EATON — Mark Silvers wasn’t sure what to expect from his Eaton wrestling team when it hosted the 49th Eaton Sam Ridder Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26.
“Coming into this tournament I was very concerned about where we would finish or how we would finish,” Silvers said. “I got Wade (Monebrake) out of the lineup and I’ve got a lot of guys who are in their first year at this tournament and I had a lot of guys that just hadn’t had that much success here.”
Eaton, which scored 106 points, ended the tournament with six placers and finished sixth overall in the 23 team field.
Hamilton Ross won the team title with 181.5 points. Chaminade Julienne was second with 161.5 and Valley View was third with 147. Milton-Union was fourth with 121 and Stebbins was fifth with 113. National Trail was 21st with 39 point and Twin Valley South was 22nd with 13.
“The kids performed. They stepped up. We had guys that hadn’t won many matches win matches,” Silver said. “I was honestly hoping to be in the top 10. So to be above that is an overshot. We did well. Am I satisfied with that? No. Yet, you have to look at where we’re at developmentally as a team and the kids did a nice job. They really performed to their best level.”
The Eagles has six wrestlers place in the top six.
Chris Weadick was third at 152 pounds, scoring an 18-8 major decision over Logan Raney of Franklin.
“He was injured all of last year and didn’t get to wrestle. He is just done everything necessary to get himself ready to attack things at the league and the sectional. I can’t really speak highly enough of his work ethic and his attitude is just carrying him a long way.”
Seth Bowman earned third place at 285 pounds with a 3-1 sudden victory over Hunter Ross of Milton-Union.
“He just continues to improve each week. Is he where I want him? Not yet. But yet, he’s doing the things necessary to get himself ready for the end of the year. He did a really nice job. He did very, very well.”
Owen Hewitt placed sixth at 120 pounds.
“He stepped up and won a couple real good matches. Lost a couple he was capable of winning but the thing is you learn more from a loss than you’ll ever learn from a win. He’s going to be fine come to for the league and for the sectional, district and state series.
KeAnthony Bales placed fourth at 145 pounds in his first varsity tournament.
“That was just awesome. I couldn’t have been any happier for him. He’s a kid who came out last year as a first-year wrestler, so technically he’s just got one year under his belt and to be able to go out and compete at this level speaks very highly of what I feel he’s got to look forward to the rest of this year and next year.
Zac Schmidt took sixth at 160 pounds.
“Last year, he didn’t even place here. This year, he places. You’ve go to take everything as a process and this team is going through the process and they’re stepping up, they’re learning and they’re progressing and Zac did a really nice job. I’m real proud of him.”
Skylar Straszheim finished sixth at 220 pounds.
“Same deal. Last year, he didn’t get much. This year he’re really stepped up and gets things moving. I really felt like he did a nice job. I really feel like he’s got the potential to get things going for the end of the year.”
Wade Monebrake missed the tournament due to an injury, but Silvers said the senior should be back and ready to go by the league meet.
“Right now, we just want to get him healthy for the end of the year. Those are the meets that are important,” Silvers said. “He’ll be fine. He’s improving daily and we’re looking for great things at the end of the year.”
Silvers said the team will begin prepping for the postseason.
“The key from this point on is to get everybody healthy, fine tune some things. There’s some technique we’ve go to improve and get better at,” Silvers said. “We building now for the end. We’re building to the peak. I feel good about where they’re going right now.
Eaton was scheduled to host Covington on Wednesday for a dual meet. The Eagles will compete in the first round of the state dual tournament on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Hamilton Ross. The Eagles are the No. 5 seed.
For Trail, Caleb Reynolds was fourth at 113 pounds and Jesse Bisner was sixth at 170 pounds. Returning state qualifier Peyton Lane wrestled one match and won before forfeiting his next two matches due to an injury.
The Blazers are off the next few weeks.
Twin Valley South had no wrestlers place among the top six. Tanner Brown was in the top eight at 106 pounds.