The Western Brown Broncos and Bethel-Tate Tigers sent their respective wrestling squads to the district tournament this past weekend with a shot at a berth in the individual state tournament on the line.
Western Brown had the shortest trip of the two, travelling north to Wilmington for their district battles.
The Broncos sent nine wrestlers to the tournament and five of those nine would advance to the state championships.
In the 113-pound class, sophomore Seth Taylor represented the Broncos. Taylor won his first match over Tippecanoe sophomore Russell Ramsey before falling to Circleville’s Nate Keaton, who will enter the state tournament undefeated at 49-0. Taylor then won two matches in the consolation bracket before falling to Jake Gentry from Ross. A loss in the fifth-place game to Middletown Madison’s Drew Price sent Taylor to sixth place in the district.
The Broncos’ first state qualifier came in the 120-pound class. Jordan Hamblin won his first match over Oakwood’s Nick Bowman before falling to Carroll’s Nick Berry in a 6-4 overtime decision. Hamblin rolled through the consolation bracket, pinning his first two opponents and winning the next two matches by decision to finish third in the district and advance to state.
Freshman Tanner Donathan wrestled in the 126-pound class for Western Brown, winning his first two matches before losing three straight en route to a sixth-place finish. Teammate Jacob Haggerty lost his first two matches, one via tech fall and the other by a 9-2 decision.
In the 138-pound class, the Broncos earned their second state qualifier. Derek Spears pinned McClain’s Tommy Johnson in the opening round and defeated Urbana’s Mitchell Moyer in the quarterfinals. A 10-5 defeat at the hands of Fenwick’s Alex Kowal dropped Spears to the consolation bracket, where he defeated Taylor’s Damian Walton 11-7 to clinch a spot in Columbus. Taylor would fall to Franklin’s Trenton Scott in the third-place match.
Jake Henderson became Western Brown’s third state qualifier. He rolled through his first three matches, advancing to take on St. Paris Graham’s Rocky Jordan in the final match. Henderson lost via tech fall (16-0) but the runner-up finish at district sends him to Columbus.
Malachi Marlow qualified for the district tournament in the 152-pound class and won his first two matches via pin and a 13-3 major decision, respectively. However, Marlow fell to Tippecanoe’s Jack Peura by a 6-3 decision and lost to St. Paris Graham sophomore Joey Sanchez in the consolation bracket, dropping him to the fifth-place match. Marlow then defeated Fenwick’s Ethan Fessler 5-2.
The fourth Bronco qualifier earned his spot in the 160-pound bracket. Eric Altman pinned his first opponent before falling to St. Paris Graham senior Garrett Jordan. In the consolation bracket, Altman picked up a pair of decision victories before a major-decision victory over Eaton’s Drew Moore sealed his spot in the state tournament. Altman then won a 7-5 decision over Middletown Madison’s Gunnar Dawson to finish third.
Western Brown’s final state qualifier came in the 195-pound class. Jacob Altman defeated Meadowdale’s Calvin Folwer in the first round, then edged Miami Trace junior Jared Fenner in the quarterfinals 6-4. Altman lost his semifinal match to St. Paris Graham junior Kavan Sarver, dropping him to the consolation bracket where he won an overtime match against Eaton’s Kevin Melling to advance to the third-place match. He then defeated Fenner again, this time by a score of 5-4.
As a team, the Broncos finished second to St. Paris Graham at the tournament with 119.5 points. Graham totaled 329, while third-place finisher Ross tallied 115.
Meanwhile, in Troy, the Bethel-Tate Tigers also sent seven wrestlers to the district tournament. Two of those seven placed, with one qualifying for the state championships. Kermit Beckworth advanced to the fifth-place match, where he was defeated by Dixie’s Cameron Coffman.
Senior Jeffrey Botts advanced to the third-place match in the 195-pound class, qualifying for the state tournament in the process. Botts lost the match to Kyle Gigandet from Versailles in a 4-3 decision.
The Broncos and Botts will head to the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus this weekend for the state championship tournament. Botts will wrestle in the Division III preliminaries beginning at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 3. The Broncos wrestle in the preliminaries at approximately 4:20 p.m. that day. Consolation rounds are held later that night. Quarterfinal matches are held on Friday with the semifinals and third, fifth and seventh-place matches on Saturday.