By John Bombatch
BEAVERCREEK — There was method to coach Gary Wise’s madness when he helped engineer the Beavercreek wrestling schedule. Throw several really tough early tournaments into the early mix, and the team is bound to be better off for it, right?
On Saturday, Wise’s madness paid off.
The Beavercreek Beavers won their own Beavercreek Classic wrestling tournament over a solid field of 10 other schools. Beavers wrestlers claimed final wins in five weight classes, the most of any of the schools there. Two other Beavercreek wrestlers finished as their weight class runners up, and five other Beavercreek grapplers placed among the top 5 in their respective divisions.
Wise felt good about his team’s winning performance.
“I thought they wrestled very well, very aggressively,” Wise said. He was sitting on one of the steps of the victory podium. His wrestlers were rolling up mats and tearing down the tournament, but they weren’t about to move that podium until their beloved coach was off it. “The hard work is paying off. We had some good, hard matches here, but as a team overall, they did very well.”
Wise said he was particularly impressed with his winner in the 182-pound weight class, Reece Blackmore. The Beavercreek junior entered Saturday’s tournament with a losing 8-9 record, but claimed three pins — including a 1:36 pin over the division’s top seed, Tony Agricola of Little Miami in the semifinal — to dominate the weight class.
“I went in believing that I was going to win, and that’s just what I did,” Blackmore said, moments after his final win over no. 2 seed Jacob Tinkler of Miami Trace. “At the beginning of the year, I started off kind of slow and had some really tough early matches. But I kept working hard in practice, worked on my technique, and I’ve just gotten better. …. It feels good to win this!”
Beaverceek teammates Colin Nuener (126), Ian Heiland (145), Keaton Keller (152) and Bradley Smith (220) also claimed tournament wins.
In perhaps the most exciting finals finish, Greeneview sophomore Devan Hendricks came up with a two-point take down and registered three back points as time expired to defeat Riverside Stebbins’ Logan Scott 9-7 in the 106-pound final.
“Devan’s got one of the biggest hearts that I’ve ever seen. He’s got a will that does not falter, and a mindset that just does not break,” Greeneview coach Brock Wagner said. “We’re down five points, and he somehow pulled it out. That just speaks volumes of him. We were down that whole third period, and he had to come up with something big … and he did! That’s what he’s about, right there.”
Greeneview placed eighth in the 11-team field. Xenia placed eight wrestlers in the top 6 at Beavercreek, with heavyweight Peyton Bartley pinning the division’s top seed (Miami Trace’s Colin Wolffe) in the final for the win.
“My coaches are good at always busting my butt during practice, and my sparring partner, James Jackson, is always there to push me and get me better. I really appreciate each of them,” Bartley said.
Trotwood-Madison 170 pounder Dominic Badger was named Wrestler of the Meet. The senior recorded three consecutive pins to win his weight class. Not one of his matches went more than 84 seconds in length.
Other winners were: Reid Salzer (113 pounds), Mason Kleinberg (120) and Drew Saunier (132) of fourth place Springboro; Brady Wilson of Stebbins (138); third-place Little Miami’s Brandon Metz (160); and runner-up Miami Trace’s Jared Fenner (195).
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.