By Josh Brown
VANDALIA — The GMVWA Holiday Tournament has never been kind to Troy Christian’s Jared Ford.
“I was here my freshman and sophomore years, but I couldn’t wrestle here last year. I was definitely nervous (this year),” the senior said when asked how he felt coming back to the tournament. “Especially because I’ve always been sick in this tournament — which, I’m sick today — so I’ve never really wrestled that well here.”
Ford toughed it out, though, claiming the only individual championship for a Miami County wrestler on the day out of four chances at the final day of the Holiday Tournament Thursday at Butler High School’s Student Activities Center.
Ford (138) was the third of three Eagle wrestlers to qualify for the championship finals on the day. First, Ford won a 12-1 major decision over Simon Kenton’s Alejandro Majia in the quarterfinal round, then he won a 6-4 decision over Bellbrook’s Ben Sherrill to advance to the championship match.
“I just found a way to win, especially in my semifinal match,” Ford said. “I was tired and gassed, but I found a way to win that one.”
In the championship, he faced Buford’s Nick Stonecheck, and he dominated from start to finish. Ford took a 4-0 lead after one period and continued to pull away throughout, putting away an 11-2 major decision to claim an individual title.
“I definitely had more energy going into that last match, and a more positive attitude,” Ford said. “It feels great (to win). It definitely feels great.”
And this isn’t the only tournament Ford is looking to make a strong return to this season.
“I just want to win everything I possibly can from here on out, especially since I’ll be going back to a lot of tournaments I didn’t do so hot at after not being able to wrestle in them last year,” Ford said. “Like the LCC Invitational, I definitely want to win that. And win state — that’s my biggest goal.”
Troy Christian’s Ethan Turner (120) advanced to the championship match with a pair of pins on the day. First, he pinned Ryle’s Rusty Craddock in 3:18 in the quarterfinals, then he pinned Miamisburg’s Cole McGuire in 4:15 to advance to the title match against Butler’s Logan Hoskins. There, he lost a heartbreaker, taking a 1-0 lead early in the third after two scoreless periods, only to get caught in a five-point move and fall 5-1, finishing as the runner-up.
Jacob Edwards (132) also reached the championship match, defeating Eaton’s Wade Monebrake with a 4-2 decision and then defeating Big Walnut’s Bailey Munday by a 6-4 decision to earn a shot at Walton-Verona’s Ryan Moore. Moore was able to go up in the second period, though, and scored a takedown to seal a 3-0 victory as Edwards placed second.
Troy Christian had two other wrestlers still competing for titles entering Thursday’s action, but both lost their quarterfinal matches. Damon Beatty (182) lost a 6-3 decision to Miamisburg’s Sebastian Beachler to drop to the consolation bracket. He wrestled back and placed sixth, falling 13-8 to Walton-Verona’s Braden Mulcahy in the final round. And Nick Baker (220) was pinned by Graham’s Gage Braun in 1:33 in the quarters to drop to the consolation bracket, where he finished eighth with a 10-4 loss against Springboro’s Kevin Johnson.
Covington’s Kellan Anderson (106) held on for a 3-1 victory over Buford’s Nick Cambria to start the day in the quarterfinals, then defeated Hilliard Bradley’s Deacon Sawchuk 9-3 in the semifinal round to advance to the championship match against Dublin Coffman’s James Baumann. There, though, Baumann took control and put away a 16-0 tech. fall as Anderson placed second.
Also for the Buccaneers, Cael Vanderhorst (113) lost in the quarterfinals in a 4-0 decision against Buford’s Logan Ashton to drop to the consolation bracket, where he ended up facing Princeton’s Josue Dawson and placed seventh after winning by a 6-0 decision.
“We have a really young team, so I’m proud of the guys and the way they battled,” Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst said. “We had one guy, Keringten Martin, battling a flu pretty hard — he’s only practiced one time in the past week and a half — that really wanted to compete here, and he put in a good performance considering.
“I’m real proud of Kellan and Cael, getting on the podium this year. Kellan had a great run to get to the finals. He was a little outmatched there, but I was real proud of him. They both got to see some excellent competition, which is why you come here. It’s a good measuring stick to see where you’re at and what you need to work on — and we’ve got a good list of things now.”
Troy, which had a pair of wrestlers still in the title hunt entering Thursday, ended up with none wrestling for titles. Joe Pascale (126) won his quarterfinal match 8-3 over Buford’s Kyle McCullough, but he lost 6-4 in the semis to Springboro’s Mason Kleinberg.
Pascale battled back through the consolation bracket, though, earning a shot at third place against Buford’s Kyle McCullough. Once there, Pascale jumped ahead early and held on for a 4-1 decision to claim third place.
And Shane Shoop (170) dropped his quarterfinal match to Springfield’s Jacob Yost, losing in overtime by pinfall in 6:27 to drop to the consolation bracket, then he was pinned by Springboro’s Jacob Stamcoff in 2:20 and was eliminated from contention.
“Our guys came in and wrestled well,” Troy coach Doug Curnes said. “A couple guys came in and won some matches. It’s hard to come down here and even get a win. It’s nice to have Joe place high, and overall, the guys we brought wrestled well, wrestled hard, scored some points and won some matches.
“There was a lot more positives here than disappointments, and even those were nothing we can’t fix.”
Milton-Union’s Peyton Brown (120) placed eighth, losing by a 5-4 decision to Dublin Coffman’s Davante Cooper in the final. Hunter Ross (195) placed eighth, losing by a 10-2 major decision against Ryle’s Cody Lonkard.
Troy Christian finished fourth as a team in the Division II-III standings with 110 points, with Covington finishing 13th with 48 points and Milton-Union 18th with 25 points. Graham won in D-II-III and won the overall tournament with 230.5 points, with Walton-Verona second with 127. In the D-I standings, Troy was 20th with 52 points, with Buford winning with 192 points and Dublin Coffman finishing second with 134.
MEDINA —After the first day of the Medina Invitational on Wednesday, Miami East sat in eighth place out of 44 teams with two Vikings still in the hunt for individual championships.
Graham Shore (120) went 3-0 on the day to remain in the hunt for a title, scoring a pin, a tech. fall and a major decision. And Alex Isbrandt (138) also went unbeaten in the tournament’s first day, going 4-0 with three pins.
Olivia Shore (106), Kaleb Nickels (126), Zane Strubler (145), Travis Ferguson (152) and Brendan Dalton (220) were all 2-1 on the day and remained alive in the consolation brackets, with Ferguson posting two pins and Olivia Shore a pin and a major decision.
(Editor’s note: Look for the final results of the Medina Invitational in Saturday’s Troy Daily News.)
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.