‘Cats, ‘Cane, Falcons begin quest for state title


By Mark Huber - mhuber@wnewsj.com



Blanchester’s Gage Berwanger and Clinton-Massie’s Blake Seaman in the top photo and Wilmington’s Lee Lynch and East Clinton’s Gavin Denniston in the bottom photo.

Blanchester’s Gage Berwanger and Clinton-Massie’s Blake Seaman in the top photo and Wilmington’s Lee Lynch and East Clinton’s Gavin Denniston in the bottom photo.


News Journal File Photos

Blanchester wrestling coach Scott Nicely is not a fan of being the No. 1 seed at Saturday’s Div. III Region 23 Team Duals tournament.

“There are some good team coming down here,” said Nicely, a long-time coach at BHS who has the Wildcats with a 16-1 dual record this season. “It’s going to be interesting. We’re really going to have to wrestle (well).”

Blanchester will host the Region 23 tournament that is set to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Div. II Region 14 tournament will be held at Miami Trace High School, where Wilmington and Clinton-Massie will compete.

The tournament winner among all regional tournaments in Ohio will advance to the State Team Duals tournament Feb. 10 at Ohio State University’s St. John Arena.

East Clinton will no be competing in the State Duals.

At BHS, the Wildcats will have to get past No. 2 seed Greenon and No. 3 seed Brookville.

“Greenon has like four or five (state) ranked kids,” Nicely said.

Brookville has the revenge factor on its side. Last season, Blanchester and Brookville wrestled to a tie in the regional semifinal round and the Wildcats emerged victorious based on the sixth criteria.

“They didn’t lose anybody,” said Nicely.

Nicely admits his Wildcats, like many teams, are “a little beat up right now.” Depth has allowed Blanchester to be competitive, Nicely said.

At Clinton-Massie, Spencer Running’s Falcons are the No. 8 seed in Region 14. With a win over Versailles in the opening round, the Falcons would face No. 1 seed and former South Central Ohio League rival Miami Trace in the quarterfinals.

“It’s a solid region,” Running said. “There’s a lot of well-rounded teams. We’re in a good position to have some really good matches and have the potential to go a little deeper. I’m excited about wrestling in this region.”

Massie will enter the regional off Thursday’s dual with Western Brown

“We’ve been making a lot of adjustments to our lineup, trying to get our guys going in the right direction,” Running said.

Wilmington lands at the No. 11 seed in the Region 14 tournament. The Hurricane faces Jackson in the opening round.

“They have a good coaching staff,” WHS coach Kelly Tolliver said. “Their lineup this year is fairly solid. There’s a real good chance we don’t come out on top in that one. It’ll be a nailbiter.”

Tolliver laments the three weight classes his squad will have to forfeit, putting the Hurricane in an 18-0 hole before the match even starts.

“It’s rare to see a school with a full lineup,” he said.

Tolliver said WHS is “just coming back and getting healthy from injuries.”

The format for the State Duals has changed, with the regional portion of the event all in one day, rather than two days over two weeks. Tolliver said with weather and league tournaments approaching, the state decided it was easier for postponements to be dealt with if the regional was on a single day.

Blanchester’s Gage Berwanger and Clinton-Massie’s Blake Seaman in the top photo and Wilmington’s Lee Lynch and East Clinton’s Gavin Denniston in the bottom photo.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/01/web1_WR_stateduals.jpgBlanchester’s Gage Berwanger and Clinton-Massie’s Blake Seaman in the top photo and Wilmington’s Lee Lynch and East Clinton’s Gavin Denniston in the bottom photo. News Journal File Photos

By Mark Huber

mhuber@wnewsj.com

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email mhuber@wnewsj.com or on Twitter @wnjsports

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email mhuber@wnewsj.com or on Twitter @wnjsports