Northridge’s “dream team” continued to live up to its expectations Saturday.
Senior Thomas Williams successfully defended his district championship, sophomore Jake Adkins also won a title and junior Rob Mickey reached the state as well, as the Vikings finished as Division III district runnersup at Philo. Amanda-Clearcreek scored 1471/2 points and sent eight to the state, and Northridge was second out of the 54 teams that scored with 911/2. Newark Catholic finished 11th with 57 points.
“We had 10 here and got three out for the state, and Rob was sick last year,” said Williams, whose Vikings also reached the state semifinals in the team duals. “It’s been a great season.”
“We’ve been together for quite a while and we were waiting for this year. We had the most kids out and the best kids out,” Adkins said.
Seven local wrestlers in all are headed to the Schottenstein Center on Thursday, including district champion Caleb Ohl of Newark Catholic, runner-up Gunner Loughman from Heath and third-place finishers Mickey, NC’s D.J. DeVito and Johnstown’s Clayton Bullard.
Williams (56-3), who has 214 career wins and three consecutive sectional titles, won a 2-1 thriller against Shadyside’s Ian Baker at 145 as he made a second-period reversal stand up. He had two pins en route to the finals.
“I beat him 4-3 in the semifinals last year, and we always have close matches,” he said. “The coaches told me that if I see him, to just be patient. I would rather be on my feet, and the whole match was on the mat, but that’s OK. You just have to wrestle your match and not the other guy’s.”
Adkins (49-4) dispatched Martins Ferry’s Theodore Zoumpolidis 6-0 in the 106-pound final, earning a return trip to Columbus.
“I was fourth in the district last year, and it’s always good to go into the state as a higher seed,” he said. “I wanted to take control of the match and not give him any holes to score on.
“I put in a lot of extra time in the practice room and did a lot of extra running on my own.”
Mickey (43-8) lost 6-0 in the semifinals to eventual champion Chase Kindemond, of Shadyside, but bounced back to earn the state with a 1-0 decision against Madison Plains’ Jake Datz. He then defeated Amanda-Clearcreek’s Steven Fearrow 5-3 for third place.
He scored the only point of the deciding match on a second-period escape.
“I’ve had a lot of close matches — 3-2, 2-1, 1-0,” Mickey said. “I’m in good shape with a lot of hard work. A lot of people doubted me because I was out last year with mono.”
Ohl (34-3), a junior, got back to the state in style, overpowering Monroe Central’s Rodney Richter 18-10 in the 113 final.
“My defense was strong, my offense was good and I kept my pace the whole time and didn’t let up,” he said. “I wrestled very well today after not so well yesterday, and I got the job done.
“I accomplished two goals today, making it to the state and winning the district. Now it’s time to take a step up at the next level.”
DeVito (32-7), who got a late start to the season because of a football injury, had to battle his way through the 120-pound consolation bracket after losing 10-6 to Amanda-Clearcreek’s Billy Shannon in the second round. He also had to rally from a late 6-3 deficit to Barnesville’s Hobie Howiler to win 8-6 before scoring a 13-1 major decison against Steubenville Catholic Central’s Blake Kiedrowski to again reach the state, then got revenge with a 9-7 overtime win against Shannon for third place.
“There’s a big difference between finishing third and finishing fourth,” coach Jason Boucher said.
“I didn’t want to have to do it this way, but coach Boucher did it when he was in high school, so I always knew it was possible,” DeVito said. “It was a tough bracket early on, but I’m happy to be there and to prove to myself that I could it. I know that I have at least two matches left in my career, and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Loughman (44-6) — a senior — and Bullard (52-3) — a junior — actually squared off in the second round at 195, with Loughman pulling away late from a 7-7 tie for a 13-7 win. He lost 6-3 in the final to Northmor’s Tyler Beck, but still earned his first state berth.
“He really took it on himself to get stronger,” coach Roger Morgan said. “He’s not flashy; he’s nuts and bolts. He comes in and hits his one or two moves. I’ve tried to stress it to our other guys.”
Bullard came back to take third and get his first state berth, scoring three pins and a technical fall in the consolation round. He pinned Belpre’s Jamie Barrett in 2:42 in the deciding match and Columbus Academy’s Dan Jones in 45 seconds for third place.
“I messed up at the beginning (against Loughman); it should have gone to overtime,” Bullard said. “I was pretty upset and had to fight my way through it. I was not going to mess this opportunity up. Other than Gunner’s match, I’m wrestling my best.”
Newark Catholic’s Evan Hansel (138), Northridge’s Shane Mulligan (132) and Heath’s Isaiah Young (106) all lost their state-qualifying matches. Hansel and Mulligan placed fifth and Young was sixth.