MARION - The Ada wrestling team finished 12th out of 22 teams in the rugged Sally George Invitational last weekend at Marion Pleasant.
Top Ada individual finishes:
Noah Beach 2nd; Austin Windle 3rd; Jarod Woodland 4th.
"This is exactly why we went to Marion Pleasant," said Ada coach Branden Nickles. "Everyone was challenged and everyone was defeated. There were great teams in a great facility with great wrestling.
"We did fairly well, about how I expected us to do. Unfortunately, we left a lot on the table. Austin lost in the second round of championship, but dominated the match. With less that 20 seconds to go, he was up by four. We got thrown to our back and lost by one point.
"It was a learning moment for sure," Nickles continued. "We are without a doubt one of the most aggressive teams around, but this time, it bit us with just a few seconds to go in the match. We should have played it safe and let the Northmor kid make a mistake...instead, we pressured him and got tossed. You live and learn. Thankfully it was early on in the tournament and we were able to wrestle back and take third."
Nickles noted that Woodland had a fine tourney.
"Jarod wrestled very well also, he took Sylas Smith from Kenton to the final overtime and lost on a technical violation of locking hands. That match was a heartbreaker. Championship semi-finals, Sylas is undefeated and we literally took him to the brink. "It was a tough loss, but again, we were in the big match, we challenged the top guy in the area, and came up just short of the win.
"Jarod was able to come back and finish fourth overall.
Beach posted the top Bulldog finish.
"Noah was our only wrestler to make it into the finals," said Nickles. "And he was DOMINANT! Noah wrestled his best tournament of the year; hands down he looked unstoppable.
"But the theme of the weekend, our aggression bit us. In the third period we're up by and five but get taken down, turned, then pinned. The result was not indicative of how well he wrestled or what type of match it was. We flat-out screwed up and got beat.
"Noah showed a lot of skill throughout the weekend, I was greatly impressed. And how he handled his defeat was something to be proud of for Ada," the coach added.
This Saturday, Ada visits Allen East for the day-long Northwest Conference championship meet, which starts at 10 a.m.
"Columbus Grove, Spencerville, Paulding are the top contenders," Nickles predicted. "We could certainly be in the mix also, but it's going to be a very tough battle to get there. We're just looking to get our first-ever individual champion, and to do it at Allen East would be a great moment for me (as an AE graduate and ex-Mustang wrestler).
"I've been apart of a number of great moments at that school, but this time I'll be wearing different colors," he concluded.