By ANDY WOLF
VAN BUREN — The desire to do well in front of a home crowd is certainly strong for Van Buren’s wrestling team.
“This is one of maybe two matches we get to wrestle at our home school,” Black Knights coach Justin Slauterbeck said after the first day of the 42nd Van Buren Invitational on Friday.
“They want to put a good show on for our community and the guys walking around, people want to know Van Buren for wrestling.
“They know that and they find it very important.”
Van Buren is sitting in eighth place after the first day with three semifinalists and 50 points. Allen East has a 1031/2-951/2 edge on Eastwood in the team standings so far.
The tournament resumes at 10 a.m. today with the consolation round first, followed by the championship semifinals.
As a whole, Slauterbeck had a good impression on the first day.
“We wrestled pretty well for the majority,” Slauterbeck said. “Record-wise I’m not too happy with it but it’s a tough tournament — probably the toughest Division III tournament in the area.”
HOME COOKING: Van Buren’s three semifinalists include Dino Donaldson (145), Cade Whitticar (170) and Kaleb Snodgrass (285).
Whitticar and Snodgrass each recorded a pair of pins while Donaldson had two decisions at 6-0 and 8-1.
“(Dino), he’s really starting to come along,” Slauterbeck said. “(Cade) when he moves and sticks with what he knows, he’ll beat anyone in the state.
“(Kaleb), business as usual with him.”
PINNING AND WINNING: Several area wrestlers advanced to today’s quarterfinals with pin after pin.
Hopewell-Loudon sophomore Lance Crawford needed three of them at 138 pounds.
“Last year, didn’t do too hot,” Crawford said of going 1-2. “Being able to pin my way to the semifinals is pretty cool.”
He stuck North Baltimore’s Harley Wheeler in 1:50 in his opening-round rattail before doing the same to Upper Sandusky’s Carson Barrows in 4:47 and again to McComb’s Montana Pierce in 2:34 in the quarterfinals.
Fostoria senior Roger Hall is on to the 195-pound semifinals with a pair of pins.
He downed Riverdale’s Samuel Spade in 1:35 first and followed up with a 3:28 pin over Arcadia’s Ryland Ernest.
“I never look at any kid differently; I always look at them as they can beat me,” Hall said. “I’m always looking to set something up, always moving, always trying to stay aggressive.”
At 182, Elmwood’s Sanford Fraley went 2 for 2 in pins.
Fraley pinned Arcadia’s Joe Tardibuono in 1:34 in his first match before building a 6-0 lead on Upper Sandusky’s Aiden Gallant en route to a pin in 4:30.
“My game plan was to win, really. I wanted to get my second match out of the way so I could go take a shower real quick,” Fraley said with a laugh.
TOUGHENING UP: Some tough tests lie ahead for multiple wrestlers making their first semifinal appearance.
Hall will square up against Liberty-Benton’s Nathaniel DiRe — a Division III state qualifier last season.
“I look at it as a good learning opportunity no matter what happens,” Hall said.
Bluffton’s Landen Luginbuhl won 9-0 over Eastwood’s Tyler Bowman to advance to the 220 pound semifinals.
Awaiting him is Elmwood’s Will Bechstein — a fourth-place finisher in Division III last year. The two have not met this year.
“Right now I feel great,” Luginbuhl said. “I’ve felt great all week.
“Mainly my mind, just be mentally focused — that’s all I need.”
Looking at, perhaps, the toughest semifinal bout is Riverdale’s Ethan Shane (182). Shane won his only bout 5-2 over Mohawk’s Grant Theis, fending off several late comeback attempts before sealing it with a takedown in the waning seconds.
“I loved doing that, mostly not third-period wins but if I’ve got to do a third-period win, I’ll do a third-period win,” Shane said.
Last year’s Division III state runner-up at 182 in Carey’s Tanner May — a three-time state placer.
Shane and May met last weekend at the Carey Classic, where May pinned him in the third period.
“I’m going to do what my mind knows and keep going at it,” he said.
