Owens, Hahn begin trek back to state

J. Patrick Eaken

Eastwood had two more individual champions than Elmwood at the Northern Buckeye Conference meet, but the Royals won the team championship.

Elmwood, behind three champions — sophomore Cannon Endicott (22-6, 152 pounds), junior Gunner Endicott (32-4, 160) and senior Konner Logston (32-14, 195), scored 168 points to defeat Eastwood (157). Otsego (142½) was third, followed by Woodmore (109) and Lake and Rossford tied for fifth with 80 points each. Genoa was seventh with 64 points and Fostoria last at 37½. 

“I think all of our kids got what they should have got,” Eastwood coach Joe Wyant said. “We were just short on bodies — we only had 10 kids there. If we just had one more body or one more placer we would have won, but we were missing four weights.”

However, if you look at the records of Eastwood’s champions, you will see that they have at least five wrestlers who have a shot to reach the podium at state. Matter of fact, Eastwood’s strength among that group is so good, that the Eagles are picked to place fifth as a team in the state Division III meet. 

Wyant is confident that at least two will place at state if all goes well. Three qualified for state last year but did not get a chance to wrestle — Gavin Owens (45-7, 120), Brandon Hahn (48-2, 126) and Jimmy Recknagel (40-11, 152) — because the state meet was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It hit Owens and Hahn, who had dreams of finishing on the state podium, hard.

“They obviously felt disappointed. They all looked forward to it,” Wyant told The Press after the cancellation. “For guys like Owens and Hahn, their whole season is the state tournament. They’re quality guys and a lot of guys are happy to make it.”

Hahn won a league, sectional and district championship last year. During the state tournament two years ago as a freshman, Owens took second place at 106 pounds and Hahn, then a sophomore, placed fourth at the D-III state tournament at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

Owens faced then-Delta sophomore Zack Mattin in the 106-pound finals two years ago and lost an 8-1 decision. It was a rare loss for Owens, who finished with a 47-3 record. Mattin, who also beat Owens, 6-3, in the district finals, placed seventh at 106 at the 2018 state meet.

Last year at 120, Owens advanced to state after finishing as district runner-up, losing in the championship, 6-3, to Otsego senior Jake Manley (47-0), who was his nemesis all year. Owens was hoping to get another shot at Manley at state but that never happened.

Hahn advanced to state after winning a 126-pound district against Antwerp senior Randall Mills (36-8) by a 17-1 technical fall.  Recknagel advanced after finishing fourth at last year’s district, losing 10-5 to Mohawk senior Morgan Price (45-9) in the 152-pound consolation final.


Fast forward to 2021

Beginning with sectionals over the weekend, they began their tournament trek all over again. Many Eagles have already made noise at the NBC meet. At 120 pounds, Eastwood senior Bryce Maynard (40-2) pinned Woodmore junior Lukus Schaub (27-8) in 1:29. One of his losses this season Maynard has already avenged.

“He got beat the first time by a Lima Central Catholic kid and then two weeks ago he beat that Central kid, and that kid was ranked No. 2. So, right now he (Maynard) is ranked No. 2,” Wyant said.

At 126, Hahn (44-0), now a senior, defeated Lake junior Cristian Lecki in the league championship. In a highly anticipated match, Lecki, a state qualifier last year (38-6), had to stop wrestling because of an injury with 39 seconds remaining. Lecki has only gotten four matches in this season, winning three. 

However, Hahn’s unbeaten record speaks for itself, winning matches because of his strength and speed. He is also predicted by state wrestling prognosticators to finish second at state, says Wyant.

“He is really good on takedowns, he is quick and strong, but the best part of his wrestling is takedowns,” Wyant said. “He’s not a real pinner. He’s a short little guy who doesn’t have the arms, the length, the leverage and that type of thing. He has quite a few pins but did not lead the team in pins.”

At 138, Owens (41-3), a state runner-up two years ago and now a junior, won a 12-2 major decision against Woodmore junior Landon Emch (28-7). Owens is another one who Wyant feels confident about reaching the state podium but getting a state championship might be another issue.

“Owens got beat by the predicted state champion, (Zack) Mattin from Delta, so it is going to be hard for him to win state, but Mattin ended up getting beat the other day by another kid, so Owens is probably third or fourth,” Wyant said. It might be noted that Mattin’s two older brothers wrestle for the University of Michigan.

At 145, Eastwood junior Xavier Escobedo (40-2) won a 3-1 decision against Otsego sophomore Donovan Farley (15-8). At 170, Recknagel (39-4), now a senior, defeated Rossford junior Dominic Schuler (14-9) by a 13-0 major decision.

Wyant says Eastwood, unlike other programs, has gotten all of its meets in despite the global pandemic. The Eagles were 6-1 in NBC dual meets, losing only to Elmwood.

“The day we wrestled them we didn’t have one of our best wrestlers (Recknagel), and we gave them six more points than usual instead of getting six in this case. They beat us by a couple points. They have good upper weights and I have good lower weights,” Wyant said.

Lake junior Eli Guyton (14-2) also won a league title at 113, pinning Genoa freshman Noah Tipton (13-15) in 4:57. Guyton, Maynard, Hahn and Escobedo also won league titles last year.

Other local NBC runners-up were Lake freshman Vince Barton (17-3, 106), Eastwood freshman Caiden Maize (17-7, 132), Eastwood sophomore Bryce Hesselbart (36-9, 160) and Woodmore senior Weston Angel (20-8, 195).

Finishing third were Eastwood freshman Ian Reynolds (18-16, 106), Genoa freshman Nate Tipton (13-17, 120), Woodmore senior Cameron Overmyer (29-7, 160), Lake senior Austin Greene (9-11, 195), Woodmore sophomore Eli Wolph (24-8, 220) and Woodmore junior Drew St. John (22-9, 285).

Placing fourth were Genoa wrestler Darin Muir (18-22, 138), Genoa senior Tommy Giles (19-20, 152), Genoa junior Colin Brazelton (14-18, 170), Woodmore senior Connor Requena (17-13, 182), Eastwood sophomore Dalton Hesselbart (32-13, 195) and Genoa freshman Ethan Crawford (11-7, 220).








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