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02-09-04: Celina settles for third at WBL

Bulldogs finish season second overall in league


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 goal line.
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 it.”


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