By Dan Woodlock
Times-Junction Sports Editor
Tiffin Columbian used their balance across the board to fight past Poland Seminary and win Saturday’s Cougar Classic Wrestling Tournament at Ashland Crestview High School.
Under the direction of first-year head coach and former Willard Crimson Flashes’ wrestler, Travis Salyer, the Tornadoes did not have the most champions (notching two at 120 and 171 pounds), but they fielded nine placers, including three runners-up, to go along with 184 points in pool competition, to edge past Poland Seminary, 260-257, for the team title.
Columbian made a steep climb in the tournament from a year ago, when the Tornadoes finished second from bottom.
Willard competed without a pair of its leaders, as Head Coach Matt Marinis was out with an illness and two-time District qualifier, D.J. Slone, was recovering from an injury. The Flashes battled their way to ninth place in the standings out of the 13-team field, posting a combined 125 points.
Raven Brant emerged as Willard’s lone champion on the day, as he took care of business at 285 pounds, racking up three wins on his way to the title and accounting for 32 of the Flashes’ points.
Ashton Ames and Juan Estrella earned fourth place finishes for Willard at 138 and 120, respectively.
Jon Rothhaar took fifth at 171 pounds, as did Alexis Iracheta at 113. Connor Robbins also earned placement points for WHS at 106.
Loudonville took third as a team with 187 points, followed by Ontario (183) and Troy Christian (163) in fourth and fifth. Both schools shared the invite lead in individual champions with three apiece.
The weight division champs were spaced out well, as nine different schools posted at least one---and only three carried between two and three champs.
Host Crestview took sixth overall at 150 points, followed by Delphos St. John’s (142), Waterloo (140), Willard and Mohawk (101) amongst the top-10 schools in the field.
Seneca East, Mount Gilead and Danbury wrapped up the team standings with 96, 93 and 14 points between them.