By David Fong
COVINGTON — Olivia Shore had just enough energy left in her tiny body to let out a gutteral scream and hit a double biceps pose in front of the raucous group of fans sitting in the bleachers, who seemingly couldn’t get enough of the female freshman phenom.
“I’ve never been so out of breath in my entire life,” the Miami East freshman wrestler said, letting an impish grin creep across her face.
Who could blame her? She had just gutted out a 5-4 ultimate tiebreaker victory over Troy Christian’s Caleb Shroer to claim the 106-pound championship at the Division III sectional wrestling tournament Saturday at Covington High School.
Shore held on to Shroer’s ankles as he tried to escape — which would have given him the win — in the final seconds of the ultimate tiebreaker, drawing the loudest cheers of the night from the fans.
That victory kick started a huge closing night for the Vikings, who would capture six individual titles and win their first sectional title since 1994 with 244 team points.
“I’m extremely happy,” Miami East coach Mark Rose said. “We brought 12 kids and we placed 12 kids. We got 10 kids to districts and two alternates. You can’t ask much more from your kids than that. We wrestled extremely well today.”
Quite simply, Miami County teams dominated the field Saturday. In addition to Miami East’s team title, Troy Christian took second (209.5 points), Covington was third (170 points) and Milton-Union was fourth (115).
In the 14 championship matches, Miami County won 10 titles (six by Miami East, three by Troy Christian and one by Bethel) and finished second nine times (four by Troy Christian, one by Miami East and four by Covington).
Of the 14 championship matches, six had county wrestlers facing off against one another.
The highlight of those six county vs. county matches came at 138, where Miami East’s Alex Isbrandt scored late for a 6-5 comeback victory over Troy Christian’s Jared Ford. Isbrandt is ranked No. 1 in the state at 138 pounds in Division III, while Ford is ranked second.
In other championship matches featuring two county wrestlers, Troy Christian’s Ethan Turner beat Covington’s Cael Vanderhorst by major decision (9-1) at 113, Miami East’s Travis Ferguson beat Covington’s Keringten Marten in a 3-2 ultimate tiebreaker at 152, Bethel’s Kellen Calhoun beat Troy Christian’s Craig Montgomery 5-2 at 170 and Miami East’s Brenden Dalton beat Troy Christian’s Nick Baker 5-3 at 220.
In addition to the titles won by Olivia Shore, Isbrandt, Ferguson and Dalton, Graham Shore and Zane Strubler also won championships for the Vikings. At 120, Shore pinned Southeastern’s Lane McCombs in just 54 seconds. At 145, Strubler beat Dayton Christian’s Henry Danishek 6-3.
Placing second for the Vikings was Kaleb Nickels (126). Placing third were Garrett Kowalak (113) and Matthew Welker (170). Cole Mergler (132) placed fourth.
The Eagles won three individual titles. In addition to Turner, Jacob Edwards (132) and Damon Beatty (182) won championships. Edwards won his by pinning Greenon’s Chase Trainer in 1:59, while Beatty beat Brookville’s Justin Eyler by technical fall, 16-1.
Placing second for Troy Christian were Shroer, Ford, Montgomery and Baker. Lucas Moore was third at 160 pounds, while Austin Awan was fourth at 145.
Covington had four wrestlers place second: Vanderhorst, Martin, Duncan Cooper (160) and Gage Kerrigan (195).
Kellan Anderson placed third for the Buccaneers at 106. Austin Flick (138), Trentin Alexander (170), Gage McReynolds (182) and Bryce Keiser all placed fourth, earning a trip to districts.
The Bulldogs had four wrestlers place third: Colten Jacobe at 126, Dylan Schenck at 145, Paul Brown at 152 and Owen Lewis at 182.
Placing fourth for Milton were Aaron Beckman (113) and Peyton Brown (120).
Calhuon was the lone wrestler to compete for Bethel, winning the sectional title at 170.
Division I at Centerville
CENTERVILLE — Troy senior Joe Pascale (126 pounds) captured the first sectional title of his career as he and Mitchell Francis (113) both earned district berths for the Trojans at the Centerville 1 sectional Saturday.
After receiving a bye through the first round, Pascale beat Beavercreek’s Jacob Pfander by major decision (8-0) in the quarterfinals. He followed that up with a 10-1 major decision (10-1) victory over Miamisburg’s Grant Middleton. In the championship match, Pascale picked up his third major decision victory of the tournament, beating Piqua’s Tristan Hostetter 13-1 in the title match.
Francis placed third for the Trojans. In his final match, he beat Springboro’s Reid Salzer by major decision, 9-1.
The top four in each weight class qualified for districts. Also placing for the Trojans were: Carlos Quintero (fifth at 138 pounds), David McGraw (fifth at 152), Shane Shoop (sixth at 160) and Dakota Hamman (sixth at 170).
Troy will compete at the Fairmont district tournament beginning Friday.
Division II at Graham
ST. PARIS — Caleb Blake captured a 145-pound, Division II title in the Graham 2 sectional Saturday as both he and teammate Blake Ballard advanced to districts.
Blake opened the tournament with a pair of pins, then beat Kenton Ridge’s Drew Gray by major decision, 10-2, in the semifinals. In the championship match, Blake pinned Ben Logan’s Steele Boysel in just 20 seconds to win the title.
Ballard placed fourth for the Red Devils at 120 pounds.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong.
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