West Jeff slips past London to claim MSL Championship

By Chris Miles

February 4, 2014

London High School wrestling coach Dave Kennedy wasn’t exactly happy with how his team finished at the Mid-State League Ohio Division championship at Bexley on Saturday, Feb. 1, despite being proud of the way his kids wrestled.

That’s because the coach was without two of his top wrestlers, both of whom were seeded No. 1 in their respective weight classes. He believes the team’s second-place finish (174 points) behind champion West Jefferson (215) would have been different if he had his whole team available.

“If we would’ve had those two guys we would’ve won it,” Kennedy said. “As a team we wrestled really well but it would’ve been nice to have those guys wrestling.”

The Red Raiders were without state qualifier Owen Shoemaker at 170 pounds and Colton Winters at 160. Shoemaker has an injured thumb and was unavailable, Winters however was expected to compete in the championship event until tournament officials said he couldn’t due to a rash of some sort.

“I think it’s just a scab on his arm, but they said he couldn’t wrestle,” Kennedy said. “Not having those two guys hurt us for sure.”

After the Roughriders and Red Raiders, powerful Whitehall was third (161), followed by Madison-Plains (152), Bexley (129), Grandview (101), Columbus Academy (85) and Harvest Prep (15).

London had three event champions, including 195-pound standout Roger Pack who pinned his way to victory in all five of his matches including an easy 1:28 triumph over Bexley’s Daniel Lee in the final.

The other two championships for London were earned by Garrett Blackburn at 132 pounds and Nathan Nagel at 126. The Blackburn title wasn’t a surprise as he’s been one of the team’s top guys all season long, but the Nagel league championship was somewhat of an eye opener.

“It’s not really a surprise because he has it in him,” Kennedy said. “He’s been a little up and down, but he finally put it all together.”

Nagel won a 6-4 decision over Sam Wittman of Columbus Academy in the 126 final.

The Red Raiders also had 106-pounder Charli Solarzano and 113-pounder Jose Velasco each reach championship finals before losing to wrestlers from Whitehall.

In winning the league championship West Jefferson had five weight class champions, while Madison-Plains had a pair in brothers Joe and Jake Datz.

West Jefferson’s Zander Wright edged Madison-Plains High School’s Tim Violet 8-7 at 138 pounds, while Louis Wemyss pinned Plains’ Bobby Miller in 1:59 in the 182-pound final.

West Jefferson senior Ricky Ratcliff pinned Whitehall’s Austin Nichols in mere 24 seconds at 145, freshman Josh Doherty won his 160-pound championship match 19-8 and Carter Harris walked away with the title at 220, defeating a wrestler from Columbus Academy. Senior Brian Kirk advanced to the final at 285, but was pinned by A.J. Pinyerd of Grandview.

It was a big day for the Datz brothers at Madison-Plains as both sophomore Joe at 152 and senior Jake at 170 both won championships. Joe earned a 9-2 decision over Cody Dingess of West Jefferson, while Jake’s final victory was a 14-6 decision over Grandview’s Sam Callison.

Yutzy, Caldwell earn MOAC titles

Jonathan Alder senior Bret Yutzy and junior Troy Caldwell came away from the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Championship tournament at Buckeye Valley on Saturday, Feb. 1, with individual crowns.

Yutzy took home the title at 132, while Caldwell was victorious at 220. Derek Ridder was third for the Pioneers at 285.

Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.