By Wade Linville –
This year’s Western Brown High School varsity wrestling team recently wrapped up one of the most successful seasons in their program’s history with seven Bronco wrestlers qualifying for the OHSAA Division II State Tournament and three of the seven placing among the top seven in the state.
Western Brown junior Brandon Lucas defeated Mentor Lake Catholic’s Conor McCrone in the 113-pound state tourney consolation semifinals by a 3-1 decision, earning a chance to compete for third place.
In the battle for third place, Lucas fell to Cuyahoga Falls CVCA’s Matthew Cardello by a 4-2 decision. Lucas finished fourth in the state in the 113-pound weight class to top off an outstanding winter season on the mats.
“I started off a little slow at the beginning of the tournament, but I started to pick it back up and kind of lost it at the end a little, taking sloppy shots, but overall I think I did alright,” said Lucas. “I’m getting there, but I’m not where I want to be yet.”
“Next year, I want to get to the (state championship) finals,” Lucas added.
Finishing in sixth place was Western Brown junior Jedidiah Marlow in the 106-pound weight class.
Marlow defeated Wauseon’s Gavin Ritter by a 7-0 decision in the championship quarterfinals but fell to CVCA’s Jacob Decatur in the championship semifinals by a 10-3 decision.
Marlow then fell to St. Paris Graham Locals’ Tanner Jordan by 9-5 decision in the consolation semifinals, and in the battle for fifth place he would suffer a 5-2 decision loss to Beloit W. Branch’s Christian Wayt to place sixth overall in the 106-pound class of the Division II State Tourney.
“There are a lot of things we can improve on,” said Western Brown head coach Wendel Donathan, looking forward to the future of the Western Brown High School wrestling program.
Western Brown senior Jake Henderson wrapped up an outstanding high school wrestling career with a seventh place state tourney finish in the 152-pound class. Henderson defeated Wauseon’s Xavier Torres 8-3 to earn a consolation quarterfinal matchup against Lodi Cloverleaf’s Caleb Cass in the 152-pound class. Henderson suffered a narrow 4-3 loss by decision to Cass, but would go on to defeat LeGrange Keystone’s Garrett Coe by a 10-0 major decision in the battle for seventh place, ending his high school career on a positive note.
“Good for him to finish strong. He finished it out the way he’s capable and what he should be doing,” Wendel Donathan said of Henderson’s performance in the state tourney. “A lot of what he was able to bring to the program was by doing…all of the off-season training, going to camps, going to clinics and going to extra workouts. Those are the things you want the seniors in the program to do and he did a nice job of that.
Also competing at the state tournament but no finishing as a top seven placer were junior Eric Altman, junior Jordan Hamblin, junior Seth Taylor, and sophomore Tanner Donathan.
Seven state placers marked a school record for the Western Brown High School wrestling program and with all but one of their state placers on the return next year you can look forward to a bright future for the program.
“It’s been a good year,” said Wendel Donathan.