State Wrestling: Trio of individual champs propel Legacy Christian to Division III team title

Legacy Christian's Gavin Brown (top) during last week's district tournament. On Sunday, Brown won his second state title to help lead Legacy Christian to the Division III team title. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED
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Legacy Christian's Gavin Brown (top) during last week's district tournament. On Sunday, Brown won his second state title to help lead Legacy Christian to the Division III team title. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

MARION – The Legacy Christian Knights were favored to win the Division III OHSAA state wrestling team title. They didn’t stop there.

Legacy Christian punctuated the program’s first team state championship with three individual titles as well at Marion Harding High School, about an hour north of Columbus.

“It was really exciting. … Milan Edison gave us a real good run,” Legacy Christian coach Tim Begley said. “Taking seven guys instead of nine (to state) really put pressure on us. We had to perform. Man, they wrestled. … We were just flat out hot in the semis getting bonus points.”

The bonus points added up with four major decisions and a technical fall, as did Legacy’s three individual titles to Milan’s two. Legacy finished with 128 points to Edison’s 117.5. Edison qualified 11 wrestlers to state.

Freshman Dillon Campbell won the 113-pound weight class state title, junior Camron Lacure celebrated the 132-pound title and junior Gavin Brown won his second championship, this one at 145. Brown, an Ohio State University commit, also won state as a freshman.

The Knights also received valuable team points from fellow placers Eli Campbell, Logan Attisano and Nick Alvarez. Campbell, a freshman, finished second at 106. Attisano and Alvarez, both juniors, were fourth at 120 and 170, respectively.

The Knights celebrated their first team championship with pizza back at their hotel. The team set up camp in the hotel’s conference room where friends and family who couldn’t get tickets to the tournament watched on television.

Held at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in normal years, this year’s OHSAA tournament was split into three sites to adhere to COVID-19 precautions and social distance. D-I was held at Hilliard Darby High School. D-II was at Highland High School near Marengo, north of Columbus.

“It was really cool because it felt more intimate. The families where there,” Begley said. “The people who were there were involved in every match. In the Schott, if you get to the finals, people might be watching D-III or they might be watching D-I. It was a loud crowd because everyone was committed to every match.”

Legacy Christian returns all nine wrestlers next season for a chance to defend its state title … and more.

“Right now,” Begley said, “I’m looking at being on a five-year run on this thing.”

Miami East, which received a state title from junior Max Shore at 120, finished fourth as a team with 65 points.

The Vikings also received a runner-up finish at 113 pounds from sophomore Cooper Shore, a fifth-place finish from junior David Davis and sixth place from senior Olivia Shore.

Shore, the first female wrestler to place in the history of the OHSAA boys tournament, removed her shoes after her match and left them in the circle – as wrestling tradition goes – to announce her retirement from competing in boys events. Next season she’ll wrestle for Tiffin University’s women’s program.

Among other D-III highlights, Covington senior Cael Vanderhorst finished fourth (138), freshman teammate Michael Hagan finished eighth at 106 and senior Kellan Anderson eighth at 126.

Versailles junior Carson Bey was fifth at 160 and Troy Christian sophomore Connor Havill was seventh at the same weight. Versailles junior Brayden Keihl was sixth at 220 and Coldwater junior Caleb Stammen was eighth at 195

In the D-I tournament at Hilliard Darby High School, Stebbins senior Marvelous Rutledge posted the area’s best finish with third at 195.

“Not bad at all, but not what I wanted. I’m not satisfied but I’m okay with it,” Rutledge said. “It was a great experience. I had fun. All thanks to my coaches, my dad and my family.”

Wayne senior Austin Mullins was fourth at 152.

Centerville had a pair of state placers with junior Damion Ryan taking fifth at 120 and junior Luke Acuna finishing eighth at 126.

“It wasn’t the way we wanted to finish, but we should be pretty good next year,” Ryan said.

“It was a really long season. I think I weathered it pretty well. I think we all did. Hopefully it’ll be a normal year next year and we’ll all do better.”

Lebanon sophomore Jack McCall finished sixth at 120, Springboro sophomore Conner Kleinberg was eighth at 132 and Wayne sophomore Joshua Padilla was eighth at 285.

In the D-II tournament at Highland High School, Chaminade Julienne senior David Frederick finished third at 170. The Graham Falcons won their 20th straight team championship behind three individual titles, giving the program 99 overall.