Bulldogs finish season second overall
By GARY R. RASBERRY
ELIDA — For the Celina wrestling team, it was like the
Tennessee Titans a couple of Super Bowls ago.
So close to the end zone, but not quite able to stretch to the
Celina brought home three champions after Saturday’s Western
Buckeye League meet at Elida, but the chance for the first-ever
overall wrestling title was taken away by Van Wert, which beat
Celina twice in head-to-head matchups in the finals in winning
its first overall title since 1971. That season, the Cougars
were 2-8 in the regular season but won the tournament, which
crowned the overall champion at that time.
Celina’s third-place showing in the tournament, behind
the Cougars and always-tough Wapakoneta, gave Celina second-place
overall on the season after posting its first-ever unbeaten
regular season while Wapakoneta placed third. The rest of the
season standings are incomplete until Bath and Defiance are
able to have their delayed dual match.
For the Cougars, which placed three wrestlers on top of the
podium, words were hard to come by in winning the title.
“I really don’t want to babble on,” said Cougar
coach Jerry Ramsay, who took the WBL Coach of the Year award
that comes with the overall title. “All I can say is that
this was a team victory.”
Celina coach Joel Zacharias, disappointed in missing a chance
for the overall title, was pleased with his team’s performance.
“It’s about what I expected,” said Zacharias.
“We knew it was going to be in the top three somewhere,
depending how we wrestled. A lot of our guys didn’t wrestled
as well as they have the last couple of weeks. We had a nice
meet, so we’re not disappointed.”
While the MatDogs placed seven wrestlers in the championship
bouts, the thing that hurt the team was that no wrestler made
it to the consolation mats for third or fourth place.
“We lost how many matches in overtime (two in the consolation
rounds, four overall),” said Zacharias. “The kids
did their best, which was what we expect out of them. We’ll
just work them for next weekend (sectional tournament at Toledo
Rogers) and go from there.”
Cody Wagner picked up Celina’s first championship of the
day in the 135-pound division. Wagner had a technical fall and
pin in his first two bouts then held off Elida’s Brooks
Mohr 7-5 in the semifinals. In the final, Wagner got the early
lead and allowed just one point when called for a third-period
stall to beat Wapak’s Josh Bordner 5-1 to take the title.
Janzten Hinton finally snapped the MatDogs’ skid in overtime
matches when taking on Van Wert’s Chad Hirschy in the
160-pound title bout. Hinton trailed 4-3 with 10 seconds left
when Hirschy was tagged for stalling with eight seconds to go,
tying the match at four.
Hinton appeared to have Hirschy down for the takedown early
in overtime, but the referee ruled a stalemate with 15 seconds
left. Hinton circled around and shot for the legs of Hirschy
and put the Cougar to the ground with 3.7 seconds left to get
the 6-4 win, sending the lanky junior jumping for joy and into
the arms of his coaches, teammates and his older brother and
father as they came down to celebrate.
Trent Hellwarth picked up the final Celina title at 189 pounds.
Hellwarth trailed Wapak’s Eric Junkins 4-2 going into
the third period of the final but scored eight points in the
period and allowed just one stall point to take a 10-5 win.
Celina losses in the finals came in close matches. Cody Koesters
settled for second at 112 pounds, losing to St. Marys freshman
Josh Cisco 10-4. Nick Gray was the first of the three Grays
to wrestle in the finals but lost to Greg Murphy of Elida, 17-5
in the 130 final. Garrett Gray, with just one loss on the season,
entered as the favorite at 145 pounds as he took on Van Wert’s
Jason Showalter. The match appeared to head to overtime as Garrett
held Showalter down, but the Cougar managed to break free with
four seconds left to win 7-6.
Senior Adam Gray was in his match with Van Wert’s Reed
Wolverton at 152 pounds throughout the first four minutes but
Wolverton scored four points to break away and take a 8-5 win.
Josh Cisco was joined by two Roughrider teammates in dominating
the start of the meet in the lighter weights. Older brother
Caleb Cisco defeated Roman Cockerell of Shawnee 10-0 to win
the 103 title and Adam Maze got a rematch with Bath’s
Justin Best, who beat Maze in the finals last season. Maze took
home the 119-pound title with a 9-1 major decision.
That, along with runner-up showings from Aaron Torsell at 140
and top-four showings from Neal Garrison at 135 and Matt Taylor
at 275, put the Roughriders fourth in the tournament.
“It’s kind of like, once you get there, you always
want more,” said St. Marys coach Larry Gruber when asked
about his team’s performance. “The kids worked for