WILMINGTON — The Miami Trace Panthers wrestling team sent seven competitors to the Division II District tournament at Wilmington High School over the past weekend.
Two Panthers made it through the arduous District meet and will be making their first appearance at the State meet beginning Thursday.
Sophomore Coby Hughes made it to the District finals, where he lost in the championship match to Mitch Moore of Graham Local, by a 26-10 technical fall.
Junior Jared Fenner made it through to the match for third and fourth place at 195 pounds.
Fenner lost a close match to Jacob Altman of Western Brown, 5-4.
Division II wrestling begins Thursday at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University at 4:10 p.m.
“It’s the first time going to State for both of them,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “I’m really proud of those guys.
“I’m really proud of the other five guys, as well,” Fondale said. “They worked hard all year, but, sometimes, you just come up a little short.
“The bad news is, we’re losing two seniors,” Fondale said of Matthew Hottinger and Austin Lovett. But, we have a lot of kids coming back. We’ll have five District qualifiers and two State qualifiers back next season. We should be pretty strong next year.”
Fondale spoke about the upcoming trip to State for Hughes and Fenner.
“It’s how they handle that first match,” Fondale said. “All kids handle it differently. Some kids, it doesn’t effect them. Some kids get real nervous because there are so many people.
“However, the pressure to make it to State is off,” Fondale said. “If we wrestle well, both of these kids can place. But, there are no easy matches up there.”
Hughes began the District competition with a pin of Larry Chatman of Thurgood Marshall in 1:22.
In the quarterfinals, Hughes recorded a 9-6 decision over Coleman Manning of Eaton.
In the semifinals, Hughes posted a 13-1 major decision win over Tanner Donathan of Western Brown.
Hughes enters the State tournament with a record of 44-5.
His first opponent at the State tournament will be senior Charlie Nash of Norwalk, who has a record of 40-6 on the season.
Fenner began the District tournament with a 14-3 major decision win over Tony Petrosino of Alter.
In the quarterfinals, Fenner lost to Jacob Altman of Western Brown, 6-4.
In the second consolation round, Fenner pinned Nick Rose of Badin in 2:08.
In the third consolation round, Fenner posted a major decision win over R.J. Tolliver of Wilmington, 10-2.
In the consolation semifinals, Fenner beat Cam Redman of Circleville, 5-3.
That set up a rematch with Altman who won the above-mentioned 5-4 decision, placing Fenner fourth at the District.
Fenner, now 40-10 on the season, will face junior Zach Baker (45-5) of Marengo Highland in the opening round of the State tournament Thursday.
Sophomore Colin Wolffe competed for the Panthers at 285.
Wolffe lost a 4-1 decision in the first round of the District meet to Trent Wilson of Valley View.
Wilson would later suffer an injury in the match for fifth place and had to be taken across the street to the Clinton Memorial Hospital.
In the first consolation round, Wolffe pinned Michael Patterson of Fenwick in :56.
In the second consolation round, Wolffe was pinned by Jason Schmeig of Reading in 1:55.
Wolffe finished the season with a record of 20-12.
Senior Matthew Hottinger competed at the District at 182 pounds.
He lost his first match of the tournament to Gage Braun of Graham Local, 8-1.
In the first consolation round, Hottinger posted a 9-2 win over Austin Hamblin of Ross.
In the second consolation round, Hottinger defeated Zach Palmer of Indian Lake, 5-0.
In the third consolation round, Hottinger lost to senior Mason McCane of Washington by an 11-3 major decision.
Hottinger finished his senior season with a record of 36-16.
Miami Trace sophomore Gavin Moore competed at 132 pounds at the District.
In his first match of the tournament, Moore lost to Brandon Weaver of Eaton, 6-2.
In the first consolation round, Moore won a 9-2 decision against Jacob Haggerty of Western Brown.
In the second consolation round, Moore notched a 13-3 major decision against Ezra Lee of Urbana.
In the third round of consolation matches, Moore was pinned by Zane Nelson of Washington in 4:39.
Moore finishes the season with a record of 34-14.
Junior Drake Litteral competed at 145 pounds for the Panthers.
Litteral lost in the first round to Jordan Cahall of Batavia by pin in 1:31.
Litteral was pinned in the first consolation round by Chance Daisy of Indian Lake in 1:41.
Litteral ended the season with a record of 36-12.
Senior Austin Lovett competed at 152 pounds for Miami Trace.
He began the District with a pin of Mason Straker of Benjamin Logan in :42.
In the quarterfinals, Lovett lost to Jack Perua of Tippecanoe, 13-6.
In the second round of consolation matches, Lovett pinned Trey Atwood of Goshen in 2:52.
Lovett lost in the third consolation round, 6-3 to Ethan Fessler of Fenwick.
Lovett finished the season with a record of 37-9.
Miami Trace placed 11th out of 49 schools represented at the District with 52 team points.
Graham Local, with eight District champions, three runners-up and two others placing third, ran away with the team championship with 329 points to 119.5 for second place Western Brown.
Ross was third with 115 points.
Circleville was sixth with 67.5 points.
Washington was 10th with 55.5 points.
Clinton-Massie was 13th with 48 points; Wilmington was 20th with 30 points; Hillsboro was tied for 26th with 21 points and McClain tied with Unioto for 28th place with 16 points.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1