It’s often referred to as the “Second Season.”
The conference championships are now over and the attention of all high school wrestlers quickly turns to the road that leads to the state tournament.
This past weekend, Wapakoneta won the Western Buckeye League Championships at Shawnee. Allen East, which boasts a relatively young roster, won the Northwest Conference team title at Spencerville.
However, as quickly as these two teams won their respective league titles, they are now totally focused on advancing as many athletes as possible through the postseason tournament, which kicks off with the sectional tournaments Feb. 24 and 25. The top four placers in each weight class at sectionals will advance to the district tournaments. Then, the top four placers at districts will advance to the state tournament at Ohio State, March 9-11.
Wapakoneta notched its 16th WBL title in school history Saturday. Elida finished second at the WBL tournament.
The Redskins had four wrestlers win individual league titles this past Saturday. Long-time Wapakoneta coach Jason Rostorfer points to winning the WBL title as a distinct advantage, as well as a momentum-builder for his athletes.
“There are a lot of teams (in the WBL) in our sectional (at Napoleon), so this helps our seeding. It helps us get a better draw at sectionals, and to get to districts and then onto state,” he said.
Wapakoneta senior Landon Hall, a three-time state-qualifier, won his fourth WBL title Saturday, when he notched the crown in the 220-pound weight class. Last season as a junior, Hall placed fourth in the 195-pound weight class at the Division II state tournament. Now, Hall is dialed in for another postseason run.
“Just drill, hard-core with my teammates,” Hall said about his preparation for the postseason tournament. “It will prepare them, too. It’s going to be a tough run, but it’s going to be fun. So, I’m ready for that.”
And Hall has plenty of talent around him in the wrestling room. Luke Beach (120-pound weight class), Brad Beemer (138) and Evan Kaeck (182) also won WBL titles in their respective weight classes Saturday. In all, Wapakoneta had 11 wrestlers place at the WBL Championships.
“We’re actually all drill partners,” Hall said. “So, we push each other every day. And that’s why we were all in the finals.”
Hall, a standout on the gridiron as well, will be heading to Tiffin University next school year to play football.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s Daniel Beemer won the WBL title at 195 pounds. Saturday’s league title was Beemer’s first in three years. Last season, Beemer placed fifth in the 182-pound weight class at the Division III state tournament. Beemer is 25-0 this season.
Bath’s Tre Terry, a Division II state-qualifier in 2016, won the WBL title at 170 pounds Saturday.
For Allen East, winning the NWC team title this year was not a given. This year’s Allen East roster has a nice blend of experience and youth. A lot of area experts felt like Delphos Jefferson was a lock to win the conference crown.
However, this past Saturday, Allen East edged out a very solid Delphos Jefferson team, 209-206.
Chase Caprella (106), Schuyler Caprella (132), Luke Brown (145) and Brennan Davies (285) all won titles for Allen East on Saturday.
Ada’s Chase Sumner, who placed fourth at last year’s Division III state tournament at 132 pounds, won the NWC title at 138 on Saturday.
At the Three Rivers Athletic Conference Championships this past weekend at Oregon Clay, Lima Senior finished seventh as a team. Top performer for the Spartans was Miguel Clark, who won the title at 195 pounds.
Many area teams will compete at the Allen County Tournament this coming Saturday at Elida, which is a makeup date. Inclement weather earlier this season forced the tournament to be moved to this coming weekend.
But, whatever the schedule may be for our area wrestlers in the next couple weeks, the “Second Season” is when it really begins.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.