By Garth Shanklin
For the second time in roughly one week, the West Clermont Wolves’ wrestling team faced a top-ranked opponent on the mat.
On Jan. 10, the Wolves hosted Western Brown in the War on 32, a duel the Wolves lost 64-12. This time, the result went West Clermont’s way, as the squad defeated Bethel-Tate 35-30 at the Tigers’ in-school duel.
The Wolves got the match started with a pin. Ryan Walker pinned Bethel-Tate’s Joe Reinert in 5:25 to start the match.
The Tigers won the next two matches, with Zack Gutknecht defeating Dylan Rowland in an 8-5 decision and Trey Sander pinning Luigi Lattero in 56 seconds to put the Tigers on top 9-6.
In the 126-pound bout, West Clermont’s Landon Hatley pinned Bethel-Tate’s Donnie Harrison in 5:29 to put the Wolves back on top 12-9.
Bethel-Tate tied the dual at 12 with a victory in the 132-pound class. Austin Carter defeated Will Turner 9-4 to pick up three points for the Tigers.
Michael Whittington gave the Tigers the lead with an 8-0 major decision victory to put the Tigers back on top 16-12.
Matt Lewis won the match in the 145-pound class in an 8-0 major decision, defeating Jonah Blankenship to tie the match back up at 16.
Matt Hall then defeated Noah McCune 10-1 in the 152-pound bout, giving Bethel-Tate a 20-16 lead.
West Clermont re-took the advantage in the 160-pound match, when Luke Mentzel pinned Cooper Dunn in 26 seconds.
Owen Holtke’s 12-2 major decision victory in the 170-pound class put the Tigers back on top 24-22, only to see Noah Mirick give the Wolves the lead right back with a 13-5 major decision win over Owen Mattes.
Nathaniel Owens pinned Ben Berger in 3:22 in the 195-pound class to put Bethel-Tate on top 30-26, but West Clermont answered with wins in the final two matches to win the duel.
Joe Wahl defeated Bradley Lewis 5-1 in the 220-pound match, and Will Young pinned Jayce Glenn 5:17 into their match to clinch the victory for the Wolves.
All eight county teams now turn their attention to the state dual team tournament, which began on Wednesday, Jan. 24. West other half of the sub-regional includes the Broncos, Sycamore and Anderson.
In Division II, Goshen hosts a sub-regional. The top-seeded Warriors will battle Taylor at Goshen High School with the winner facing either Norwood or New Richmond.
Finally, in Division III, two local schools earned hosting rights. Clermont Northeastern hosts North College Hill to start the regional quarterfinal, with the winner facing top-seeded Aiken. Two other schools, Hillcrest and Summit Country Day, withdrew from the tournament.
Williamsburg will also host a sub-regional, with the Wildcats battling third-seeded Madeira while top-seeded Bethel-Tate takes on Reading at Williamsburg High School. The Tigers are the defending Region 23 champions, having defeated CNE and Purcell Marian last year to advance to the state dual quarterfinals for the first time in school history.