BELLBROOK — Mixed feelings. Bitter sweet.
That’s how Eaton wrestling coach Nathan Islamovsky and Preble Shawnee coach Jake Follick summed up this past weekend’s SWBL tournament.
Eaton placed fifth overall and fourth in the SWBL Southwestern Division with 139 points, while Shawnee was eighth overall and third in the Buckeye Division with 98.5 points in its last tournament as an SWBL member.
Brookville claimed the Southwestern Division title with 189 point and Milton-Union was the Buckeye Division champ with 155 points.
The Arrows are leaving the SWBL for the newly formed Western Ohio Athletic Conference next season.
“I have mixed feelings on the weekend,” Islamovsky said. “We brought nine wrestlers and all nine placed. That’s an accomplishment. Any time you have your whole team place you’re going to do pretty well in a tournament. We really just fell short in a few matches and it made a big difference in where some of those wrestlers placed. So yes I am happy, but nowhere near satisfied with how we did. We have some things to work on in the next couple of weeks leading into the postseason.”
Senior Owen Hewitt finished second at 145 pounds.
”Owen Hewitt had a strong showing placing second in a tough weight class. He lost his finals match in a sudden victory overtime and really wrestled well throughout the tournament,” Islamovksy said.
Lucas Abner placed second at 106 pounds.
“Lucas Abner had an awesome weekend. If we go back and look at last year at the end of the SWBL tournament, Lucas had only one win on the season and didn’t win a match at SWBL. This season he got second,” Islamovsky said. “It’s a tremendous improvement. He’s done really well this season and has become very competitive.”
Brayden Deem was third at 132 pounds.
“Brayden Deem had a very strong showing in what I’d say was the toughest weight class at the tournament,” Islamovsky said. “He went into the tournament seeded fifth. He lost a tough match to the fourth seed from Milton Union and had to battle back through the consolation rounds. He ended up beating Milton Union in the finals for third.”
Others who placed for Eaton were Dominic Isaacs (fourth, 138 pounds), Danny Caldwell (fourth, 152), Matt Michael (fourth, 195), Zac Shaffer (fourth, 220), Sage Bowman (fifth, 182) and Logan Littrell (sixth, 120).
Preble Shawnee brought a young squad to one of the toughest league tournaments in the area.
“Bitter sweet with this being the last year in the SWBL,” Follick said. “Lots of knowns and unknowns going into the tournament with more duals this year and quarantines hitting every team. We brought a young team with six of the 10 being freshman, that being said I was confident they were ready. I thought we wrestled below where we all wanted to be Friday night, but like this team has done all year they bounced back Saturday. We aren’t a full team so it’s difficult to run with the bigger schools but that’s what we love about the SWBL, it’s just tough.”
Preble Shawnee’s lone champion was Brayden Doran at 138 pounds.
“He is really hitting a stride and wrestling well. Improving a sixth place finish his freshman season to the top of the podium this year,” Follick said. “Beating state ranked No. 15 (kid) in the finals was certainly one of Brayden’s biggest wins this season and some of the best wrestling I’ve seen from the young sophomore.”
The Arrow lone senior, Triston Engle, finished third at 195.
”We knew 195 would be tough and had a few opponents that we lost matches to earlier in the season. We were able to go 3-1 placing third with two of those wins avenging those earlier season losses,” Follick said.
Freshman Riley Stevenson placed fourth at 160.
“My only freshman to make it to day two. He found himself in tough matches much like entire season,” Follick said. “His ability to grow and improve mentally and physically has led to Riley’s success this season that continued in his SWBL performance. Matching his brother’s (Ty) freshman performance of fourth.”
At 285, Xavier Adams was fourth.
“Xavier Adams is our ‘part time’ heavyweight and when I say part time, I actually mean double duty,” Follick said. “Xavier is a starter for our varsity basketball team for his main gig and wrestles a modified wrestling schedule. With more weekly duals this year we were able to get Xavier some matches through the season. Those matches were enough to reinvigorate the fire and passion Xavier enjoyed in his pee wee days. That being said, lots of questions going into SWBL for him. Xavier pushed the No. 1 seed Preston Brown (Madison) to the limit, nearly pulling off the upset. He placed fourth in SWBL and started against Eaton in basketball game (later that night). The modern day Deion Sanders of winter sports.”
Matt Grubb finished fourth at 120.
“Finally the roller coaster of Matt Grubb. First and foremost the Preble Shawnee wrestling family is glad to have Matt back on the team,” Follick said. “He started his season just two weeks before the SWBL and we knew it would be a challenge. Matt stepped up to that challenge and out placed his sixth seed with a very respectable 4th place finish,” Follick said.
Follick also congratulated a pair of league competitors who won their fourth league titles.
“I would also like to recognize some other SWBL competitors in Devin Oligee (Madison) and Tyler Woods (Franklin) both earning their fourth individual SWBL titles, a feat only achieved a handful of times in SWBL’s rich history,” Follick said.