James Davis of West Carrollton didn’t shock the high school wrestling world when he won an individual title during Saturday’s Greater Western Ohio Conference tournament at Trent Arena, but it sure felt like it.
“I still don’t believe it,” gushed Davis after a 10-9 decision of Northmont’s Hunter Terrill to capture the 132-pound championship. “This means a lot, especially since I can do it for my school.”
A promising sophomore, Davis (17-4) became the first Pirate to win a GWOC wrestling title since West Carrollton joined the 18-team mega-conference in 2010. At West Carrollton, that’s worth celebrating.
Many schools suffer down cycles in their athletic programs, but West Carrollton has been hard hit in most sports at the same time. Anchored in the GWOC South Division, West Carrollton’s fall sports teams – football, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls golf, girls volleyball and girls tennis teams – combined for 24 wins and none posted winning records.
The Pirates’ boys basketball team has won two games; its girls none. Ironically, the high school is visually the most high profile in the area. Its campus and sprawling athletic facilities can be prominently seen from Interstate 75 just south of downtown Dayton.
Davis amassed most of West Carrollton’s 34.5 points during the GWOC meet, but that didn’t prevent the Pirates from finishing last. Isaih MacDonald was the program’s only other placer, finishing sixth at 195.
“Where I come from we have a strong tradition of wrestling and that’s what I wanted to bring to West Carrollton,” said Pirates third-year coach Tommy Connelly, a Cleveland-area Lake Catholic grad. “A lot of my guys have obstacles that are out of their control, but we train hard every day and they’re starting to reap those rewards.”
Connelly said all four of Davis’ losses “have been to state-caliber kids. He’s improving and getting better every day and that’s all I can ask of my guys.”
This fall West Carrollton will join Fairborn, Stebbins, Trotwood-Madison and Xenia in the realigned GWOC South. That will coincide with the addition of Stebbins and Tippecanoe (GWOC North), both of which will move from the Central Buckeye Conference to expand the GWOC to 20 teams.
• Coldwater senior wrestlers Jay Uhlenhake (126) and Spencer Seibert (145) each recently surpassed 150 career wins. Uhlenhake has a slight edge over Siebert as the Cavaliers’ career record holder, but that could change over the next month.
Coldwater was defeated by Mechanicsburg 43-19 in the D-III, Region 24 state wrestling duals.
• Carroll grad and former Dayton Christian volunteer assistant Mark DiSalvo has been named the head wrestling coach at Thomas More College (Ky.). The Saints will make their program debut in the 2016-17 season.
DiSalvo wrestled collegiately at Central Michigan University and also was an assistant coach at CMU and Cornell. He runs the DiSalvo Wrestling School in Waynesville.