Archbold used a dominating performance to win the 24th annual Chuck Forward Duals, Saturday, Jan. 19, at Archbold High School.
The host finished with a perfect 5-0 record. Montpelier and Marion River Valley also finished with 5-0 marks, so the championship was decided on tiebreak criteria.
When the dust settled, Archbold hoisted its fourth straight championship trophy. River Valley finished second, Montpelier was third, and Coldwater was fourth.
Road To The Title
Nine teams participated: Archbold, Coldwater, Edgerton, Fairview, Hicksville, Marion River Valley, Montpelier, Tinora, and Toledo Whitmer.
The Blue and Gold started against Hicksville and soundly defeated the Aces 70-4.
In round two, Archbold defeated Tinora 59-15.
Round three found the Streaks battling Whitmer and once again, victory came easy with a 67-9 win.
Fairview became the third Green Meadows Conference team to taste defeat at the hands of the Blue and Gold, falling 76-6.
There is a potential for a regional showdown between these two teams, as Archbold faces the winner between Fairview and Edgerton, Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III team wrestling tournament at AHS.
In its last match, Archbold defeated Coldwater 58-15 and claimed the championship.
“Obviously, the competition is down a little bit this year,” said Brian Becher, Archbold head coach. “I thought most of our guys wrestled really well today. We wrestled a little more physical, so I was pretty pleased.”
Seven AHS wrestlers finished the day unbeaten. Justin Arce (106 pounds), Damian Short (120 lbs.), Lukas Rufenacht (126 lbs.), Ben Eggers (132 lbs.), Justice Zimmerman (140 lbs.), Logan Day (145 lbs.) and Lee Klinger (285 lbs.) finished 5-0.
Zach Meyer (113 lbs.), Lincoln Parsley (160 lbs.), David Bell (170 lbs.), Eli Hammersmith (182 lbs.) and Travis Jaramillo (195 lbs.) finished 4-1.
Garrett Grime (152 lbs.) was 3-2.
“We’ve got a number of guys on that cusp right now of getting to that next level, and I’m anxious to see how we perform,” said Becher.
“A guy that’s been good for us, but has really turned it on, is Damian Short. He’s been going nonstop with action during each match.”
Archbold has a number of good veterans, but some of the new wrestlers are making their marks as well.
“Lincoln Parsley came out at Christmas break, and he hadn’t competed in over a year, so we were not going to throw him in to the wolves right away,” said Becher.
“He’s already right there at that level. He’s just an athlete getting after people.
“Same thing with Lee Klinger. He’s more athletic than most of the guys he’s wrestling, and he’s a hardnosed kid.
“I’m anxious to see them be successful here so that other kids see that you don’t have to have all this vast experience. As long as you’re athletic and you’re hardnosed and get in good shape you can be successful in DIII wrestling.”
Archbold turns its attention to the state team tournament, which begins today, Wednesday, at AHS.
The new OHSAA-sanctioned tournament replaces the Ohio State Duals Championship, which was sponsored by the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association.
“It’s almost sad that it’s taken this long,” said Becher. “It just goes to show how flawed the system was before.
“When we won the state duals (in ’04), that team didn’t even qualify. They got in as an alternate.
“We’ve had some fantastic dual meet teams who couldn’t qualify based on the criteria that they were using before. Now everybody is in.”
Becher, in his 11th year as head coach for the Streaks, not only looks forward to competing in the state tournament, but also to win another state team title for Archbold.
“It’s something fantastic for our guys,” said Becher.
“We’ve got some seniors on our team that realistically probably don’t have much of a chance at all to qualify for the state tournament, and even some of these younger kids– it gives them a chance to be part of something.
“We’ve already started talking about getting a banner in the gym this year, a picture up on the wall and a new trophy in the case.
“Those are our goals here at the end of the year that we’re focusing on right now.
“After we get through that series we’ll start worrying about individual stuff once we get to the sectional week.
“We’re expecting to win (the regional) and we’re expecting to go to Columbus.”