Butler High School wrestling coach Mark Peck knows the view from the top is nice, but can be fleeting.
The Aviators entered the Greater Western Ohio Conference tournament as the favorite and left as the top team, claiming six titles to win the event with 276.5 points.
“It is easier to get on top than stay on top,” Peck said. “You get everyone’s best shot, but it has been constant motivation. It has been good to have those expectations, I think.”
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This may be one of the last GWOC tournaments in the current configuration of 20 teams. Ten teams in the American Divisions of the conference announced earlier this week their intention to leave the conference and form their own conference.
“I love the make up of this tournament with all 20 teams because it is a tough tournament,” Peck said. “When you finish high on the podium here, you have beat some tough kids.”
Springboro won the National West, and finished second overall, with 176 points while Beavercreek was third overall, and National East champs, with 167.5. Trotwood-Madison won the American South with 47.
Butler recorded bonus points in every win on day one of the tournament, advancing 11 to the semifinals. The Aviators pulled away, winning eight semis, to enter the finals with a 86-point lead.
“I was nervous coming in,” Peck said. “So many things factor into things and everything worked out for us.”
Long road back: Centerville’s Drew Wiechers recorded a takedown as time expired in a 4-3 win over returning state placer Jordan Hardrick of Wayne to win the title at 152 pounds.
Wiechers dislocated his elbow during summer wrestling and his status for the season was unknown.
“I decided not to get a MRI,” Wiechers said. “I let it heal, went through PT (physical therapy) and trained extra hard and we will see what the situation is at the end.”
Wiechers trailed 3-2 with less than 10 seconds remaining, but finished off a takedown on the edge of the mat as time expired.
“It was a crazy moment,” Wiechers said. “I saw the coaches jumping around.
“I saw the bopper (towel person who lets the referee know when the clock goes to zeroes) come out and I knew I had to go right away.”
Statement win: Springboro’s Mason Kleinberg announced his drop to 120 in emphatic fashion.
Kleinberg, who had been 35-2 at 126, used a relentless, grinding leg attack to knock off Butler state qualifier Logan Hoskins 8-2 for the title.
“This is huge for me,” Kleinberg said. “He is one of the top kids in the district and the state and I wanted to see how I would do against him.
“I feel like I am wrestling a lot better (at 120). I had wrestled heavier kids and now I am wrestling kids that are smaller and you can tell the difference.”
Bell primed: For Beavercreek’s Gavin Bell, the GWOC was all about getting things fine tuned heading into the postseason.
The top seed at 138, Bell won all four matches by technical fall, including a 16-1 win over Fairmont’s Gavin Fogle in the finals.
“It is that time of the season that you start getting mentally prepared for it,” Bell said. “There are going to be some tough matches at district and state, but I like how I am performing right now and I hope it carries over to the postseason.”
Neussgen second: Beavercreek’s Kaleigh Neussgen became the first female to wrestle for a GWOC title after a 6-5 decision over second seeded Jordan Zigo of Trotwood in the semis.
Neussgen, the third seed, fell in the finals to Butler’s Matt Motter.
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