer said. “But that win, that helps to prove I deserve to have my name on top. I’ve been wrestling kind of low, but with that win, I can start proving people wrong.”
Schroer took control early, going up 6-1 after the first period. That gap tightened to 6-3 after two, though, and Caprella scored an escape early in the third and just needed a takedown to tie things up. But Schroer regained momentum and scored two more takedowns after that to seal the win.
“I needed to get my pace back up,” Schroer said. “In the first period, I was going and going and going, but then I started to die down. My coaches told me I needed to pick my pace back up, and I just found it deep down inside of me — I knew I needed to get this win.”
“He (Caprella) was (a favorite), but we beat him 6-2 in a preseason match,” Goudy said. “But he beat Cooper Shore, who beat us. So it could be a styles thing. But Caleb wrestled well tonight.”
In addition, Jason Shaffer (113) pinned Ada’s Antonio Petitt in 1:43 and won a 5-2 decision over Mechanicsburg’s Trey Allen to advance to the semis. Austin Awan (138) won a 21-6 tech. fall over Arcanum’s Cameron Haney, then he won a 10-4 decision over Parkway’s Abe Meyer to advance to the semis. Andrew Shaffer (152) won a 16-5 major decision over Delphos St. John’s Mason Vonderwell, then he won a 3-1 decision over Mechanicsburg’s Jake Hurst to advance to the semis. Connor Havill (160) pinned Clermont Northeastern’s Albert Corey in 3:47 and pinned Allen East’s Blake Hershberger in 3:38 to advance to the semis. And Craig Montgomery (182) pinned East Clinton’s Nathan Vest in 25 seconds and then won a 14-3 major decision over Allen East’s Devin Anspach to advance to the semis.
Troy Kennedy (120) won a 16-2 major decision over Williamsburg’s Dylan Rowland, but then he lost 4-2 to Legacy Christian’s Boede Campbell in the quarters. And Lee Burkett (170), who lost to Ben Logan’s Steele Boysel by pin in 3:08 in the first round, pinned Madeira’s Aidan Reid in 1:23 in the first consolation to remain alive.
Miami East finished the night in eighth place with 33 points, with another state runner-up from last season, sophomore Max Shore (120) hoping to get back to that point and take one more step forward.
“Hopefully I can grab that title,” Shore said. “This season, I’ve been training hard, working on getting my technique and conditioning right.”
Shore pinned Roger Bacon’s James Allen in 35 seconds and then pinned Mechanicsburg’s Jesse Stroud in 3:46 to advance to the semis — and he may see a familiar foe should he reach the finals, too.
Covington’s Cael Vanderhorst pinned Madeira’s Nathan Opichka in 2:44 then pinned Wayne Trace’s Gabe Sutton in 3:22 in the quarters to advance in the other semifinal bracket.
“He’s (Sutton) a good competitor, and it’s always good to win and keep moving on,” Vanderhorst said. “I didn’t wrestle him this year, but I wrestled him at Troy last year (a 16-0 tech. fall win).”
That matches up Vanderhorst against Legacy Christian’s Campbell and Shore against Ben Logan’s Jayden Sturgell in the semis, with a possible sectional championship rematch for the district title. At last week’s sectional, Shore held off Vanderhorst for a narrow 3-2 win.
“Yeah, definitely. It’s a good rivalry with Max,” Vanderhorst said. “It’s always good competition, and it’s nice to wrestle a guy like that. But I’ll have a pretty good match tomorrow morning, too, so I’ve got to stay focused for that one. There are no easy matches. Everybody’s a good competitor. So I’m looking to go out and wrestle well tomorrow, and hopefully have a rematch with Max.”
“I’ve just got to get my mindset right,” Shore said. “I’ve got to get healthy, get my fluids up, get hydrated and just take it one match at a time.”
Of the Vikings’ seven district qualifiers, six remained alive after the first day. Of those, two reached the semis. Joining Max Shore was freshman Cooper Shore (106), who pinned Ben Logan’s Kade Thomas in 53 seconds and East Clinton’s Cooper Rack in 1:40 to reach the semis.
David Davis (132) pinned North College Hill’s Albert Long in 1:37 but lost to LCC’s Chase Caprella by a 7-4 decision in the quarters. Jarrett Winner (182) pinned Roger Bacon’s Jason Waight in 27 seconds but then was pinned in 5:17 by Mechanicsburg’s Jaron Patterson in the quarters. And Dustin Winner (195) won a 4-1 decision over Delphos Jefferson’s Kane Plescher but then lost a 9-4 decision to Versailles’ Isaac Grilliot in the quarters. And Daniel Davis (145) lost via pin in 3:35 to Ben Logan’s Joel Abbott but bounced back to win a 5-1 decision over Spencerville’s Garrett Jones in the first consolation round to stay alive. Chance Rust (113) lost both of his matches and was eliminated.
Covington, which sits tied with Clermont Northeastern for ninth place with 25 points after the first day, still has six of its seven district wrestlers still alive, with Vanderhorst being the lone Buccaneer to reach the semis.
Kellan Anderson (126) pinned Delphos Jefferson’s Johnathon Brooks in 3:23 but then defaulted to Dixie’s Brian Blosser in the quarters. And Trentin Alexander (170) pinned Arcanum’s Cael Gostomsky in 3:24 but then lost a 6-0 decision to East Clinton’s Jonathan Cline in the quarters.
Three Buccs lost in the first round, only to bounce back in the first conso. Connor Sindelir (138) lost a 7-3 decision to Versailles’ Carson Bey but won a 14-0 major decision over Coldwater’s Sam Obringer in the consos. Jensen Wagoner (160) lost a 6-3 decision to Deer Park’s Ian Goodpaster but won a 7-0 decision over Lehman’s Noah Young in the consos. And Dylan Staudt (220) was pinned in 4:18 by Mechanicsburg’s Caden Coleman but pinned Madeira’s Aidan Fertig in 1:32 in the consos. Bryce Smith (182) dropped both of his matches and was eliminated.
Lehman’s John Edwards (182) remained alive after the first night. He lost via pinfall in 1:02 to Allen East’s Devin Anspach, but then he pinned East Clinton’s Nathan Vest in 2:03 in the first consolation to stay in the hunt. Noah Young (160) dropped both of his matches and was eliminated.
Wrestling resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Contact Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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