BY YANEEK SMITH | MIRROR SPORTS — The Anthony Wayne wrestling team finished fifth at a Division I sectional tournament last weekend, coming in with 119 points.
Perrysburg won with 265 points and Clay, the host school, finished second with 254. Whitmer was third with 179 points, followed by Findlay (148) and AW. A total of 13 schools competed at the event.
Zack Snyder had the best showing for the Generals, winning the 138-pound weight class. Dawson Frederick (152) was second in his weight class, and Brody Stultz (170) and Wendell Stewart (220) both finished fourth – good enough to qualify for districts.
AW had six wrestlers just miss out on making it out of sectionals. Kaedyn McAllister (126), Bryce Gilts (145) and Jackson Kaiser (285) all finished fifth while Brayden Biedermann (106), Hunter Layson (113) and Harrison Short (182) each came in sixth.
“After the seeding meeting on Thursday night, I thought we could qualify four to six kids for the district tournament. We were on the low side of that, but overall, I thought our kids competed,” said AW coach Ryan Donley.
Snyder had a bye and then pinned Bowsher’s David Hershey in 2:33 in the quarterfinals. He followed that up with two close victories, defeating Perrysburg’s Wynton Denkins, 3-2, and Whitmer’s Jason Cascadden in the finals, 5-2, to notch his 36th victory of the season.
“Zack Snyder had a great weekend and came out a sectional champion,” Donley said. “He defeated two wrestlers that he had previously lost to earlier in the year, which was nice to see. This was Zack’s first tournament win in his high school career and it came at a great time.”
Frederick, meanwhile, pinned Start’s Taden Williams in just 36 seconds before defeating Clay’s Game Walentowski, 10-7, in the semifinals. In the finals, Frederick lost by fall in 3:11 to Perrysburg’s Alex Garee.
“Dawson Frederick is a young man who continues to impress me. He is up a weight class but doesn’t let that bother him. He works hard, is very coachable and maintains a great attitude,” Donley said. “Putting those things together usually translates to success and Dawson is realizing that success when it matters most.”
Stultz had a bye and beat Bowsher’s John Black, 12-6, in the quarterfinals. He then lost to Northview’s Andrew Liber, 13-7, in the semifinals, but rebounded to defeat St. Francis’ Julian Howard, 11-3. He lost in the third-place match to Perrysburg’s Shandi Anz, 21-10.
“Brody Stultz has battled knee injuries all season and he continues to grind things out,” Donley said. “He won a hard-fought match against the St. Francis boy to qualify for his second consecutive district tournament.
“Brody gives maximum effort in every match, which makes him exciting to watch. I’m happy he will be getting another opportunity this weekend.”
Stewart received a bye and pinned Bowsher’s Kyro Cameron in 5:25 before losing by fall in 1:11 to Clay’s Jake Meek. He rebounded to pin Northview’s Moeen Awwad in 2:24, but lost by fall to Perrysburg’s Sam Sawaya in 1:21 in the third-place match.
“Wendell Stewart missed all of last year with a knee injury,” Donley said. “I’m very happy with the way he has bounced back and continues to improve.
“He is another one of our kids that you never question their effort. Wendell has had a great senior year and we are looking forward to another weekend of being in his corner.”
Short just missed out on qualifying for districts, finishing sixth. He won his first match easily, defeating Start’s Daniel Claytor, 16-1, in the first round. He lost by fall in 1:29 to Bowsher’s Jamon Johnson and, after receiving a bye in the consolation bracket, pinned Lima Senior’s Davion Browning in 4:58.
In the match to qualify for districts, Short lost, 2-1, to Clay’s Logan Werner. He then fell to Whitmer’s Cameron Piercy, 6-4, in the fifth-place match.
“Harry is a small 182-pounder – he’s actually been as low as 160 this season. That is a lot of weight to give up, but Harrison never complained,” Donley said. “I don’t think his record is what he would’ve hoped for at the start of the year, but Harrison is a kid who has been in our lineup for four years and he will be missed.”
McAllister lost his first match and was pinned by Clay’s Austin Thompson in 3:40. He rebounded to defeat Whitmer’s Hayden Chase by fall in 2:58 and then lost to Findlay’s Jimmy Phadphom by fall in 2:10. McAllister then beat Southview’s Jake Schmidt, 15-0, in the fifth-place match.
“He had a tough opening match against the Clay kid but battled back to secure placement,” Donley said. “Kaedyn will continue to get better and he will be a leader on our team the next couple of years.”
Gilts won two matches and lost two. He opened by defeating Bowsher’s Dylan Hershey, 12-0, but lost by fall in 3:32 to Perrysburg’s Blake Saito. He lost again by fall in 3:51 to Lima Senior’s Aaron Bowsher and defeated Hershey, 8-3, in a rematch.
“Gilts made it to the semifinals and lost to the Perrysburg wrestler who is projected No. 2 in the state,” Donley said. “Unfortunately, Bryce lost his next match to the Lima Senior wrestler and missed qualifying for next weekend. It’s always tough to see a kid’s career come to an end.”
Kaiser lost his first match and was pinned in 1:53 by Clay’s Ben Richmond and received a bye. He lost by fall in 51 seconds to Perrysburg’s Ethan Morley and rebounded to pin Springfield’s Austin Balonek in 1:34.
“Jackson Kaiser avenged a loss from the previous week and finished fifth, making him a district alternate. Jackson decided to wrestle as part of his training for the football offseason and we are pleased with his progress,” Donley said.
Biedermann lost a close match in the quarterfinals, 3-1, but rebounded to pin Springfield’s Samuel Johnson in 1:38. He then lost, 10-2, to Northview’s Cole McKinley and fell in another close match, 2-0, to Perrysburg’s Ryan Avalos.
“Brayden had the toughest weight class in the tournament,” Donley said. “There were six kids at 106 who were all capable of qualifying. However, there are only four spots. Brayden fell short this time around, but we are proud of the way he competes.”
Layson lost his first match by fall in 35 seconds to Whitmer’s Donald Wingate. He received a bye and then lost to Perrysburg’s Lucas Chavez, 16-0, before falling to Northview’s J.J. Short by pin in 3:38.
“Hunter is a freshman that we threw in at 113 and he competed very well. Hunter continues to impress us with his toughness,” Donley said. “Although he is inexperienced, the future is very bright for Hunter.”
Tommy Ling (160) won one match, pinning Lima Senior’s Michael Breaston in 2:48.
Donley talked about the competition his team faced at the meet.
“Some weights were really tough and others not so much,” he said. “To me, the unfortunate part is the actual lack of wrestlers entered in the event. The ones that are wrestling are competitive, which is nice to see. However, when the entire first round of consolation matches is filled with byes (not one match was wrestled), there is a problem.
“We need to increase participation in our sport or we will continue to see a decline in participation. We have been fortunate to keep our numbers up, but it takes a lot of effort.
“We saw some seniors wrestle their last match this past weekend and that’s always difficult. I am hopeful that those young men take the lessons learned through the sport of wrestling and they apply them to their adult lives.
“As for the ones moving on, we will have a good week of practice and prepare for the state tournament – the ultimate goal at this point is to advance. Whatever needs to happen in order to make it to Columbus is what will be our focus.”
The Generals will compete in the district tournament at Perrysburg High School starting on Friday.