UNION TWP. – There’s no place like the home mat.
In one of the more dominating performances ever displayed in the aging “Trojan Dome,” Glen Este High School won the Eastern Cincinnati Conference title by more than 180 points against defending champ Loveland Feb. 14.
Coach Chris Redmond sent 12 wrestlers to the scorer’s table and 11 of them walked away as league champions. In a tightly-contested 145-pound bracket, senior Owen Reeves finished as runner-up.
Overall, there was one losing match, 35 pins, one tech fall, three majority decisions and a pair of medical defaults. Redmond took Coach of the Year honors and senior Gage Branson, the 126-pound champion, was Wrestler of the Year.
“I’ve never been a part of something that dominant before,” Redmond said. “I’m very surprised at how well they did.”
Prior to Redmond taking over as high school head coach, Glen Este had won the 2013 title by a wafer-thin margin over Loveland. It was a controversial decision as there was a dispute over how points were calculated. Last year, Loveland won with a veteran team featuring several state qualifiers and a state champion.
This winter, Redmond wanted the hardware back in no uncertain terms.
“I wanted everybody to realize who the league champs were,” Redmond said. “To go out and win it, wasn’t the goal; it was to totally dominate. Never in a million years would I think they’d when every match but one.”
Much like they did in an early dual with Moeller, Glen Este won despite forfeiting some weight classes. One that was not forfeited was at 285, where junior heavyweight Seth Crissman has returned.
“He was injured in football and didn’t get cleared until a few weeks ago,” Redmond said. “He’s had a lot of looks in football from DI schools. He’s a monster.”
At less than half of Crissman’s weight is the team’s most consistent wrestler, Branson. A state qualifier at 113 pounds a year ago, the senior has been wrestling at 126 pounds. He had just one loss at presstime, to Moeller’s Conner Ziegler.
The pair are set up to meet in the upcoming sectional at Lebanon.
In between the ECC matches and the sectional, it’s been a long lay-off for many schools as the state wrestling tournament’s been pushed back a couple of weeks this season. Redmond has granted his Trojans periodic days off while also trying to keep their competitive juices flowing.
In addition to Branson, Glen Este’s other seniors are Jason Belcher, Evan Gottis, Matt Kennedy, Kyle Kushner and Owen Reeves. Belcher was the 160-pound ECC champion, with Gottis winning 138 and Kennedy 182. The other Trojan league champs were juniors Oscar Santana at 106, Brandon Hertel at 113, Angel Santana at 120, Brandon Smith at 132, Matt Stone at 220 and Crissman at 285.
“I coached nearly every single one of them in middle school,” Redmond said .
In his second year as Glen Este varsity head coach, he’ll lead the Trojans to the Division I sectional on Feb. 27.