By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
TROY — With Troy Christian wrestling — the eye is always on the big prize (state championship).
But, a Division III district championship is indication they are in position for that — and the Eagles brought home the top prize from the Troy D-III district tournament at Hobart Arena Saturday for the second straight year.
Troy Christian won the team title with 170 points, while Legacy Christian was second with 148 points.
“Number five (a fifth state title) is always the goal,” Troy Christian coach Steve Goudy said. “Winning the district title is a step in that direction and it shows we are in position (to go for the state title).”
The Eagles will take eight wrestlers to the state tournament, but Goudy admitted he wasn’t happy with going 3-5 in the finals.
“Even though we won the district title,” Goudy said. “We had another tough round in the finals. We went 3-5. Some of that was due to inexperience and some of that was due to injury. But, next week is when it counts.”
Leading the way for the Eagles were a pair of seniors in Ethan Turner (132) and Andrew Shaffer (152).
Turner, 19-4, got past Legacy Christian’s Ethan Cooper 3-2 in the semifinals, before recording an 8-2 decision over Lima Central Catholic’s Chase Caprella in the championship match.
Shaffer, 37-6, recorded an 11-6 decision over Versailles freshman Kane Epperly in the title match.
“Those are a couple senior leaders,” Goudy said. “Ethan (Turner) is the projected state champion. Andrew (Shaffer) is projected second, but we think he can win.”
Taking second for the Eagles were Caleb Schroer (106), Jason Shaffer (113), Connor Havill (160) and Craig Montgomery (182), who had to default in the third period due to an injury.
Havill, a freshman, nearly stunned Hayden Pummel of Indian Lake.
He had a 6-2 lead at one point before losing 8-7.
“And that kid (Hayden Pummel) is the projected state champion,” Goudy said. “I hope we see him again this week (at state), because I think we can beat him.”
Finishing third was Austin Awan (138), while taking fourth was Troy Kennedy (120).
“It is all about this (week),” Goudy said. “This was a good step.”
The Shore boys shined for the Vikings, while David Davis finished third to give the Vikings three district qualifiers.
Dustin Winner (195) picked up a fifth-place finish to earn alternate status as the Vikings finished seventh in the team standings.
“We wrestled great,” Miami East coach Mark Rose said. “Going 4-for-4 (winning all four matches in the finals). That might be one of the best final rounds we have ever had at district.”
Freshman Cooper and sophomore Max Shore led the way winning district titles.
Cooper (106 pounds), 50-2, advanced to the semifinals with two pins before decisioning Logan Attisano of Legacy Christian 7-1 and decisioning Schroer of Troy Christian 10-5 in the title match.
Max Shore (120), 42-3, advanced to the finals with two points and a tech fall, where he faced a familiar foe in Covington’s Cael Vanderhorst.
Shore led the entire match, recording a 6-3 victory.
“Both guys wrestled great,” Rose said. “Max (Shore) and Cael (Vanderhorst) have wrestled a lot over the last two years. They know each other pretty well. Max did (a nice job finishing off the match). It’s nice to have someone else that good in the same weight class so you don’t have to go far. They might see each other again this week.”
Davis (132), 43-11, took the hard way to state.
After losing in the quarterfinals to eventual second-place finisher Caprella of LCC, he reeled off four straight wins.
He decisioned Ethan Cooper of Legacy Christian in the go-to-state match and decisioned Nick Monnier of Versailles 5-2 in the third-place match.
Winner, 38-16, decisioned Teagan Hendricks of Greeneview 5-2 in the fifth-place match to earn alternate status for this week.
“Our guys wrestled well all weekend,” Rose said.
Eric Vanderhorst had no complaints after Covington’s 10th-place finish in the team standings.
Both Cael Vanderhorst (120) and Kellan Anderson (126) advanced to state for the third straight year, while Trentin Alexander (170) finished sixth.
“I think it went really well,” Eric Vanderhorst said. “We got Cael (Vanderhorst) and Kellan (Anderson) to state. For Trentin (Alexander) to place was really good for him. Connor Sindelir came back and was one match from placing and the whole team wrestled well.”
Cael Vanderhorst, 44-6, advanted to the title match before losing 6-3 to Max Shore.
“Those guys know each other so well,” Eric Vanderhorst said. “They try to come up with something different every time they wrestle and the other guy has to adjust. It would be nice if they both could make a hot run at state and end up facing each other again.”
Anderson, 46-6, lost both of his matches by default as he continued to battle and ankle injury.
After defaulting to Brian Blosser of Dixie in the quarterfinals, he ran off three straight wins to get to the third-place match, where he defaulted to Camron Lacure of Legacy Christian.
“Kellan (Anderson) is not 100 percent,” Vanderhorst said. “We wanted him to do as little as he could and still get to state and that is what happened.”
Alexander, 40-12, came within one match of getting to state, then lost 7-0 to Ezra Jones of Columbus Grove in the fifth-place match.
The state wrestling tournament will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Schottenstein Center.
Contact Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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