TROY — With a dominant performance Saturday at the Division III district wrestling meet, Wyatt Riddle made more East Clinton wrestling history.
A week after becoming the first Astro to qualify for districts, he became the first EC wrestler to qualify for the state wrestling meet by easily winning the 106-pound weight class.
He will be joined in the Division III state wrestling meet by Blanchester’s Clayton Schirmer, who finished second at 152 pounds Saturday at Hobart Arena.
It will be a return trip for Riddle after placing second last year wrestling for Xenia’s Legacy Christian Academy.
Riddle had an impressive run against some impressive competition. He allowed just one point in four bouts, winning by a combined score of 49-1.
“He stepped it up big time,” EC head coach Doug Stehlin said. “He went out there, wrestled tough, put points up on the board and was very aggressive. He had that mentality that he was going to try to give up as few a points as possible.
“You could tell watching him. Not only did he want to win, but he wanted to dominate.”
In the semifinal bout, Riddle faced Miami East’s Olivia Shore, who has built quite a resume early in her career. Last summer she won the 100-pound women’s freestyle finals at the 2017 USA Wrestling Cadet Nationals.
“She’s been making a name for herself,” Stehlin said. “She’s really stepped up at the high school level. He was able to take it to her to make it to the finals for first.”
The challenge didn’t faze Riddle. He defeated Shore 10-0 to punch his return ticket to state. He would beat Kellan Anderson of Covington 9-0 in the final to clinch his first district title.
For Schirmer, the road to the state tournament would not be easy. He would have to dispatch a strong freshman from Legacy Christian and two sectional champions to advance to the 152-pound final.
He started with a 9-6 victory over Dillon Walker, who had just four matches this season entering the district tournament due to injury. Nicely knew they couldn’t take him lightly.
“He was projected I think sixth in the state,” Nicely said. “He was projected runner-up in our district. I knew he had a knee injury. (Schirmer) kind of wore himself out because I could tell the kid was strong. He came off the mat and said, ‘Coach, that kid was strong!’
“He said, ‘I’ve wrestled kids that were strong, but not kids that were strong and really good technically.’ That kid was both.”
He followed that victory with a 9-5 win over Travis Ferguson of Miami East. In the semifinal, he would face Josh Fink of Coldwater, who Nicely and his coaches had noted was wrestling well on top.
“We were undecided going into the match if we were going to take down (position),” Nicely said. “Clayton said, ‘I think I can get away.’ I said, ‘I think you can too, but…’ As soon as it was our choice, I looked at him and said, ‘We’re on our feet.’ He took over from there.”
Schirmer defeated Fink 6-2 to earn a spot in the state tournament. It also earned him a rematch with Bethel-Tate’s Matt Hall.
Hall would get the best of his rival Schirmer 7-1 in the district final match.
Also placing on Saturday was East Clinton’s John Cline, who finished sixth at 152 pounds.
Riddle and Schirmer will compete in the Division III state wrestling meet beginning Thursday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on Ohio State’s campus. The Division III first-round bouts are scheduled to open the state tournament weekend at 3 p.m. Thursday.
OHSAA Division III District Wrestling at Troy
106: Wyatt Riddle dec. Teagan Hendricks (Greeneview) 15-1; tech falled Gabe Sutton (Wayne Trace) 15-0; dec. Olivia Shore (Miami East) 10-0; dec. Kellan Anderson (Covington) 9-0. Finished first.
113: Brayden Esposito was pinned by Trevor Huber (Versailles) 5:21; dec. Garrett Kowalak (Miami East) 8-7; was dec. by Zack Gutknecht (Bethel-Tate) 12-2. Did not place.
152: John Cline pinned Dylan Burns (Arcanum) 3:43; was dec. by Josh Fink (Coldwater) 15-1; pinned Paul Brown (Milton-Union) 1:16; dec. Travis Ferguson (Miami East) 4-3; was tech falled by Keringten Martin (Covington) 16-0; was dec. by Josh Fink (Coldwater) 10-6. Finished sixth.
132: Johnny Schirmer was dec. by Justin Sigler (Coldwater) 3-0; pinned Cole Mergler (Miami East) 0:34; was dec. by Dustin Robins (Reading) 5-4. Did not place.
145: Gage Huston was pinned by Dylan Schenck (Milton-Union) 1:12; dec. Reece Thomas (Coldwater) 10-2; was tech falled by Brent Siefker (Ottawa-Glandorf) 19-4. Did not place.
152: Clayton Schirmer dec. Dillon Walker (Legacy Christian) 9-6; dec. Travis Ferguson (Miami East) 9-5; dec. Josh Fink (Coldwater) 6-2; was dec. by Matt Hall (Bethel-Tate) 7-1. Finished second.
170: Ramiro Torres was pinned by Craig Montgomery (Troy Christian) 5:22; was dec. by Chase Martin (Delphos St. John’s) 8-7. Did not place.
182: Steven Latchford was dec. by Justin Wieging (Delphos St. John’s) 4-3; dec. Ernie Bray (Carlisle) 2-1; was dec. by Matthew Moore (Waynesville) 10-9. Did not place.
195: Christian Stubbs was pinned by Isaac Grilliot (Versailles) 4:00; was pinned by Chase Dyer (Brookville) 1:43. Did not place.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.