While Conan Becker was Northmor’s only placewinner at the state wrestling meet, the Knights did send four other wrestlers to Columbus for the event. The five competitors was a school record for Northmor in the state meet.
Both junior Jake Neer and senior Griffin Jenkins were able to snare one win over the course of the tournament. Competing at 106 pounds, Neer, competing in the state meet for the second straight year, opened with a 9-6 win over Luke Hopkins of Cuyahoga Heights.
Friday would not be so kind, though, as he opened with a 3-1 loss to Ronnie Pietro of Dayton Christian in a defensive-minded match. He then fell to Camron Neal of Camden Preble Shawnee by an 8-1 margin to bow out of the tournament.
At 120 pounds, Jenkins suffered an 8-1 loss to Michael Sergent of Troy Christian. He bounced back to pin Terry Stockton of North Jackson Jackson-Milton in 1:19 of his first consolation match, but would then lose Friday to be eliminated.
Also wrestling were sophomore Aaron Kitts (126 pounds) and senior Jake Farley (138). Both wrestler went 0-2 on the weekend, with Farley losing by major decision and decision and Kitts falling by pin and major decision.
Head coach Scott Carr was left with a lot of things to feel good about as the state meet wound down, with his personal accolades ranking least on that list. Carr was officially presented with his award for being named the 2014-15 Coach of the Year for Division III on Friday.
“The accolades are great and that’s all fine and good, but to see these guys succeed and grow up and mature means more to me,” he said.
Northmor’s great late-season performance, which included Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Blue Division, sectional and district championships, as well as the five state qualifiers, did a lot to make up for any disappointment Carr felt over his team falling in the regional finals of the state dual meet tournament for the third time in four years.
“We knew we had a decent time and we kept getting better and better,” he said. “We brought two seniors and three underclassmen and had another kid (junior Mathew Ross) on the camera to soak it in and get experience.”
Northmor will return a strong team next year, with state placer Becker and qualifiers Neer and Kitts returning, as well as district qualifiers Ross, Mason Burger and Nathan Price, to go with some incoming freshmen, which include Becker’s brother, Conor, a highly-regarded eighth-grader.
One interesting fact about Northmor’s state meet was that all five qualifiers were lightweights, with the team sending on their representatives in the 106, 120, 126, 132 and 138 classes, with Ross (145) missing state by one match.
“They get in groups and wrestle with each other and are drill partners,” said Carr. “They keep pushing each other and they really came together. The last three weeks is where they became one solid unit — something clicked.”
Galion’s Drake Barnett might have missed a good chunk of this season battling injuries, but he was strong enough at the state meet to earn seventh place in the 160-pound weight class in Division III.
Barnett opened the state meet by jumping out to a fast start against Corey Dieringer of Versailles and winning by a 6-2 count.
He opened Friday against Josh Doherty of West Jefferson and, once again, got a quick takedown. Doherty would recover to get a reversal and back points, though, and never looked back in winning 10-5.
In the consolation bracket, the Galion wrestler traded a pair of one-point decisions, topping Noah Baker of Bloomdale Elmwood 7-6 before dropping a 5-4 decision to Chase Fetter of Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic to be relegated to the seventh-place match.
The senior closed out his career with a win, though, as he defeated Antony Risley of Cadiz Harrison Central 10-5 to claim seventh in the meet.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS
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