By Chris Chaney
The Southern Buckeye Conference wrestling teams finished up their conference season on Feb. 1 at the league tournament and have now set their eyes on the postseason.
Following a competitive two days of wrestling at Western Brown, the host Broncos and the Blanchester Wildcats won their respective divisions, the American and the National, but the seven Clermont County schools represented in the SBC had a solid tournament that also included a bit of history.
In the American Division, Bethel-Tate and Amelia finished in second and third, respectively, with both teams scoring over 100 points.
The Tigers, who finished in third place overall, boasted a pair of conference champions in Aric Peters at 120 pounds and Jeffrey Botts at 182 pounds. BJ Ratcliff at 170 pounds and Tyler Krekler at 195 were runners-up.
For Peters and Botts, this is their second consecutive league crown and as such, have higher expectations for the postseason.
“(Peters) is looking to get on the podium at state,” Bethel-Tate head coach Tom Donahue said of the two-time district qualifier. “Two different rankings have him ranked fifth in one and fourth in another in the state.”
The Amelia Barons only were able to place on wrestler on the conference champion’s list, but heavyweight Cohen Canter did so in impressive and historic fashion.
“This is only his second full year — he’s a football guy — but he’s a freak,” Amelia head coach Chance Baysinger said. “He’s not the most technical kid with it only being his second year, but he’s got the best attitude and drive, which is so much in wrestling.”
Canter pinned Williamsburg’s Billy Cadwallader in 24 seconds, a SBC record for the fastest pin the finals.
Canter is flanked by the Shalash brothers, Isaac and Naeem, who both finished as runners-up in the league. Baysinger said that wrestling in Division I, the sectional will be a dog fight, but he believes that he can get five guys through to the district.
Aside from Canter and the Shalashes, Jake Hopper at 126, the third-place finisher at league, and, at 132, Alec Holste, the fourth-place finisher at league, both have a shot to get through as well.
Coming in fifth place overall and second in the National Division, Batavia had a pair of conference champions and a handful of district tournament hopefuls. Caleb Rose at 160 pounds and Darnay Foley at 220 pounds won their respective weight classes and head coach Larry Smith believes both can make some moves upstate.
“My expectations are to have seven or eight, at least, qualify for districts,” Smith said. “I believe Darnay Foley at 220 should be a for-sure state qualifier barring injuries and (Sam) Humbert (runner-up at 132 in the SBC) should be able to join him in Columbus as well.”
Following Batavia in the National and overall were Clermont Northeastern and Williamsburg.
Burg had the lone league champion between the two schools with Charles Johnson at 113 pounds, but he had to beat Seth Chambers of CNE to capture the title. The Wildcats also had runner up Cadwallader at 285 and third-place finisher Shawn Tarvin at 145 as well.
CNE’s top-4 contingent included Chambers, third place finishers Dylan Creager (152) and Josh Forkner (182) as well as fourth-place finisher Brandon Stahl (195).
Back in the American, New Richmond, who finished in fourth place in the division and eighth overall, had five top-4 placers at the league meet. AJ Rostetter (126) and Nathan Rostetter (138) were runners-up and Brandon Planck (120), Kenny Booker (170) and Cory Higginbotham (285) were fourth-place finishers.
Finally, Goshen, the fifth-place team in the American and the ninth-place team overall, boasted a league champion at 138 pounds in Trey Atwood. Tanner Rahm finished in third place at 132 and Morgan Huff was the fourth-place finisher at 106 pounds.
The sectional tournament gets underway on Friday, Feb. 14 and concludes on Saturday, Feb. 15.
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