No title for Rockets, but almost feels like one

J. Patrick Eaken

Oak Harbor wrestling missed winning a Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division championship by one-half point, but no one is complaining.

The Rockets scored 253 points to finish behind Edison (253½), but Edison was the preseason favorite after sending 10 wrestlers to state last year and already winning a Division III state dual team championship this season.

“Edison is the No. 1 team in the state, and they won the state duals the week before, and they blew us out in two dual meets, so for us to come within one-half point, I thought our kids wrestled well,” Oak Harbor coach George Bergman said.

“I don’t feel bad. We wrestled really well. We had a lot of kids step up. Nobody lost more than one match, and we were wrestling with three freshmen and we only had two seniors. So, the kids did well.”

Oak Harbor got 10 wrestlers into the league championship matches, but only three came away with championships, including the only two seniors on the squad. Oak Harbor did not have a 182-pound wrestler on the mat because of an injury, which might have helped get the Rockets over the top.

Appalachian State University-bound senor Wyatt Miller stayed unbeaten on the year, pinning Edison’s Jacob Thompson in 3:70 at 220 pounds. Miller is ranked No. 1 in the state and is a defending district champion.

“He did a great job getting us a pin at 220,” Bergman said. “We actually bumped him up a weight class. He only weighs as a 195-pounder, so he weighed in probably about 195 and he wrestled 220 and he pinned his way through the tournament. That gave us the lead at the end before the heavyweights (285).

“He has incredible strength, good quickness for a near heavyweight and he’s a great ‘go-juicer,’” Bergman said. “He almost has a third lung. I mean, when you are tired and then by the time he is tired, you’re exhausted. His cardio is exceptionally good.”

Miller (38-5 last year as a junior) and two then-sophomores, Michael Judge (26-13) and Cade Peterson (34-16) were state qualifiers last year. Judge and Peterson are part of seven juniors who start on this year’s squad.

The only other senior, Tyler Davis, won his SBC championship by forfeit at 126 over Hopewell-Loudon’s Caden Crawford, but it was a well-deserved default win. Bergman says Davis will wrestle collegiately and among his choices are Adrian and Defiance colleges.

“Tyler Davis wrestled really well. He was winning at a major (decision) level — probably eight points or more than the guy before he defaulted and that was an excellent opponent that he beat — Crawford from Hopewell Loudon who went to state before. Everybody contributed, it was a great team effort again,” Bergman said.

Oak Harbor’s other champion was Judge, who pinned Huron’s Braylen Williams in 37 seconds to win the 113-pound class.

Rockets finishing as league runners-up were Tate Tamor (106), Robby Jacobsen (138), Peterson (145), Hayden Buhro (152), Zack Zeitzheim (160), Garrett Lindsay (195) and Dylan Schiets (285). Tait Dusseau (120), Owen Miller (132), and Broch Mansor (170) won third place consolation finals.

Bergman, who will enter his 30th season as head coach next year and coached six years at the middle school level prior to that, says Edison 138-pound senior wrestler Casey Barnett put on another clinic, pinning Jacobsen in 1:14 in the final.

“He has been a state champion since he was a freshman. He is a senior now, and that was his fourth title in the SBC, too, so that was a great accomplishment,” Bergman said.

Bergman said the SBC reacted to the coronavirus pandemic, moving up the date of the league meet to give wrestlers a better chance of not being quarantined when the state meet comes around.

“We were not going to jeopardize anybody’s state opportunities to wrestle in the league,” Bergman said.






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