Two years ago, Chaminade Julienne’s wrestling program contained six competitors and did not even participate in the Ohio High School Athletic Association state team tournament.
Wednesday night, the Eagles hosted the Division II, Region 15 finals.
“I am proud of where we are, but we still have goals,” CJ coach Larry Dryden said after the Eagles fell 41-22 to Ross. “Two years ago, we had six kids and now I think we have one of the best teams in the area.”
The Eagles had to rally to advance to the finals, falling in an early 9-0 hole to Valley View before seizing a 41-30 win.
CJ could never get on a roll against Ross, which won the first three weight classes before Isaiah Wortham claimed a 12-2 win at 126 to get the hosts on the board.
CJ pulled within 22-17 on a decision by Micah Marshall (152) and a technical fall by freshman David Frederick, but Ross clinched the win with a pin at 195.
“I thought it would come down to 285 and they got wins where we thought they would, but when you lose you can’t give up the pin or bonus points,” Dryden said. “We’ve been riding a cloud for awhile and this will motivate them to improve on their mistakes and get better.”
Elsewhere in Division II, Northwestern, making its first appearance in the regional semis, dropped a 41-30 decision to Miami Trace at Northwestern High School.
Northwestern gave up two forfeits in the upper weight classes to allow Miami Trace to seal the win.
Northwestern trailed 19-6 but rallied to cut the deficit to 19-18 on a pin by Evan Hager at 145 before Miami Trace won five of the final seven matches.
Urbana, also a first-time semifinalist, gave up 24 points in forfeits in a 45-28 loss to Wapakoneta at Northwestern. The Hillclimbers and Wapakoneta split the eight matches wrestled.
Division I: Another year, another trip to state for Graham.
The Falcons, the top-ranked Division II team in the area, bumped up to D-I for the team tournament and cruised in the Region 6 finals, taking a 72-3 win over Teays Valley. Graham led 72-0 before losing the final match.
Graham opened the night with a 59-15 win over Butler, the top-ranked D-I team in the area.
Logan Hoskins (120), Ronnie Pietro (132) and Jansen Love (182) claimed the lone wins for the Aviators.
After dispatching Beavercreek 35-25 in the Region 7 semis, Springboro fell just short against returning regional champ Mason, 45-24.
Jacob Kowalski’s pin at 195 put Springboro up 13 with two matches remaining against the Beavers.
Springboro claimed bonus points in five of its six wins against Mason, but the Comets got bonus points in six of their eight wins.
Division III: In a battle between the area’s top two small schools, Versailles took advantage of two forfeits in a 39-30 win over Miami East in the Region 24 finals.
The Tigers trailed 30-24 heading into the final three weights but recorded two forfeits and a decision to get the win.
Versailles led 18-3 after 126, but Graham Shore, Alex Isbrandt and Zane Strubler all recorded pins as part of a 24-0 Miami East run to take a 27-18 lead.
East led 30-24 when Versailles picked up a forfeit at 195, got a 2-0 win by Gage DeHart at 220 and won by forfeit at 285 to close the match and advance to state.
Versailles opened the night with a 47-21 win over Covington while Miami East beat Indian Lake 48-33.
Brookville dropped a heartbreaker in the Region 23 semis, losing on tiebreak to Blanchester after rallying from a 36-12 hole.
Brookville won the final four matches to tie at 36-36, but lost 37-36 on tiebreak criteria.