Nathan Schroder defeated Greeneview’s Isaiah Harding to take third place in the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbird Invitational. Schroeder recorded 6 pins in only 10 minutes and 44 seconds. (Times Bulletin/Larry Heiing)
By Larry Heiing
LIMA — The Lima Central Catholic Thunderbird Wrestling Invitational is billed as the premier Division III regular-season wrestling tournament in the state of Ohio. The unwritten rule of thumb in the wrestling community is how you place in this tournament in a good indication how a grappler will finish at districts held next month.
Forty teams competed this year in the two-day tournament, which included 25 state qualifiers from last year. Archbold won the team competition by only a half point over Covington 186 to 185.5. St. John’s had the best local finish in 10th place with 97 points. Wayne Trace placed 13th with 87 points, Columbus Grove finished in 17th with 57 points and Spencerville was right behind with 53.5. Lincolnview also competed at LCC and had a total of 21.5 points.
St. John’s 285-pounder Nate Schroeder rose to the top of the elite field to finish in third place.
“Nate had by far the best tournament of our team, beating some very good wrestlers, including pinning Spencerville’s Logan Vandemark,” commented his head coach, Derek Sterling. “He is rounding into wrestling shape after a few minor injuries and put himself in good position for the districts.”
Schroeder recorded six pins in a total time of 10 minutes and 44 seconds.
“I just had to listen to my coaches and keep my head clear to where I didn’t want to force any moves, then I had to wrestle with intensity,” said Schroeder. “I feel like I wrestled pretty well and have some things to work on but I thought I had a good tournament.”
George Clemens of Wayne Trace, who won this event last year in the 113-pound class, claimed another title this year at 106.
Columbus Grove had two wrestlers finish in fourth place in back-to-back brackets. Alec Gladwell dropped a tough 3-2 decision to Ben Miller of Covington in the 170-pound bracket. Then at 182 pounds, Triad’s Rickey Bruce defeated Will Selhorst 8-3.
Lincolnview’s Doug Hicks finished in fifth place after hanging on for a 5-4 victory over Conan Nicely of Blanchester in the finals.
“Doug is having a good year, coming into this tournament with a 22- 7 record” said Lancer coach Curt Miller. “He went 5-2 this weekend against the best of the best and will be ready for districts.”
Blue Jay senior Austin Martin had a tough draw on Friday night, having to face the number-one seeded Daniel Jennings of Covington in the second round. After the loss to Jennings, “Austin came out with a vengeance on Saturday with a great win over fourth-seeded Garrett Grime of Archbold to come back with more great wins to place sixth,” Sterling explained.
Wes Buettner dropped a pair of heart-breakers in the 170-pound bracket, including a loss to the second-seeded Ben Miller of Covington to finish in fifth place.
“Nobody likes losing but these matches will definitely be losses we can learn from and get better,” commented Sterling about Buettner.
The 145-pound bracket featured two state runner-ups from last year: Logan Day of Archbold and Greenview’s Logan Lacure. Derrick Smith of Spencerville recorded a pair of victories and Blue Jay Brett Vonderwell had three but neither placed in this tough bracket.
St. John’s Alex Haunhorst scored a major decision in the 160-pounders over the sixth-seeded Dustin Green of Tri-County North 11-3. Haunhorst then defeated Allen East’s Logan Emerick to advance to the quarterfinals before bowing out on Saturday.
“Alex is wrestling very well right now and starting to turn the corner. We have to eliminate some small mental mistakes and Alex should finish the season strong,” Sterling continued.
Spencerville’s Cole Bellows secured the sixth seed in the 138-pound bracket and opened with a pair of victories Friday night before losing to Derek Gross of St.Paul.
Justin Siefker of St. John’s defeated Branden Robinson from Covington and Cory-Rawson’s Austin Brown for solid victories. He was eliminated following losses to two state qualifiers that finished second and third in this very competitive weight division.
Finally, the 220-weight bracket was won by another state placer from last year, Justin Post of Coldwater.
Spencerville’s Wyatt Krouskop opened with a pair of quick pins over McComb’s Matt Smith in 19 seconds and Tyler Tudor of Eastwood in 51 ticks. After advancing to the quarterfinals, Krouskop lost to Post and was eliminated by Van Buren’s sixth-seeded Santos Miranda.
Blue Jay Austin Schulte also advanced to the 220-pound quarterfinals before dropping a tight match, where he had returning state qualifier Travis Jarmillo of Archbold on his back before losing it out of bounds.
“Austin is doing everything we ask and is really starting to peak at the right time,” concluded Sterling.
The next action for the Blue Jays will be Tuesday night at Celina with a tri-meet with Fairview, followed by the OHSAA Ohio Duals at Bath on Wednesday.
The Northwest Conference wrestling tournament including Columbus Grove, Lincolnview, Spencerville and Jefferson will be held Saturday at Allen East.