1, Allen East 1031/2. 2, Eastwood 951/2. 3, Wayne Trace 681/2. 4, Carey 671/2. 5, Elmwood & Woodmore 571/2. 7, Galion 56. 8, Van Buren 50. 9, Columbus Grove 47. 10, Bluffton 461/2. 11, Mohawk 441/2. 12, Upper Sandusky 401/2. 13, Gibsonburg 40. 14, Sandusky St. Mary 361/2. 15, Liberty-Benton 33. 16, Kenton 32. 17, Hopewell-Loudon 301/2. 18, Lakota 29. 19, Seneca East 27. 20, Cory-Rawson 22. 21, Arcadia 181/2, 22, Riverdale 15. 23, Fostoria 13. 24, McComb 111/2, 25, Lincolnview 10. 26, Ottawa-Glandorf 7. 27, North Baltimore 6. 28, Fremont St. Joseph 3. 29, Tiffin Calvert 0.
TODAY’S SEMIFINAL PAIRINGS
106 — Luke Schaub (Woodmore) 13-14 vs. Hunter Sidle (Allen East) 7-6; Thayne Kleman (Bluffton) 12-5 vs. Frank Depinet (Upper Sandusky) 16-5.
113 — Bryce Maynard, (Eastwood) 27-3 vs. Hunter Lacy (Seneca East) 17-0; Chase Dickerson (Woodmore) 25-2 vs. Riley Prosser (Sandusky St. Mary) 21-2.
120 — Gavin Owens (Eastwood) 26-1 vs. Lance Rickle (Carey) 22-5; Jace Margraf (Mohawk) 10-2 vs. Jarrett Hornish (Wayne Trace) 22-1.
126 — Brandon Hahn (Eastwood) 28-1 vs. Cross Fetter (Sandusky St. Mary); Reece Mullholand (Carey) vs. Drake Carmean (Allen East) 19-1.
132 — Hunter Long (Wayne Trace) 24-0 vs. Ryan Prosser (Sandusky St. Mary) 16-5; Xavier Escobedo (Eastwood) 22-8 vs. Caden Crawford (Hopewell-Loudon) 16-1.
138 — David Garcia (Gibsonburg) 25-3 vs. Mason Glaze (Eastwood) 24-7; Lance Crawford (Hopewell-Loudon) 10-2 vs. Kade Wireman (Allen East) 21-4.
145 — Bryce Hesselbart (Eastwood) 20-2 vs. Dino Donaldson (Van Buren) 14-5; Seth Meggison (Wayne Trace) vs. Gage Summit (Carey) 17-3.
152 — Morgan Price (Mohawk) 15-3 vs. Carson Rupp (Wayne Trace) 12-8; Brett Sandwisch (Woodmore) 17-3 vs. Chase Miller (Allen East) 21-2.
160 — Gunner Endicott (Elmwood) 24-4 vs. Jon Auld (Gibsonburg) 23-3; Eli Moore (Wayne Trace) 23-2 vs. Deontae’ Davis (Cory-Rawson) 17-1.
170 — Trevor Franks (Lakota) 22-0 vs. Ross Beaverton (Eastwood) 28-8; Ezra Jones (Columbus Grove) 19-5 vs. Cade Whitticar (Van Buren) 17-4.
182 — Tanner May (Carey) 22-1 vs. Ethan Shane (Riverdale) 16-4; Mikey Brzeczeck (Woodmore) 23-4 vs. Sanford Fraley (Elmwood) 21-7.
195 — Garrett Neth (Allen East) 18-1 vs. Spencer Franks (Lakota) 17-5; Roger Hall (Fostoria) 21-4 vs. Nathaniel DiRe (Liberty-Benton) 14-1.
220 — Will Bechstein (Elmwood) 21-5 vs. Landen Luginbuhl (Bluffton) 7-3; James Clouse (Mohawk) 12-6 vs. Noah Eikenbary (Kenton) 13-0.
285 — Kaleb Snodgrass (Van Buren) 21-2 vs. John Abouhassan (Galion) 18-1; Brennan Davies (Allen East) vs. Jeff Meyer (Columbus Grove) 22-2.