High School wrestling: Wayne senior eager for final trip to state

Wayne senior Austin Mulllins (left) won the 152-pound district title Saturday to qualify for state. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED
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Wayne senior Austin Mulllins (left) won the 152-pound district title Saturday to qualify for state. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

Austin Mullins won district title for Warriors on Saturday

KETTERING – A global pandemic cost Wayne High School senior Austin Mullins a trip to the state tournament in 2020. A knee injury before the start of football season nearly did the same this season.

Mullins had ACL surgery just four months ago after what he called a freak injury – someone fell backward and onto his knee – prior to the start of football season.

“I didn’t think I was going to come back at first,” Mullins said. “Something just came into my head and said you gotta wrestle, dude.”

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He did Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Mullins (8-0) won four straight matches, including a 3-2 decision against Lebanon junior Luke Marsh in the final of the 152-pound weight class.

“I’m hungry because last year I felt like I had a chance for the state finals,” Mullins said. “This year I’m more hungry. I want it really bad. I want to make it to the finals and wrestle Victor Voinovich one last time.”

Voinovich, a senior at Brecksville and Oklahoma State University recruit, won a state title as a freshman in 2018, finished third in 2019 and is projected to win state this season.

“State final is the goal,” said Mullins, who will do his college wrestling at Ohio University. “A state championship is what I’m setting out to do.”

Mullins finished seventh at state in 2018. Going in as a No. 1 seed helps his chances of getting to that title match.

“I’d say you have a little advantage, but then it puts a target on your back,” Mullins said. “Everyone is coming after you.”

Mullins was one of two district champions for Wayne. Sophomore Joshua Padilla won the 285-pound class. Sophomore Braxton Lawson finished second at 160.

The top four finishers in each weight class qualified for the state championships next Saturday and Sunday. The D-I tournament will be held at Hilliard Darby High School, the D-II tournament at Marengo Highland and D-III at Marion Harding.

Also at the D-I tournament, Centerville placed second in the team standings with 150.5 points. Cincinnati LaSalle won with 183. The Elks received individual district titles from Damion Ryan at 120 and Jonathan Bruder at 220. They qualified five wrestlers to state.

Stebbins senior Marvelous Rutledge won the 195-pound district title, which was the 100th win of his career.

Springboro advanced four to state, all with runner-up finishes. Butler (3), Lebanon (3), Beavercreek (2), Northmont (2) and Miamisburg (1) also advanced wrestlers.

In D-III at Troy, Legacy Christian won the district title behind five individual champs and seven state qualifiers. Freshman Eli Campbell (106), freshman Dillon Campbell (113), junior Camron Lacure (132), junior Gavin Brown (145) and junior Nick Alvarez all won titles for the Knights.

“It was great to see their hard work pay off,” Legacy coach Tim Begley said. “All the boys wrestled well. We lost two matches in the blood round by one point and both on the line at the buzzer. Those are the matches we will need to win next week. We have a good chance to win a state title.”

Miami East won a title with junior Max Shore (120) and qualified four to state. His brother Cooper Shore (113) and sister Olivia Shore (106) also advanced.

Versailles junior Brayden Keihl had the area’s only other individual title at 220. The Tigers qualified four overall to state.

Covington (4), Troy Christian (4) and Arcanum (1) also advanced wrestlers.

In D-II at Wilmington, Chaminade Julienne, Eaton, Trotwood-Madison and Waynesville qualified one wrestler each.

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