It’s hard to gauge how well the competition is doing in a round-robin format wrestling tournament.
Teams usually concentrate on themselves and their successes and really don’t have a way of following how another squad is doing. But you can bet as the Jonathan Alder Invitational tournament started to wind down on Saturday, Jan. 18, at Alder, both the host Pioneers and Madison County foe West Jefferson were well aware of what was going on with one another.
In the end it was the Roughriders who scored just enough points to edge the home team to claim the team championship.
West Jefferson finished with 283 points and was followed by Alder’s 267. The rest of the field had Centennial (174) third, followed by Northeastern (159), Johnstown Monroe (149), Columbus West (129), Bexley (127), Whetstone (120) and Kettering Fairmont (46).
“The tournament was well run,” Alder coach Ron Thomas said. “There was a lot of good competition and some really good matches in the finals.
“It’s a round-robin tournament so when you’re wrestling everybody in your pool it gives everybody a chance to show what they can do. I thought our team wrestled well, West Jeff just scored a little more.”
The Roughriders and Pioneers both had four weight class champions, a number of which came against one another. The difference proved to be the four second-place finishes also earned by West Jeff.
The Roughriders champions included Cody Dingess at 145, Ricky Ratcliff at 152, Josh Doherty at 160 and Louis Wymess at 182.
Alder’s champions were Eli Ayoub at 126 who pinned West Jeff’s Damir Pereria, Bret Yutzy topped the Roughriders’ Zander Wright 9-4 at 138. Troy Caldwell bested an injured Carter Harris 6-2 at 220 pounds in the feature match of the day between two wrestlers with state tournament aspirations, while Derek Ridder also defeated Chuck Fultz of West Jeff wrestler in the heavyweight final.
The 138-pound match was one that was a back and fourth affair.
“Bret won it 9-4, but it was a good one,” Thomas said. “It was one of the more upbeat matches of the day.”
The Caldwell-Harris tilt lost a bit of its luster after Harris injured his shoulder, but continued to fight through the pain until the very end.
“I’m not sure when he got hurt,” the Jonathan Alder High School coach said. “I don’t know if it was in an earlier match or in his match with Troy. But it was real close until the end when Troy got a takedown late in the third period.”
Both teams will continue to work toward their respective league championship tournaments. West Jefferson will compete in the Mid-State League Ohio Division Championship at Bexley on Feb. 1, while Alder will compete at the Mid-Ohio Athletic Championship meet on the same day at Buckeye Valley.