ELIDA – After finishing second to Wapakoneta at last Saturday’s Western Buckeye League Championships, Elida wanted to come out this weekend and reestablish itself at the Allen County Tournament.
Elida notched six first-place finishes and two runner-up performances, en route to winning the team title over second-place Delphos Jefferson, 311.5-165, at the Elida Fieldhouse. Allen East, which won the Northwest Conference title last weekend, finished a very close third (160). Bath came in fourth (142) and Shawnee (127) rounded out the top five teams in the 10-team field.
“We had six champions and all of our guys placed. So, we wrestled well,” Elida coach Brady Overholt said. “We have a pretty tough (regular-season) schedule. We wrestle a lot of D-I schools up north. So, it was kind of nice to reassure ourselves that we’re alright with some of the local talent.
“We came up a little short to Wapak (at the WBL tourney). So, our goal was to come in here and really set the standard and definitely win this. We did pretty good today.”
Austin Selvaggio (113), Bailey Gibson (126), Gabe Makin (152), Lawrence Slygh (182), Ke’Juan Frazier (220) and Noah Meeker (285), all won titles for Elida on Saturday.
For Makin, Saturday’s County title was his third. Makin, a senior, defeated Bluffton senior Cole Wilson in a tech-fall, 16-0, in his final match of the tournament. Makin scored early and often against Wilson.
“I’ve been training for a long time to score as many points as I can,” Makin said. “I want to score as many points as I can in the first period. Then, you don’t have to work as hard later on.”
Meeker, a heavyweight for Elida, wasted no time in his final match, pinning Delphos St. John’s Andrew Shawhan in just 22 seconds.
“That’s always my goal – to be aggressive, come out with the first move and be able to see what they do, based off my movements,” Meeker said.
Meeker lost to Bath’s Bo Gross in last year’s championship match at the Allen County Tournament. This year, Meeker’s looking forward to the postseason tournament.
“I’m very excited going into the sectionals,” Meeker said. “Hopefully, I can come out as the returning sectional champion again, but it will be a tough one. I just have to fight.”
Saturday’s Allen County Tournament was originally set for December 17. However, inclement weather forced the postponement of the tournament, and it was moved to Saturday.
For the area schools, sectionals will not begin until Feb. 24. So, having the tournament on Saturday was definitely a plus.
“This actually helped a lot,” Overholt said. “Otherwise, we would be off three weeks (until the sectional tournament). We actually wrestle Allen East on Thursday with our biddies and our youth. It’s something (Allen East coach) Mike Abbey started. And it helps cut down on the big break.”
Bath’s Tre Terry, a Division II state qualifier at 170 pounds at last year’s state tournament, won his second consecutive County title on Saturday, as he defeated Delphos St. John’s Brett Vonderwell, 10-7. Vonderwell is a two-time state qualifier.
Last season, Terry won the Allen County title at 182.
“I was kind of looking forward to this match, because we wrestled at an open tournament over the summer,” Terry said. “And even then, it was close. I kind of watched him (Vonderwell) wrestle. He’s skillful and uses a lot of muscle, too. So, I figured that would kind of tire him out a little bit. Then, I tried to use my speed and hold on.”
Terry has set high goals for his senior season.
“At this point, since this is my last go-around at it, and last year was my first time going there (to the state tournament), this year I want to see if I can get there and end up on the podium,” he said.
In the 195-pound weight class, Lima Senior’s Miguel Clark and Bluffton’s Deandre Nasser went head-to-head, as Nasser won 2-1 in overtime.
“We’re both pretty strong guys,” Nasser said. “So, I was trying to use my technique. I could tell he was getting a little tired. So, I was trying to work my shots a little more.”
In the 145-pound weight class, Allen East’s Luke Brown defeated Elida’s Calvin Brown in a hard-fought match, 4-3, to secure his first-ever County title.
“It feels great,” Allen East’s Brown said.” I lost it the last two years to (Elida’s) Gabe Makin, who’s wrestling at 152 this year. It feels good to finally get my own (title).”
Other champions on Saturday included Allen East’s Chase Caprella (106) and Schuyler Caprella (132), Bath’s Isaac Ingram (160), Delphos Jefferson’s Andrew Foust (120) and Wyatt Place (138).
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.