By Chris Chaney
The Bethel-Tate Tigers have done a good job of solidifying themselves as one of the teams to beat in the Southern Buckeye Conference, opening the 2012-13 season in good form and with solid finishes in dual matches and tournaments alike.
“We placed second in the small school division (DII-DIII) of the Coaches Classic last weekend behind Ross with two placers,” Bethel coach Tom Donahue said. “Senior Chip Ratcliff took seventh at 138 lbs and sophomore Aric Peters took fourth at 120lbs.”
Both Ratcliff and Peters have enjoyed successful campaigns this year, but the entire team is strong enough that many of the Tigers’ competitors have pegged them as the prohibitive favorites to win the league.
“I’d have to say that I think Bethel is the early favorite,” Goshen head coach Dallas Rise said. “They’re tough this year and they’re going to be hard to beat.”
Although the season is pretty young, the Tigers have shown themselves to be tough to beat, most recently in a dual match with Western Brown on Friday, Dec. 21 in a special match that took place with the Bethel student body present.
“We won 8 of the 11 contested matches against Western Brown to win 39 – 30,” Donahue said.
Only one of the Tigers’ eight victories came by pin, but the matches were dominated for the most part by the Bethel grapplers whose decisions were never close than three points.
The Tigers will have a break over the Holidays and return to the mat on Jan. 2 when they take part in a Super-Tri Match at Wyoming. That first week of the new year will be wrapped up with the Madeira Invitational on Jan. 4 and 5.
Bethel will have another break during which they won’t wrestle until Jan. 19 at the Loveland duals and then another week until the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational on Jan. 26.
After coming in second in the SBC last year, the Tigers are hoping to improve their status at the Feb. 2 SBC League Meet at Blanchester.
Following those matches, the Tigers will have a few weeks to gear up for the sectional tournament at Western Brown on Feb. 15.