By Wade Linville –
Before heading to the OHSAA Division II State Dual Team Tournament at Ohio State University’s St. John Arena set for Feb. 12, the Western Brown Broncos ventured to Bethel-Tate High School to face the Tigers at the In-School Dual Feb. 3.
The Tigers are also in the process of preparing for their showing in the state dual team tournament, as the Division III Regional champion Bethel-Tate varsity wrestling team will take on No. 1 seed Mechanicsburg as the No. 8 seed.
Friday’s dual at Bethel took place with Bethel-Tate students on hand to see the action, and it was the visiting Broncos escaping with a 49-24 victory to up their dual team record to 14-1 on the season.
The first match of the afternoon saw Western Brown’s Jedidiah Marlow claim a win by pin over Bethel’s Zack Gutrknecht with 37.9 seconds to go in the third round of the 106-pound battle.
Then it was Bronco junior Brandon Lucas dominating for a first-round win by pin over Bethel’s Evan Copestick to win the 113-pound match, giving the Western Brown team an early 12-0 advantage.
The Broncos rose to an 18-0 lead as Western Brown’s Seth Taylor claimed a round one win by pin over Bethel’s Trey Sander.
Western Brown’s Ezra Marlow won a narrow 3-0 decision over Bethel’s Justin Royer to up the Broncos’ lead to 21-0, then it was Tanner Donathan defeating Bethel’s Michael Whittington by pin to win the 126-pound bout, expanding the Broncos’ lead to 27-0.
Western Brown’s Jordan Hamblin pulled out a narrow 7-5 decision win over Bethel’s Matt Hall to leave the Tigers trailing 30-0.
After recently returning from an injury, Western Brown’s Derek Spears came through with a 15-4 decision win over Bethel’s Jonah Blankenship.
Western Brown’s Steven Grooms faced off against Bethel’s Ryan Peters in the 152-pound battle, and it was Peters winning by pin to trim the Broncos’ lead to 34-6.
Western Brown’s Jake Henderson was able to pin Bethel’s Jordan Newberry in the third period of the 160-pound match to lift the Broncos to a 40-6 advantage.
Bethel’s Owen Holtke pinned Western Brown’s Dylan Mosher late in the third round to cut the Bronco lead to 40-12.
The Broncos rose to a 46-12 lead as Western’s Eric Altman claimed a first-round win by pin over Bethel’s Tyler Buschard in the 182-pound match.
Bethel’s Wyatt O’Neil pinned Western’s Aaron Fischer to win the 195-pound match as the Tigers sliced the Bronco lead to 46-18.
Western Brown’s Justin Noble pulled out a 4-2 decision win over Bethel’s Bradey Lewis in the 220-pound bout to leave the Tigers trailing 49-18.
In the final match of the varsity team dual, it was Bethel’s Kermit Beckworth pinning Western’s Seth Jermer for the win in the 285-pound battle.
The Broncos enter this year’s state wrestling dual team tourney as the No. 5 seed in division II and will take on No. 4 seed Mentor Lake Catholic with hopes of advancing to the Final Four.
The Broncos will be looking to redeem themselves after falling to Mentor Lake Catholic 47-24 in last year’s state dual team tourney quarterfinals.