GMVWA Holiday Tourney a match for mostly area wrestlers

Chaminade Julienne’s Isaiah Wortham is on another collision course with Nick Moore of Graham. That figures. The underclassmen have been sizing each other up since both were youth wrestlers.

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“He’s beaten me three times but that’s counting junior high,” Wortham said during a break in Thursday’s Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament. “I haven’t really taken him deep (into a match) yet. I just get caught and it’s a pin.”

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Moore is top seeded at 132 pounds and Wortham a No. 2 seed. Both easily passed their championship second-round matches and barring upsets, will meet again in the championship.

Moore was one of 10 Graham wrestlers to sweep both first-day matches and advance to Friday’s championship quarterfinals.

The 48-team event resumes at 11 a.m. Friday at the Butler High School Student Activities Center. The championship matches are scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday.

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A month into the season, this annually is the first big meet for area teams to contend against each other deep into a two-day tourney.

A junior, Wortham is seeking his third berth in the Division II state tournament after placing eighth at 126 last season. Bettering that effort has fueled him this season. He also is counting on Moore, a sophomore, waiting for him at Columbus, too. Moore was a state runner-up at 126 last season.

“That fuels me a lot,” said Wortham, who excelled in the CJ peewee and the renowned independent Catalyst youth programs. “I know who’s in my weight class and what all the rankings are.”

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• Coach John Roth has quickly made Walton-Verona (Ky.) into a Bluegrass small-school state power since the program debuted in 2010 and he credits Ohio with a big-time assist.

Walton-Verona has placed runner-up in the combined Divisions II and III division at the holiday tourney the past two seasons and will do well to match that again behind Graham. This is one of four big Ohio invitationals Walton-Verona will travel to, including Harrison, Fairfield and Western Brown.

“We’ll spend 80 percent of our time across the (Ohio) River,” said Roth, who wrestled collegiately at Defiance University before that program was discontinued. “This is the reason we come here, to have our kids challenged. Our kids know this is the level they need to be at. It’s good for them.”

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High school wrestling is a tough sell in the Commonwealth because of the immense popularity in basketball. There were about 110 varsity Kentucky programs last season. Unlike Ohio’s three divisions, all Kentucky teams are bunched for the state championship.

• Gary Baumgartner is the numbers cruncher behind the popular That’s the website that produces many of Ohio’s major event results and statistics, including wrestling.

When he was a match teacher and assistant football coach at Middletown High School, Baumgartner dabbled in what was then the infancy of computer programming. He wrote his first program – for wrestling - in 1970.

“We started it so we wouldn’t have to type in names and call it in for sports writers,” said Baumgartner at his familiar mat-side position. “We figured if we can do a bracket, we can post results.”

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Every pairing and result of this event – as well as many others throughout the state this season - can be found on under the subject wrestling. It’s the same for track and field, cross country and golf, regular season and postseason.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association defaults to for those postseason results, including wrestling.

“They pretty well have confidence I know what I’m doing, finally,” said Baumgartner.

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There is no advertising on the site. Gary’s son, Toby, converted all the programing to a Windows-based rewrite five years ago.

“I enjoy seeing tournaments run the way they’re supposed to,” said Gary, who estimated he posts 12-13,000 events annually. “If they can keep moving with not too many delays and I can do my part, that’s our goal.”

• Just one top seed and one No. 2 seed failed to move into Friday’s championship quarterfinals. No. 1 seed Gage Kerrigan of Covington (195) defaulted to unseeded Jacob McCloskey of Delaware Hayes in the third round. Unseeded Centerville junior Alexander Taylor (126) stunned No. 2 seed Deacon Sawchuk of Hilliard Bradley 9-8 in the third round.

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