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02-03-04: Celina perfect in WBL

Bulldogs go 9-0 in league for outright championship


DEFIANCE — The final leg of the road for the Celina wrestling team to achieve its first unbeaten Western Buckeye League dual-match season was a Defiance team that had the MatDog faithful concerned.
That concerned lasted until about the fourth or fifth match, then concern turned into celebration.
The MatDogs jumped out to a 36-3 lead and finished with a huge exclamation point to defeat the Bulldogs 48-13 to earn the regular season title in the league, the first 9-0 season in Celina wrestling history. Defiance ends the regular season in dual meets at 6-3.
Celina mixed things up as far as scoring points. A couple of early three-point decisions gave way to technical falls and major decisions with the match ending with two straight pins.
“These guys have pulled through each match,” said a joyful Joel Zacharias after the final handshakes. “We’ve been without two weights much of the year (215 and 275) and they’ve done a great job.”
“This season has been awesome,” said senior Adam Gray. “I never thought we could accomplish this. Just to do it without a full team is unbelievable.”
The MatDogs jumped out to a 32-3 lead but the clincher came at a spot Celina has voided for the majority of the season, 215 pounds.
When Defiance could not fill the 189 spot in the line, Zacharias sent out Matt Paulus to claim the six points. Zacharias then sent out regular 189-pounder Trent Hellwarth, weighing in at 180 pounds, to face Defiance’s Ramiro Mireles, who came into the bout at 208 pounds.
Both men tussled for the early part of the bout with no scoring and a small cut on Hellwarth’s head that needed tending to at two times during the bout. With time winding down in the opening period, Hellwarth got a takedown to grab the lead.
Hellwarth chose down to start the second period and immediately escaped. Mireles came back and got a takedown, only to have Hellwarth escape again. The Celina junior took the match over for good with a takedown and three back-points to take a 9-2 lead going into the final two minutes.
The pair battled back and forth again but Hellwarth put Mireles back down with 29 seconds left to turn a three-point decision into a four-point major decision with the 11-2 win.
“(Defiance) has been void at 171 or 189 at one point or another all season,” explained Zacharias. “We were hoping they would be (again) tonight, so we put (Paulus) in there to take the void and put Trent up. Trent gave up over 20 pounds and did a great job.”
After losing six on the void-out at 275 and then when Andy Swain suffered through a 17-7 loss at 103 to Mark Foldvary, Celina wrapped up the evening in style. Cody Koesters, fully recovered from the hard slam and tweaked shoulder suffered last Thursday, got the early takedown on Jack Dennis at 112 and scored the pin in 26 seconds. Kiel Hawk was just as effective, pinning David Carrisalez in one minute to end the match.
“They just keep working hard in practice,” said Zacharias. “It shows on the mat.”
Defiance gave Celina an early fight. Patrick Bailey started the night off in 125 and needed three points in the third period to put away Craig Wagenhauser 9-4 to draw first blood.
Nick Gray followed up with a nailbiter against Brandon Plummer. Gray was tied with Plummer at 4-4 with the clock approaching 15 seconds. Gray managed a takedown with 11 seconds left and let Plummer up for a point rather than risk a two-point reversal before the horn sounded.
Cody Wagner made quick work of Mark Ordaz, taking a 15-0 technical fall.
Eric Braun had a tough battle with Drew Shindler at 140. Shindler led 9-5 with less than 30 seconds left. Braun scored a reverse and tried to get back points for the final 20 seconds but Shindler held on and took the 9-7 decision.
Garrett Gray took home a 9-0 major decision against Isaiah Cruz at 145 pounds. Adam Gray wrapped his regular season career with a 6-5 win over 2003 district qualifier Mitch Waxler. The Celina senior pulled out the win with a takedown with 31 seconds left to come back from being down 5-4. Jantzen Hinton had an easy time with Chase Sobieck in getting a 16-4 major decision and Zach Mertz pulled away from Fabian Aguilar in a 16-2 contest.
Defiance coach Mark Dietrich did not mince words about his team’s performance, but also had praise for Celina.
“You’ve got to give props to Celina. They have a great team, obviously,” said Dietrich. “Everybody walking in this year thought Wapakoneta was the team to beat and Celina shocked some people in beating them and Van Wert. They pretty much handed it to us tonight. They wanted it a helluva lot more than we did. They pretty much went out and kicked our butts.”
Now Celina goes for the other goal — the overall WBL title. That opportunity comes Saturday at the league tournament at the Elida Fieldhouse. Celina finished second last season at the league meet.
“I’d like to win it,” said Zacharias, “But we’ll have to see how it goes.”


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P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822


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