MONROE — Winning league titles have become commonplace for Eaton’s grapplers.
And this year was no different.
Eaton claimed five individual titles and rallied from a 20-point deficit heading into the finals to claim its eighth Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division title in the past nine years.
Eaton finished with 182.5 points. Brookville finished as the runner-up with 172 points. Preble Shawnee finished eighth overall and was the runner-up in the Buckeye Division with 80 points. Milton-Union, which was sixth overall, won the Buckeye Division with 131 points.
“Going into the SWBL championships I felt like there were four teams that could win the tournament. It would be determined by the kids and how they competed,” Eaton coach Mark Silvers said. “Going into the finals we were 20 points out of first and it didn’t look good. But I really think the strength of our schedule showed in the final round. Our guys were used to competing against some of the toughest wrestlers in the state. They really wanted to win the league and they rose to the occasion.”
The Eagles won seven of their nine matches in the final round.
Silvers said his team was focused on reclaiming the top spot in the league after finishing second last year.
“This was awesome, bringing back the SWBL championship. We had that great string of seven championships in a row and let it slip last year, finishing second to Valley View,” he said. “This year we had lost a dual to Monroe and finished behind Valley View at the Sam Ridder Eaton Invite. I knew that Brookville had a tough young group. I knew winning it was going to take a huge team effort. The guys did just that. Very proud of this group and they are only just building to their peak. I always work to peak my teams at the district meet. We will see what the next three weeks bring.”
At 138 pounds, top-seeded senior Wade Monebrake went 4-0 with two pins and two technical falls, winning the championship by 15-0 against Colten Jacobe of Milton-Union.
“Wade didn’t have an offensive point scored against him and is really building to a peak,” Silvers said.
At 145, senior Chris Weadick, the No. 1 seed, went 3-0 winning his first championship against Devon Myers of Brookville 7-5.
“Chris is really coming into his own and I’m really excited for the coming tournaments for him,” Silver said.
At 160, junior Zac Schmidt, the top-seed in the class, went 3-0 winning his first varsity tournament championship by pinning Triston Engle of Preble Shawnee in 3:35.
“Zac continues to work and learn what he can do and is finding there are few limits,” Silvers said.
At 220, senior Skyler Straszheim, the No. 4 seed, went 3-0. He won by technical fall in the first round then pinned the No. 1 seed in the semifinal, before pinning Matt Hamm of Brookville in 56 seconds in the final.
“Skylar wrestled with more confidence and intensity this week. That’s what it’s going to take the next couple weeks to advance,” Silvers said.
At 285, No. 2 seed senior Seth Bowman went 4-0 with two pins and two victories in overtime. He defeated Tyler Stevenson of Preble Shawnee 4-2 in overtime in the championship match.
“This was the best tournament that Seth has put together and should really build his confidence going into the sectional,” Silvers said.
At 120, sophomore Owen Hewitt went 2-2 on the weekend and finished fourth.
“Owen continues to improve and refine his skills. and build to a peak,” Silvers said.
At 132, freshman Dominic Isaacs finished 3-3 and placed sixth.
“A huge step forward for Dominic, placing in his first varsity tournament,” Silvers said.
At 152, junior KeAnthony Bales went 3-2 placing fifth.
“(He) continues to learn and grow with each match,” Silver said.
At 195, junior Holden Sittloh went 3-2 and placed fifth.
“He keeps building and learning,” Silvers said.
Also competing for Eaton was freshman Jaelyn Trantanella, Sophomore Sage Bowman and Junior Logan Chapin.
“Now we get back in the practice room and sharpen our edge for the sectional tournament next weekend at Graham,” Silvers said.
In addition to runner-up finishes by Engle and Stevenson, Preble Shawnee had four others place.
Freshman Matthew Grubb was third at 106 pounds, upsetting the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in the consolation rounds.
Junior Jackson Carter placed fourth at 113 pounds.
Junior Rylan Roberts finished fifth at 120 pounds.
Senior Eddie Kincaid placed sixth at 170 pounds.
Both teams return to action this weekend for the sectional tournament.
Eaton will compete at Graham High School in the Division II sectional, while Preble Shawnee will compete in the Sidney Lehman Division III sectional.
The tournaments will be held on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23.
The top four in each weight class advance to the district tournament.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH