Golden Bears, Rockets continue to carry their weight

J. Patrick Eaken

Gibsonburg and Oak Harbor wrestlers continue to be a dominant force in the Sandusky Bay Conference.
        The Golden Bears won the SBC River Division championship, scoring 111 points to defeat second place Hopewell-Loudon (52), followed by Sandusky St. Mary (35), Lakota (29), Tiffin Calvert (19) and Fremont St. Joseph (3).
        In the Division III sectional at Oak Harbor, Gibsonburg had one champion in 285-pounder Hunter Smith and five other wrestlers advanced to district, five of them finishing as sectional runner-up. Smith defeated Eastwood wrestler Austen Nissen 4-0 in the championship.
“There’s definitely a lot of growth this year with our wrestlers,” Gibsonburg coach Greg Spoores said. “We have three seniors all moving on from sectionals, all of them not perfect, but very focused on what they want to achieve before they step off the mat for the last time. Then, we have a couple underclassmen who are wrestling extremely well this year. It’s showing for them — one junior, one sophomore and one freshman. So, we’ve very excited about what can happen for them.”
At the league meet, the Golden Bears and Rockets wrestle against everybody from all three divisions — Lake, Bay and River, meaning you wrestle guys from larger schools and dozens of returning state placers were competing.
Still, Gibsonburg, which had won consecutive Toledo City League titles before joining the SBC, managed to win its second SBC River title in only two years competing in the conference by scoring more points than other divisional teams. Against that kind of competition, no Gibsonburg or Oak Harbor wrestler won an individual championship.
“I like it in the sense that it is a very tough tournament,” Spoores said. “It’s more than a tune-up before sectionals — it’s probably tougher than most kids’ district tournaments in Ohio. I think this year we counted 91 state-ranked kids between Division II and Division III that were in the tournament this year. It’s a very, very tough league tournament.”
Oak Harbor had two SBC runners-up in Matthew Dewitz (138) and Wyatt Miller (182), Gibsonburg had one second place in Jonathon Auld (145).
Dewitz lost to Edison’s Casey Barnett, 4-3 in the championship, Connor Smith was pinned by Sandusky’s Elijah Hunter in 1:39 and Auld lost by default to Lakota’s Trevor Franks.
Gibsonburg had one third place wrestler in Hunter Smith, who won his consolation final by a 5-1 decision over Perkins’ Brock Runner.
Oak Harbor had two fourth place finishes in Michael Judge, who lost his consolation final by default to Calvert’s Kaylor Reynolds at 106 pounds, and Nathan Mansor lost 7-3 to Edison’s Logan Lloyd at 170.
This side of town still rules
That doesn’t sound like a lot of placers, but 19 teams competed at the SBC meet. Gibsonburg and Oak Harbor held up the league dominance still demonstrated on this side of the metro Toledo area.
Of nine schools that boast wrestling as one of their varsity programs in the Eastern Maumee Bay community, out of five leagues four teams won league championships — Clay repeated in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference, Eastwood won the Northern Buckeye Conference and Gibsonburg won the SBC River Division. Even Oak Harbor finished as runner-up in the SBC Bay Division, the only league one of our local teams did not win.
However, in the Bay Division the Rockets finished behind Division III state dual meet champion Edison, getting outscored 230½ to 116½ — the price to pay for being in the SBC. Both easily outdistanced Port Clinton (44½), Willard (38), Margaretta (17) and Huron (13).
At the Division III sectional, the host Oak Harbor team proved themselves, winning a team championship by advancing eight wrestlers and getting three champions — Judge (106), Mansor (170) and Wyatt Miller (182).
Judge defeated Lake grappler Eli Guyton 3-0 in the championship, Mansor pinned Gibsonburg’s Jarrett Spoores in 3:19 and Miller pinned Woodmore’s Mikey Brzeczek in 2:14.
In team standings, Oak Harbor scored 206 points to outdistance second place Eastwood (177), followed by Gibsonburg (163), Otsego (145½), Woodmore (127½), Genoa (125), Lake (107), Northwood (94½), St. Mary (60), Lakota (55½), Margaretta (25), St. Joseph (13) and Toledo Christian (9).
Other local D-III sectional champions were Lake wrestlers Lucas Wamer (132) and Antonio Lecki (138), Genoa wrestlers and defending state champions Dustin Morgillo (145) and Kevin Contos (152), Northwood wrestler Austin Cole (195) and Eastwood wrestler Tyler Bowman (285).
Morgillo is a defending state champion who won a 12-3 major decision over Gibsonburg’s Connor Smith in the sectional final and Contos won an 11-2 major decision over Eastwood’s Jimmy Recknagel. Also big among Genoa wrestlers was the third place finish by Drew Posey (285), an unseeded freshman.
Other Gibsonburg wrestlers who advanced to the district include the four sectional runners-up — Spoores, Connor Smith (145), Auld (160) and Tayven Halbisen (285). Dominick Whetsel (182) placed third. Coach Spoores thinks they all had a shot at advancing to state.
“I think our 182-pounder has the toughest road, but the rest of our kids had a pretty good shot,” Coach Spoores said. “They got decent draws. It is just about showing up and winning the matches you should win and leaving it all out there every time like it might be your last.
“I think our kids are focused and ready to move forward. We’re doing the best we can to prepare them this week for the mental part of it. The physical part of it is on them.”
Other local runner-up finishes went to Lake’s Guyton at 106, Lake’s Brezeczek at 182, Eastwood wrestlers Bryce Maynard (113), Gavin Owens (120), Xavier Escobedo (132), Recknagel (152) and Nissen (220).
Other local third place finishers who advanced to districts include Woodmore wrestlers Lukus Schaub (106), Landon Emch (126), Brett Sandwisch (152) and Cameron Overmyer (160), Oak Harbor wrestlers Tyler Davis (113), Cade Petersen (132) and Kenyon Atkinson (195), Lake wrestler Christian Lecki (120), Eastwood wrestler Mason Glaze (138), Gibsonburg wrestler Dominick Whetsel (182), and Genoa’s Posey.
Finishing fourth and advancing were Genoa wrestler Nate Partin (106), Woodmore wrestler Chase Dickerson (113), Oak Harbor wrestlers Owen Miller (120) and Jack Zeitzheim (152), Eastwood wrestler Bryce Hesselbart (145), Northwood wrestlers Hunter Schmoekel (160), Junior Chaisiri (170), Erik Marazon (182) and Joseph Miller (285).


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