By David Fong
FAIRBORN — In a tournament filled with two days marquee contests and must-see matches, one ranked right near the top.
In the 138-pound finals of the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament, Covington’s Ryan Ford took on Graham’s Brent Moore in a battle for the ages. Both have placed multiple times at state — Ford has placed third each of the past two seasons in Division III, while Moore has placed third, second and won a state title in Division II last year.
Both will be wrestling at Division I colleges next season, with Ford going to Cleveland State and Moore going to Virginia Tech.
Ultimately, Moore got the better of his Miami County counterpart, picking up a hotly contested 6-4 victory in a match that wasn’t decided until the very end.
Ford was one of nine county wrestlers to place in the tournament. Teammate Lance Miller (160 pounds) also placed second, while Troy Christian’s Jacob Edwards (106) and Michael Sergent (120) both placed fourth, Covington’s Connor Ryan (113) and Tippecanoe’s Logan Ferrell (285) both placed fifth and Troy Christian’s Drew Whaley (113), Covington’s Gage DeHart (152) and Troy’s Davin Snyder (182) all placed eighth.
Ford was dominant throughout the early stages of the tournament, winning his first three matches with a major decision and two pins. After winning 9-3 in the quarterfinals, he defeated defending Kentucky state champion Logan Erdman of Ryle High School 8-3 in the semifinals to earn his match against Moore.
Miller — who was seeded sixth in the tournament — won his first three matches with a pair of pins and a technical fall. In the quarterfinals, he upset No. 3-seed Zach Bowman of Hartley, 8-4, before beating Pickering Central’s Shota Sisco by major decision, 19-7, in the semifinals. In the championship match, Graham’s Garrett Jordan defeated Miller 11-3.
Edwards took a bye through the first round, then won three matches with first-period pins to reach the semifinals. Graham’s Jordan Crace defeated Edwards 5-1 in the semifinals. Edwards won his consolation semifinal match by pin, then fell 8-4 to West Branch’s Christian Wayt in the match for third place.
Like Edwards, Sergent took a bye through the first round, then won his next three matches — all with pins in the first period — to reach the semifinals. In the semis, Northmont’s Chase Craft pulled out a 6-4 sudden victory win over Sergent to reach the finals. In the consolation semifinals, Sergent won 3-2 before falling 5-1 to Walton-Verona’s Ryan Moore in the match for third place.
Ryan — unseeded entering the tournament — got all the way to the semifinals with a 5-2 win and a pair of pins. After falling in the semifinals, Ryan lost in the consolation semifinals, but took fifth place by forfeit when his opponent was unable to compete.
Ferrell reached the semifinals by pinning all of his first three opponents, all in the first period. After falling in the semifinals, he lost both his consolation matches — one by two points and one by a single point — to finish in fifth place.
Whaley got to the quarterfinals via a bye, a 9-2 decision and a first-period pin. After losing the quarterfinals, he won his first consolation match by default, then dropped the next two to finish in eighth place.
DeHart made his way to the quarterfinals by opening with a bye, pinning his next opponent and winning a 7-3 decision. After winning his first consolation match by a 5-1 decision, he lost his next two to finish in eighth place.
Snyder — who was unseeded — was impressive in his first two matches, winning by a first-period pin and a major decision to earn a spot in the quarterfinals. After losing in the quarterfinals, he gutted out a 9-8 win in his first consolation match before ultimately dropped his next two matches to finish in eighth place.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong