By Chris Chaney
All nine of Clermont County’s wrestling teams across three divisions will be represented at this weekend’s Southwest Ohio District Tournament after strong showings at sectional events.
In total, 42 wrestlers, including four sectional champions, qualified for the next round and a chance to advance to the state meet in Columbus at the Value City Arena beginning on Thursday, Feb. 27.
By sheer numbers, Batavia and Goshen, wrestling in the Division II sectional at Western Brown, led the way with seven qualifiers each. Both programs placed one wrestler atop the podium.
Not far behind in Division I, Glen Este advanced six wrestlers, also with one sectional champ.
At the Division III meet at Blanchester, Bethel-Tate, Clermont Northeastern and Williamsburg all put five wrestlers through with the Tigers being the only one of the three to have a sectional champion.
New Richmond (DII) moved on four, Milford (DI) advanced two and Amelia (DI) qualified one.
Beginning with the four sectional champions, no team was able to get more than one wrestler atop any of the 14 weight class podiums. The lightest local sectional champion was Glen Este’s Gage Branson at 113 pounds. Branson, the lone Division I sectional champion, pinned his final-round opponent, Eddie Collins of Hamilton, in the third period with 11 seconds remaining in the match.
Sterling Briggs of Goshen at 145 pounds and Batavia’s Darnay Foley at 220 pounds both claimed sectional championships in Division II. Briggs secured a top seed at districts beating Ross’ Tyler Young 10-7 while Foley earned his favorable draw by pinning Western Brown’s Cody Wilson early in the second period.
Aric Peters of Bethel-Tate was the lone Division III sectional champion. Peters, also the Southern Buckeye Conference champion at 120 pounds, beat Timmy McIntyre of Blanchester by technical fall, 16-1.
In Division I, Glen Este sectional champion Branson will be joined by teammates Brandon Smith (126 pounds), Matt Sicurella (138 pounds), Max Davis (145 pounds) and Matt Kennedy (182 pounds) who finished in second place as well as 120-pounder Brandon Hertel who finished in fourth place.
Milford will be represented at districts by seniors Jack Noll and Jake Ashcraft. Noll, at 160 pounds, finished second and Ashcraft, at 220 pounds, finished in third place.
Amelia’s lone district qualifier was heavyweight SBC champion Cohen Canter who made quick work of his third-place match opponent, Robert Overbeck of La Salle, pinning him in 1:05.
In Division II, Briggs will be joined by a strong Warrior contingent including sectional runners-up Alan Fastovich (126 pounds), Tanner Rahm (132 pounds) and Trey Atwood (138 pounds). Morgan Huff at 106 and Jonathan Duncil at 285 were third-place finishers and Lucas Fastovich at 113 pounds came in fourth place.
Foley’s Bulldog teammates Dontae Tallarigo (106 pounds) and Steve Bender (195) were second-place qualifiers, while Caleb Rose (152 pounds) and Cole Morgan (160 pounds) both won third-place matches by early pins. Sam Humbert (132 pounds) and Tony Gatto (145 pounds) round out the Batavia advancers with fourth-place finishes.
New Richmond’s Brandon Planck turned in the best finish for the Lions, losing in the sectional championship to Dakota Stapleton of Talawanda at 120 pounds. Kenny Booker at 170 pounds won his third-place match while AJ Rostetter (126 pounds) and Nathan Rostetter (138 pounds) lost theirs, but still qualified.
In Division III, Peters’ Tiger teammates are headlined by Jeffrey Botts (170 pounds) and Tyler Krekler (182), both of whom wrestled in the sectional championship, but were unable to win. BJ Ratcliff at 160 pounds and Kermit Beckworth at 195 both advanced with fourth-place finishes.
Clermont Northeastern’s Seth Chambers at 106 pounds was the Rockets lone runner-up, while Logan Krebs (132 pounds) and Josh Forkner (182) pounds claimed third-place finishes. Kaden Brown (120 pounds) and Brycen Gott (126 pounds) both qualified in fourth place.
Finally, a strong Williamsburg team will be led by sectional runners-up Charles Johnson (113 pounds) and Billy Cadwallader (285 pounds). Patric Keown at 170 was a third-place qualifier and Dawson Davis at 138 and Tyler Boggs at 220 advanced via fourth-place finishes.
The district meets will be held on Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 across three different venues. Division I local athletes will wrestle at Kettering Fairmont, Division II locals will compete at Wilmington and Division III wrestlers will grapple at Troy.
Full draws and brackets can be found on www.baumspage.com/wr.