LIMA – For first-year Bath wrestling coach Joe Fisher, the expectations are high this season.
At Saturday’s Allen County Tournament at Lima Senior, Bath dominated, winning six titles en route to capturing the team title.
It was more of a battle for second place in the final team standings as Bath ended the tournament with 406 points. Delphos St. John’s finished second (281), while Shawnee was a close third (276). Spencerville finished fourth (196). There were 10 teams in the tournament.
Colin Ingram (120 pounds); Ryan Kalb (126); Tre’ Wheeler (138); Jared Davis (145); Zach Garrett (160) and Kyle Lhamon (220) all won championships for Bath.
Bath also had three others who competed in a championship match, but were defeated. Nate Stonehill (152); Easton Rudasill (182) and Caleb Neal (285) all finished second in their respective weight classes for Bath.
With 16 returning letter winners, Fisher is excited about this year’s team.
“The kids are working hard in the (wrestling) room, and it’s translating onto the mat,” Fisher said. “We (the coaches) are blessed to have kids who work hard every single day. We just have to keep it up. I’ve been really impressed on how hard they’ve been working. They’re a bunch of hard-nosed, hard-working kids, and I’m proud of them right now.”
Bath junior Jared Davis said the team is focused on getting better. Davis pinned Delphos Jefferson’s Tanner Vermule in the championship match.
“Every day at practice we work on not breaking,” Davis said. “We keep our momentum going at practice. We don’t break at all. They (the coaching staff) push us hard. They push me during the week, helping me to get better and to stay in shape.”
Shawnee sophomore Dylan Hefner won the title at 170 and was named the Allen County Tournament Most Valuable Wrestler. Hefner now stands 11-0 on the season.
Hefner defeated St. John’s standout Wes Buettner in the championship match, 9-3. It was a close match early on; however, Hefner gained the advantage in the second period and finished strong in the final period to secure the victory.
“I knew he was going to match me with my strength,” Hefner said. “But, I figured I would have it my way as time went on. When you have a lead, going into the third (period), you have to think about team points, but you can’t be stupid. A lot of times people get caught. …They can get in the wrong position, and then get turned and pinned. So, you have to be in the right position.”
Bluffton freshman Dustin Falk, the cousin of former state champion and three-time state-placer Josh Falk, won the title at 132 on Saturday.
Falk says that being part of a well-known wrestling family does bring some added pressure.
“I do (feel pressure), but I can’t get caught up on that,” Falk said. “I just have to wrestle. You can’t make mistakes (at the high school level). You have to be right on target. You can’t mess up, or it will be all over.”
Other wrestlers who won titles Saturday included Elida’s Blaine Hunter (113); Shawnee’s Hunter Lucas (106) and Derek Kuhlman (152); St. John’s Alex Haunhorst (182); Lima Central Catholic’s Jack Huffman (195) and Spencerville’s Logan Vandemark (285)