By Chris Chaney
The Southern Buckeye Conference has a lot to be proud of after the Jan. 4 and 5 Madiera Invitational in which the New Richmond Lions came away with a tournament win and Bethel-Tate notched the most individual champions out of the 23 schools who took part.
“(We had) nine wrestlers place in the top four,” New Richmond head coach Deron Shinkle wrote on the high school’s athletics blog. “What an incredible team effort put on by these young men.”
The Invitational began on Friday evening, Jan. 4 with the Lions only losing five matches in the first three rounds, which secured New Richmond’s spot atop the standings heading into Saturday’s place matches.
“(We) only won two matches in the semi-final round, also known as the big point round,” Shinkle wrote. “The Lions quickly dropped to second place behind Reading and nearly fell all the way to third behind Blanchester.
“(Then we) ripped off 18 straight wins, (which) is unheard of. That put the Lions back in first to stay.”
New Richmond finished the Invitational with 183.00 points, 20 more than second place Reading and 55 points ahead of SBC rival Bethel-Tate.
The Lions’ impressive performance came in part because of the fruits of the labor of nine wrestlers who placed in the top four in the tournament.
The lone champion was senior James White in the 182 lb. weight class. He defeated Sam Steele of Boone County by a 7-2 decision.
The only other New Richmond wrestler to make it to the championship round was JR Forsee who lost to Beau Harmon by a score of 3-1.
In the consolation matches, New Richmond cleaned up going 7-0 in third place matches. Nathan Dixon, at 220 lb. was the only Lion to win by pin.
AJ Rostetter (113), Nathan Rostetter (120), Autumn Clark (145), Clay Loadman (152), Kenny Booker (160) and Kevin Reed (170) all won their third place matches by decision.
The Bethel-Tate Tigers also had a strong showing at the invitational. Head coach Tom Donahue’s squad led the tournament in individual victories, securing three of them, en route to a third place finish.
Aside from the three champions, the Tigers had three more place winners, two of which came at the hands of their SBC rivals, New Richmond.
The Tigers’ champions were 120-pounder Aric Peters. Peters defeated yet another Southern Buckeye opponent in the final, this time it was Chad Wendel from Clermont Northeastern by a 19-7 major decision. The win boosted Peters’ record to 15-3 on the season.
Chip Ratcliff also notched a win in the championship round at 132 lb. with a 7-0 win over CHCA’s Kealii Cummings. Ratcliff’s record in his senior season improved to 16-3 with the win.
At 138 lb., Bethel’s Brian Carter defeated Trevor Andrews of Deer Park 3-2 to pick up the win. Carter is now 12-3 on the season.
Other Tiger placers were Jacob Phillips (145) and Jeffrey Bots (152) who came in third and Kian Mollette finished sixth at 285 lb.
Aside from CNE’s Wendel coming in second at 120 lb., the Rockets did not have any other placers.
Goshen had a solid showing, finishing in 12th place as a team and having four individuals pick up placing finishes. Senior Conner Rahm at 160 lb. fell to Austin Parrish of Waynesville in the championship round by pin. Rahm’s younger brother, Tanner was pinned in the fifth place match of the 132 lb. weight class to pick up a sixth place, while Trey Atwood at 126 lb. won his fifth place match against Damian Walton of Taylor. Sterling Briggs lost in the 138 lb. fifth place match to David Kuhlmann of Mount Healthy.
All of the SBC teams at the Invitational represented their conference well and will have a few more weeks to iron out any kinks that may have surfaced during the tournament before the conference meet at Blanchester on Feb. 2.