London wins MSL crown


LMS dominates tourney, 12 wrestlers win titles

By Chris Miles - cmiles@civitasmedia.com



The 2016-17 London Middle School Wrestling Team won the overall Mid-State League Championship for the second consecutive year.


LMS’ James Keplinger, left, attempts to return his West Jefferson opponent from West Jefferson during their match at the Mid-State League middle school championship tournament.


Thad Huff, right, looks to take control of his 170-pound match during the Mid-State League championship.


A whopping total of 12 of the 14 London Middle School wrestlers who were entered the Mid-State League Championship Tournament won an individual title. The placers were from left: James Keplinger (first, 104 pounds), Kaleb Reedy (third, 160), Luke Peart (first, 110), Richard Dodson (first, 142), Khaleb Comer (first, 116), Siaf Ullah (first, 122), Camden Whitacre (first, 134), Josiah Kennedy (first, 98), Thad Huff (first, 172), Antwaun Burns (first, 128), Brady Fisher (first, 80), Antonio Burns (first, 205) and Jimmy Cleaver (first, 86).


Josiah Kennedy, top, gets the best of his Columbus Academy opponent during the Mid-State League middle school championship tournament.


The London Middle School wrestling team dominated the Mid-State League Championship Tournament Jan. 28 and walked away with its second straight league crown.

The fact that this happened should come as no surprise to those who know anything about the current crop of athletes roaming the halls at London Middle School.

With a strong collection of motivated individuals pushing one another, London has achieved big things this winter and coach Matt White continues to strive for more.

“Before the beginning of the tournament I had challenged my wrestlers to compete at a higher level than we had the previous year. When we won the MSL Tournament last year I had seven individual champions,” the coach said. “Not only did they meet that expectation, they exceeded it by having 12. The boys are in constant competition with one another from week-to-week to see who can produce the best results. They push each other to be better and it has translated over to the mat.”

London scored 315 points in the tournament held at West Jefferson Jan. 28. The host Roughriders were second with 188, and were followed by Columbus Academy (116), Whitehall (91), Bexley (42) and Grandview (0).

Individual league championships were won by Brady Fisher (80 pounds), Jimmy Cleaver (86), Josiah Kennedy (98), James Keplinger (104), Luke Peart (110), Khaleb Comer (116), Siaf Ullah (122), Antwaun Burns (128), Camden Whitacre (134), Richard Dodson (142), Thad Huff (172) and Antonio Burns (205).

White has helped build up the middle school wrestling program, but he gives a lot of credit to high school varsity coach Rich Burns for developing the district’s youth program.

“When I first took over coaching the program four years ago we finished the season with only six wrestlers,” White said. “This year we finished with 22. We have always had great individual wrestlers, but the program was so small we were never able to compete on a team level.

“This season we wrestled in seven tournaments winning the overall team championships in three of them. We placed second in another and third, fourth and fifth in the others. Much of the credit needs to go to, Rich Burns, for running a great youth program, The London Wrestling Club. Coaching is easy and fun when most of your boys come to you already with experience and he has been with most of those boys since they were about five or six-years old.”

A collection of London Middle School wrestlers competed in the OAC Junior High District Tournament. All six placed qualifying them for the Junior High State Tournament which will be held March 18-19 at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown.

Two wrestlers took home individual district championships, including Thad Huff at 164 and Antwaun Burns at 120. Burns is undefeated on the year at 30-0. He is the returning Grade School State Champion from last year as a sixth grader.

London High School’s varsity program seems to be in good shape for the foreseeable future.

“With the addition of the middle school wrestlers to the boys who are already in the varsity program, this team will be one of the toughest in the area over the next few years,” White said.

The 2016-17 London Middle School Wrestling Team won the overall Mid-State League Championship for the second consecutive year.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/02/web1_IMG_3691.jpgThe 2016-17 London Middle School Wrestling Team won the overall Mid-State League Championship for the second consecutive year.

LMS’ James Keplinger, left, attempts to return his West Jefferson opponent from West Jefferson during their match at the Mid-State League middle school championship tournament.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/02/web1_IMG_3380.jpgLMS’ James Keplinger, left, attempts to return his West Jefferson opponent from West Jefferson during their match at the Mid-State League middle school championship tournament.

Thad Huff, right, looks to take control of his 170-pound match during the Mid-State League championship.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/02/web1_IMG_3566.jpgThad Huff, right, looks to take control of his 170-pound match during the Mid-State League championship.

A whopping total of 12 of the 14 London Middle School wrestlers who were entered the Mid-State League Championship Tournament won an individual title. The placers were from left: James Keplinger (first, 104 pounds), Kaleb Reedy (third, 160), Luke Peart (first, 110), Richard Dodson (first, 142), Khaleb Comer (first, 116), Siaf Ullah (first, 122), Camden Whitacre (first, 134), Josiah Kennedy (first, 98), Thad Huff (first, 172), Antwaun Burns (first, 128), Brady Fisher (first, 80), Antonio Burns (first, 205) and Jimmy Cleaver (first, 86).
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/02/web1_IMG_3696.jpgA whopping total of 12 of the 14 London Middle School wrestlers who were entered the Mid-State League Championship Tournament won an individual title. The placers were from left: James Keplinger (first, 104 pounds), Kaleb Reedy (third, 160), Luke Peart (first, 110), Richard Dodson (first, 142), Khaleb Comer (first, 116), Siaf Ullah (first, 122), Camden Whitacre (first, 134), Josiah Kennedy (first, 98), Thad Huff (first, 172), Antwaun Burns (first, 128), Brady Fisher (first, 80), Antonio Burns (first, 205) and Jimmy Cleaver (first, 86).

Josiah Kennedy, top, gets the best of his Columbus Academy opponent during the Mid-State League middle school championship tournament.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/02/web1_IMG_3487.jpgJosiah Kennedy, top, gets the best of his Columbus Academy opponent during the Mid-State League middle school championship tournament.
LMS dominates tourney, 12 wrestlers win titles

By Chris Miles

cmiles@civitasmedia.com

Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.

Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.