VANDALIA — Led by Carson Hibbs, five Wilmington High School wrestlers finished in the top eight of their respective weight classes Wednesday at the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday tournament at Butler’s Student Activity Center.
As a team, Wilmington was 27th with 63 points, finishing in a tie with Delaware Hayes. Graham was an easy winner of the tournament with 283.5 points. Springboro was runnerup with 216 points.
“This was the largest field of teams I have seen at the GMVWA in my tenure as a coach,” WHS coach Kelly Tolliver said. “Very good competition in every weight class. This tournament is always a great check to see where we are leading into January. We expected to have some very tough matches but did not pull through in situations we, as a staff, feel we should have.
“Our mistakes aside, which we can fix, it’s all about being able to recover after your matches and hit the ground running and focused on the next. Now we hit the ‘practice room’ and put in the work as we head to Bellbrook on Jan. 7.”
Hibbs was fifth at 138 pounds and became the first Hurricane wrestler to place in the top eight three times at the tournament. Hibbs decisioned Sam Mizukawa of Anderson 4-3 in the fifth place match. He earned an 8th place finish as a freshman and was sixth as a junior.
“He is not where he wants to be but sees where he can improve and make adjustments on his takedown game,” said Tolliver. “He is consistent and as long as he stays focused, Carson is going to be successful.”
Thane McCoy was fifth at 144 pounds. He decisioned Vince Giordano of Big Walnut 9-3 in the fifth place match.
“Thane just has to make a few small changes and I think next time we win a few more of those matches,” the WHS coach said.
Paul McKnight was seventh at 215 pounds, posting a 3-1 win over Colton Hultgren of Milton-Union in the seventh place match.
“He had to miss some the end of the season last year due to injury and this has given him some motivations to take it to the next level this year,” said Tolliver. ”I think Paul is on track and we were happy with his performance on his feet and on the ground.”
At 165 pounds, Thad Stuckey was eighth, losing to Brandon Burchett of Fairfield by disqualification. At 190 pounds, Josh Snell was eighth, falling to Jace Knous of Wapakoneta 11-7.
“We were very happy with Josh Snell and his performance,” said Tolliver. “He does not have some of the mat time his teammates do, but hard work and perseverance have brought him quickly up-to-speed and he is seeing dividends. Josh has really improved on his feet and continues to work on his ground game.”