Mark D. Motz
Roll out the red carpet. Or the red wrestling mat. Several area grapplers earned a spot in the state meet after district competition this weekend.
The top four placers in each weight class compete next week for a chance at an Ohio title.
Division I (at Kettering Fairmont)
Districts proved a red-letter day for La Salle High School as the Lancers won five individual titles: freshman Tanner Spaulding (106) beat Jayden Cochran of Miamisburg, 4-3; senior Dustin Norris (126) shut out Dominic DiTullio of Mason, 5-0; senior Casey Wiles (132) defeated Conner Kleinberg of Springboro, 6-2; junior Jake Niffenegger (138) needed overtime to take out Eugene Harney of Sycamore, 4-2; Darnai Heard earned a major decision over Tim Smith of Colerain, 14-4.
“La Salle was great; they really put it together,” said Mason head coach Nicholas Maffey. “They’ve got some studs and they did a great job.”
Dillon Walker (170, third) and Chase Stein (182, fourth) gave the Lancers a total of seven state qualifiers.
Maffey, meanwhile, knows about stud athletes. His senior, Owen Amburgy (182) earned his 150th career victory and 105th career pin in 1:22 against Parker Smith of Springboro.
“He’s a freak athlete,” Maffey said. “The fact that we have Owen Amburgy and Dominic DiTullio going to state is awesome. They were both ranked second in the state last year and never had the chance to compete because of COVID. This is a great opportunity for those two, especially.”
Other area district champs included Brandon Mitchell (113) of Oak Hills, who beat Hayden Hollis of Springboro, 13-6. Alex Hobbs, a senior from Little Miami, won the 160-pound class by a 13-6 decision over Braxton Lawson of Wayne. Kurt Thompson (170) of Moeller won by default against Tyler Hicks of Beavercreek.
District runners-up included Jack McCall (120) of Lebanon, DiTullio, Harney, Smith, Luke Marsh (160) of Lebanon and Aneesh Vyas (285) of Lakota West.
Also advancing were Moeller’s Jared Johnson (106, fourth), David Gelman (120, third), Nolan Moore (126, fourth), Brayden Zenni (132, third) and Jonathon Sanchez (182, third); Mason’s Noah Lippeatt (113, third) and Skyler Horn (285, fourth); Lakota East’s Max Boaz (138, third) and Elder’s Kody Kaimann (138, fourth); Anderson’s Maclain Morency (145, third); Fairfield’s Donovan All (152, third) and Brandon Smith (220, third); Colerain’s Jacob Brewer (132, fourth) and Mawuli Nevis (152, fourth); Lebanon’s Matt McCowan (160, fourth); Sycamore’s Mitchell Readon (170, fourth); Northwest’s Makarrie Harden (195, third); and Edgewood’s Radical Rothermel (285, third).
La Salle (183), Moeller (134) and Mason (121) finished first, third and fourth in the team standings. Centerville (150.5) broke up the local sweep in second place
“The theme of the year has been gratitude,” Maffey said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to compete. We’ve worked really hard since last year to do it right, to do it safe. We’re the only program at Mason not to have any COVID shutdowns during the season.
“We have an opportunity to keep competing another week and we hope we can represent Mason well.”
Division II (at Wilmington)
Wyoming junior Malachi O’Leary won the district title at 113 pounds, pinning Reece Chapman of Jonathan Alder in 2:52.
Teammates Jacob Bryan (132), Nathan Brayn (152) and Jared Hancock (182) also advanced, after placing third, fourth and third, respectively. Onyx Mendenhall (285) is a state alternate with a fifth-place finish.
“As a coach, I think you can always have done better, but with how strange this season has been our kids have worked incredibly hard,” Wyoming coach Bobby Lyons said. “There has been a lot of time between competitions for our kids.
“With this sport, that’s such a grind. It’s a grind regardless, but at least on the weekends, you get to go out and have fun. We didn’t have that every week, so I’m proud of them for doing the work in the room.”
With four competitors state-bound, Wyoming finished second to Graham Local in the team standings, 293-106. The Cowboys also doubled their number of state competitors from two qualifiers last season. The Cowboys had one qualifier each in 2018 and 2019.
“The four who are going to state have been going against one another for the last three years,” Lyons said. “Six years, really. When you have some of your hardest matches in the room five or six days a week, they are well prepared for the tournament. They respond so well to every challenge.”
Batavia’s Brandon Sauter won the 120-pound district title with a 19-10 major decision over Carson Hibbs of Wilmington.
District runners-up were A.J. Hurt (106) of Western Brown, Harris Foad (138) of Indian Hill and Colton Doyle (182) of Clinton Massie.
Other state qualifiers included Clinton Massie’s Brandon Rolf (145) in fourth; Gage Huston (160) and Colt Conover (170) of Blanchester, who both finished fourth; Griffin Peacock (285) and Jude Hess (182) of Ross took third and fourth, respectively; Eli Emmons (195) was third for Hamilton Badin; Gary Powell (220) was third for Western Brown; and Bret Brooks (285) took fourth for Wilmington.
“The future is very bright for Cincinnati DII wrestling,” Lyons said. “We have a lot of traditionally good teams, some great rivalries and some teams like Norwood who have some very dangerous freshmen.”
Division III (at Troy)
Pierce Taylor of McNicholas was the only DIII area wrestler to earn a district title. He won the 138-pound championship with a 3-1 decision against Boede Campbell of Legacy Christian.
Another Rocket – Clermont Northeastern’s Hayden Mattes (195) – was district runner-up, falling by pin in 3:03 against Ezra Jones of Columbus Grove.
Timothy Smith (220) of North College Hill advanced to state with a fourth-place finish after getting pinned by Alek Winner of Allen East in 2:09.