By Chris Chaney
The Eastern Cincinnati Conference’s wrestling All-Star teams were littered with local talent and headlined by Glen Este’s Gage Branson, one of only two local wrestlers to qualify for the state tournament.
Branson, a 113-pound junior, was the district runner-up and advanced to the state tournament for the first time in his high school career.
“The (state tournament) didn’t go as well as we had hoped up there, but it was an eventful weekend,” Glen Este head coach Chris Redmond said. “He lost his first match, then won his second and lost his third, the placement round.
“I think he’s going to have a great season next year. He does a lot of summer wrestling, traveling all over the United States wrestling Greco Roman and Freestyle.
“We’re going to have a spring club where kids can come in and work on technique and stuff. Gage is very active in that, so he doesn’t take any time off and with that kind of time on the mat and maturing another year, I look for his season next year to be even better than it was this year.”
Branson led the ECC in his weight class and was the conference champion, pinning Loveland’s Brady Dotson in 0:42. He finished the season 34-3 with 19 pins.
Fellow Trojans on the ECC First Team were Max Davis and Matt Sicurella. Davis, a senior, was a district qualifier, the only other member of Glen Este besides Branson to advance out of sectionals.
Davis wrestled at 145 pounds primarily, but jumped up to 152 pounds as needed.
He was the 145-pound ECC champion, pinning Kings’ Russ Lawson in 5:09. Davis finished the season 21-7 overall between the two weight classes, winning eight matches by pin.
Sicurella, a 138-pound junior, the ECC champion at his weight having defeated Turpin’s Nick Robinson by pin in 1:21. Sicurella compiled a 21-4 record over his junior campaign that included 14 pins.
Branson, Davis and Sicurella were the only members of the ECC’s First Team that were not from league champion Loveland.
Second Team selections from Glen Este included Brandon Hertel at 120 pounds, Avery Jones at 126 pounds, Christian Boggess at 170 pounds and Nate Stone at 195 pounds.
Matt Kennedy, a 182 pounder, was an ECC Honorable Mention.
The Trojans were the second-most represented program on the postseason honor roll behind Loveland, placing eight individuals among the selections.
Milford High School added three more local student-athletes to the mix in Jack Noll, Jake Ashcraft and David Sheldon.
Noll, the Eagles’ lone district qualifier, was a senior 160-pounder. He went 24-14 during his senior season and was bounced from the district tournament in the first round of the consolation bracket.
A Second Team selection, Noll finished as the runner-up in the league meet, falling to Jacob Paul of Loveland, 6-3.
Ashcraft, also a senior, wrestled at 220 pounds. He went 27-15 over his senior campaign, falling in the ECC Championship match to Seth Brennock of Loveland. Ashcraft was a Second Team selection.
Finally, David Sheldon, a 195-pound junior, was named as a conference Honorable Mention. Sheldon won the third-place match at the conference tournament, pinning Anderson’s Maxwell Berry in 2:17. Sheldon finished the season with a mark of 17-14.
For full-season statistics, All Conference Team lists, and conference champions log on to the ECC’s website at eccsports.com.