By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
LIMA - For the first time in Ada varsity wrestling program history, the
Bulldogs earned district qualifiers with strong showings at the 13-team
sectional meet Saturday.
The first-ever Bulldog matmen qualifiers are Austin Windle, who finished third at 160 lbs., Dylan Hannah, who came in fourth at 152 pounds, and Jarod Woodland, who also ended up fourth at 182 lbs.
Noah Beach took fifth to narrowly miss qualification, and is a district alternate.
"Austin was seeded fourth entering the tournament so we had a pretty good idea that we'd be able to wrestle into districts," said pleased Ada head coach Branden Nickles.
"Austin had a pretty good match with Allen East's Max McAdoo in the championship semi-finals, coming up a little short in the end...but our goal wasn't beating Max, it was getting to Kettering (districts).
"In the consolation semis Austin wrestled a great match against Shobe from Bath, getting the pin in the second period," he continued. "This set up a match with Luke Wrasman from Delphos St. John's."
Wrasman was unable to compete in the finals match due to an injury, so Windle took third via forfeit. Windle will be the only sophomore and the youngest wrestler at his weight class in the district tournament.
"That is just a testament to the level he's wrestling at right now," added Nickles.
Windle's opening match at Kettering Fairmont will be against Kyler Deeter
"Dylan Hannah had a tough road to the finals this past weekend," reported Nickles. "Dylan came in as a five seed and had to wrestle some good competition all weekend long. His opening match was against Jake Schmidt from Coldwater, a district qualifier a year ago.
"Dylan scored the pin in the third period, but was actually down in points before he pulled it out. That match was very key for us, since a win put us in the semi-finals; a loss would have cross-bracketed us into a very, very difficult situation."
In the semi-finals, Hannah was matched up with Bluffton's Zach Wilson, a former state place and multi-time state qualifier.
"We knew how tough that match was going to be for us, Zach is arguably the best wrestler in the sectional, district, and possibly the state in this weight class. Dylan wrestled into the third period before Zach was able to reach a technical fall. That in and of itself is a small victory for our young program."
The loss dropped Hannah to the consolation bracket semis, where he dueled it out with Josh Reel of Wayne Trace. In an extrememly close match from start to finish, a two-point near fall midway through the third period sealed the victory for Hannah giving him the lead, 5-3.
In the consolation finals, Hannah lost 13-0 in a major decision to Bath's Colin Wise to end up fourth.
"For Dylan to knock off a former district qualifier, push Zach Wilson to the third period, and win a close match with some serious pressure on his back, I couldn't be more pleased with the way he wrestled at sectionals," said Nickles.
Hannah's opening match at Kettering will be against Tyler Williamson from Madeira.
"I'm sure that everyone has heard their coach or an analyst say that upon entering the post-season, the slate is wiped clean," Nickles noted. "Nothing that happened in the regular season matters at this point. Jarod Woodland is the young man who believed in those words of wisdom. Jarod has had to battle back from a broken leg in December that could have easily ended his season.
"Yet here we were entering the sectional tournament, down a weight class from the start of the year and completely unseeded. Jarod was overlooked at the seed meeting on the sheer weight of his season record."
Woodland lost his first match of the tournament to Jaiden Knoch of Bath, 10-0. After that loss, he started clawing back into contention the hard way.
Woodland scored a pin in his next match against a Wayne Trace grappler, then followed that up with another pin against Krouskop of Spencerville, who just two weeks ago pinned Woodland at the Northwest Conference tournament.
That win advanced Woodland to the consolation semis and a rematch with Knoch of Bath. Leading 2-0 in the third period with less than a second remaining, Woodland gave up a takedown which sent the match into overtime tied, 2-2.
Within a matter of seconds in OT, Woodland was able to execute a takedown and win a trip to Kettering Fairmont as a district qualifier. After avenging his loss to Knoch, Woodland wrestled Nick Clune of Coldwater in the consolation finals, where he lost 13-1 to take fourth place.
"There are moments in a match, tournament and season that exemplify courage and determination," offered Nickles. "This tournament, for Jarod, was that moment. When very few believed he had a shot to make it out, he jumped out and made a mark for our team that has brought great pride to myself and the coaching staff.
"Jarod's performance this past weekend, without a doubt, is the most exciting and gratifying result I've been able to experience since I've been coaching. Just an excellent display of hardwork and desire."
Noah Beach enjoyed a fine day as well, finishing fifth. Beach was seeded fifth, which is exactly where he finished.
"Losing a 5-2 decision to Doug Hicks from Lincolnview in the opening round was a tough way to start the day," recalled his coach. "Noah came back to pin King from Allen East and Smith from Columbus Grove before falling to Sunderhaus of LCC in the consolation semis."
Wrestling back from that devastating loss, Beach went on to pin Bath's Rudasill to secure the alternate spot in fifth, and a chance to potentially wrestle in the district tournament if a qualifier gets hurt or ill.
Any top four finish in a weight class equals district qualification. As a team, Ada took 10th overall with 59 points, while Bath won the team crown with 180 points. Just at the conference tournament,
"When the pressure was on our team came ready to wrestle," said Nickles.
"To witness the birth of Ada's first-ever district qualifiers has been a rush I won't soon forget.
"I'm not so sure that it has sunk in how important this day was for us, but I'm sure that as soon as we enter Trent Arena on Friday and I get a chance to look around at the quality of wrestlers and teams that have also made it there, I'll have a better appreciation of what we achieved. "From day one this season it's all been about being competitive," Nickles continued. "It hasn't been about the teams we've beaten or the teams that we've lost too...it's been about being competitive. On Saturday at sectionals, we were competitive and that's been our story for much of the season."
Wrestling Sectional Team Scores
1. Bath 180
2. Coldwater 169
3. Wayne Trace 142
4. St. John's 134.5
5. Jefferson 132.5
6. Spencerville 115
7. LCC 94.5
8. Allen East 90.5
9. Bluffton 88.5
10. Ada 59
11. Columbus Grove 54
12. Lincolnview 41
13. Parkway 16