Elmwood second in BVC behind 5 champions


ATTICA, Ohio — Elmwood wrestling produced five league champions and finished second in its first year competing in the Blanchard Valley Conference, scoring 164½ points to finish behind Liberty-Benton (185) last Saturday.

Seneca East hosted the BVC and Northern Ten Conference championships, and then the two leagues pitted the conference champions from each league against each other in the BVC/N10 Challenge.

“It is a new league and we felt that we have a good chance to compete at a high level within this league for wrestling,” Elmwood sixth-year coach Nick Davis said.

“We enjoy competition and finding the best matches to prepare our student athletes for the post season. With the BVC combining our league tournament with the N10 we have only made our competition better and that forced us to wrestle better.”

Following Elmwood in the BVC standings were Van Buren (122½), McComb (78), Arcadia (70), and Cory-Rawson and Riverdale each finished with 38 points.

It is the second straight year Elmwood finished second in the league, only last year the Royals were second in their final year competing in the Northern Buckeye Conference.

Elmwood freshman Zachariah Patterson won the BVC’s 106-pound championship with a 15-0 technical fall victory over Arcadia junior Charlize Distel.

Patterson went on to win the BVC/N10 title, but only because his opponent, Emery Littleton (Carey) suffered an injury at 2:07.

At 138, Elmwood junior Peyton Schafer, who was second in the NBC last year, pinned L-B senior Avery Allen in 2:30 of the championship match. Schafer defeated Mohawk’s Brent Kirian in the BVC/N10 challenge match.

Elmwood junior Gavin Solarik won a 144-pound title with an 8-2 decision over L-B senior Jack Rumschlag. Solarik lost to Carey’s Jordan Hertel, 7-2, in the BVC/N10 challenge match.

At 150, Elmwood senior Thomas Tyson, who was third in the NBC last year, pinned L-B junior Trevor. Weyer in 2:58 for the BVC championship. Davis says Tyson is already generating interest from college coaches. Tyson forfeited his BVC/N10 challenge match to Mohawk’s Evan England.

At 165, Elmwood junior Connor Sterling pinned VB senior Collin Wagner in 5:09 for the BVC title and he defeated Mohawk’s Kaiden Bish for the challenge title.

Elmwood freshman Ryken Ziegler finished second at 132, and Royals who finished third included freshman Santiago Torres (120), freshman Zach Schafer (126), and freshman Gabe Schafer (175).

Legacy to follow

Davis took over the program after being a volunteer assistant at Elmwood from 2002-05, then head coaching gigs at Fostoria (2006-14) and Ottawa-Glandorf (2014-16).

Davis feels like he has a legacy to follow. Elmwood wrestling has sent an individual to the state championships each of the last 32 years. In addition, Elmwood wrestling has had only three varsity head coaches since 1974 as a program.

“It all started with the great Joe Szymczak, then moved on to Hall of Fame Coach David Lee (graduate of Elmwood), and current coach Nick Davis (graduate of Elmwood),” said Davis.

Since taking over, Davis’ Elmwood teams had fared well in the NBC, going 66-48 in overall dual matches before this year and winning one league championship. Davis had plenty of depth going into this season with wrestlers filling every class.

He had 11 returning wrestlers this year with some of his top wrestlers in his lower weight classes including Patterson (106), junior William Siek (120/126), junior Dom DeWitt (120/126), Ziegler (132/138), Zach Schafer (132/138), and Peyton Schafer (138/144).

“This is a solid group for our lightweights. We have some good wrestlers as well as some young athletes with good success at the junior high level,” Davis said.

His top middle class wrestlers include sophomore Marcus Mossbarger (144/150), sophomore McKoy Morlock (150), junior James Blair (157/165), Solarik (150/157), Tyson (157/165), and senior Colin Campbell (157/165).

“Our middleweights bring more experience and a lot off season mat time with them. This is a good group that has several competitive weight classes with athletes in and out of the lineup because of wrestle-off results,” Davis said.

Elmwood top upper class wrestlers include junior Conner Sterling (175/190), freshman Gabe Schafer (190), freshman Chris Clark (215) and senior Jimmie Palmer (285).

“Our upper weights feature good leadership, but overall a lack of high school wrestling experience,” Davis said. “This is a confident group that can be dangerous because they believe they can win.”

Mossbarger was third in the NBC last year, Morlock was fourth in the NBC, and Campbell third in the NBC and all three were district qualifiers. Other district qualifiers returning include Tyson and Sterling.

Davis adds that Blair has been one of his most improved wrestlers, but he’s not the only one.

“The coaching staff really likes to see the progression of wrestlers from freshman to seniors,” Davis said. “James Blair has improved tremendously and the coaching staff expected even more jumps this year.

“Marcus Mossbarger has improved and we see his progression. Not too many on the team put in more time than McKoy Morlock in the offseason and that has paid off in big ways for him.

“One who may have put in just as much time as McKoy is Peyton Schafer and we have gotten big things from him as well. Connor Sterling, Thomas Tyson, and Colin Campbell are three solid wrestlers that continue to challenge each other to get better.

Davis says youth and inexperience are the team’s strength and its biggest weakness.

“We go into every competition, every match, with the attitude that we can win no matter who steps in across from us,” Davis said. “We have to win with grit, toughness, and just being in better shape than everyone.

“The technique will come with our young wrestlers, but to win the athletes have to grind out matches and extend matches to learn as much as possible each match.

“Youth and inexperience are costing us some matches as we have some that just may not have the technique yet and panic in certain situations. This may cost us in places, but we are excited to see the progression of this team.

“We are young, but at the same time we have some great leadership in the room with our four-year seniors Thomas Tyson and Colin Campbell.”

There is another new wrinkle at Elmwood wrestling — an inugural girls program.

“We are excited to see this growth of girls wrestling come to Elmwood and give our female athletes the opportunity to compete in the sport of wrestling,” Davis said.

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