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Rocha, Babcock Win NWOAL Titles

Wauseon Wins Team Title, Archbold Finishes Fourth


Mason Babcock, left, attempts to drive Bryan’s Dylan McCandless to the mat on a takedown in the finals of the 182-pound weight class at the NWOAL wrestling championships, Saturday, Feb. 16. Zach Rocha, right, secures a takedown of Wauseon’s Connor Twigg in the finals of the 132-lb. weight class en route to a 12-4 major decision.–photos by Mario Gomez

Mason Babcock, left, attempts to drive Bryan’s Dylan McCandless to the mat on a takedown in the finals of the 182-pound weight class at the NWOAL wrestling championships, Saturday, Feb. 16. Zach Rocha, right, secures a takedown of Wauseon’s Connor Twigg in the finals of the 132-lb. weight class en route to a 12-4 major decision.–photos by Mario Gomez

Archbold’s Zach Rocha (132 pounds) and Mason Babcock (182 lbs.) won individual titles at the Northwest Ohio Athletic League wrestling championships, Saturday, Feb. 16, at Wauseon.

The Streaks placed fourth in the nine-team tournament with 125 points.

Wauseon won the NWOAL championship for the third straight year, scoring 219.

Delta was second with 193, followed by Liberty Center 150.5, Archbold, Swanton 100.5, Montpelier 91.5, Patrick Henry 81, Bryan 40, and Evergreen 17.

“I don’t think we had that bad of a day,” said Brian Becher, AHS head coach.

“Obviously when you’re wrestling that many matches, there’s little things we can improve on. I actually thought we made some coaching mistakes in terms of positions that we put kids in.

“Hopefully we learn from that.”

Brennan Short (138 lbs.) and Kasyn Schaffner (160 lbs.) each placed second; Shane Eicher (126 lbs.) and Carson Meyer (152 lbs.) were third.

 

 

Rusty Short (113 lbs.), Josh Nofzinger (145 lbs.), and Izzy Reyes (220 lbs.) each placed fifth, and Caleb Ranzau (170 lbs.) placed sixth.

Rocha Stands On Top

Rocha, a senior, made the most of his final NWOAL tournament appearance, bringing home a championship on his last try.

Rocha was seeded first in the eight-man bracket.

He disposed of Bryan’s Aiden Fenter with a fall in 35 seconds in the quarterfinals.

In the semifinals, Rocha won a 9-5 decision over Delta’s Evan Perry to reach the championship finals.

Wauseon’s Connor Twigg stood in the way of Rocha’s first league championship.

Rocha got off to a good start early, taking a 7-1 first-period lead.

He extended it to 12-3 after two.

Twigg scored one more point in the final period, but Rocha claimed the championship with a 12-4 major decision.

“He was really nervous in the semifinal match,” said Becher.

“He needs to get his mind on other things, because it gasses him out and uses a lot of wasteful energy thinking about things that don’t come into play.”

Babcock Earns First Title

Wrestling as the first seed in his weight class, Babcock, a junior, pinned his way to the finals.

Delta’s Rollin Robinson was the first casualty, falling in 3:48 to reach the semifinals.

In the semis, Babcock made short work of Wauseon’s Jaxon Radabaugh, pinning him in 50 seconds.

In the finals, Babcock squared off against Bryan’s Dylan McCandless.

Babcock scored first on a takedown and gave up an escape for a 2-1 first-period lead.

The gap grew to 5-1 when Babcock scored an escape and takedown in the second.

In the third, McCandless scored an escape, but Babcock scored his final takedown of the match for a 7-2 lead.

McCandless scored another escape, but Babcock won a 7-3 decision.

“Mason kinda walked through (the weight class),” said Becher.

“He’s wrestling really well right now; finally getting his attacks when he needs to score some points.”

Pair Finish Second

Two AHS wrestlers earned second-place finishes.

Brennan Short had to wrestle just once to reach the finals.

After receiving a firstround bye, he then defeated Swanton’s Ethan Branum with a fall in 3:05.

Short faced three-time league champion Cole Mattin in the finals, falling to the senior wrestler from Delta by fall in 3:22.

Schaffner was returning from an injury and was seeded second.

Schaffner pinned Montpelier’s Bryer Bentley in 1:29 to reach the semifinals, where he won a 5-3 decision over Evergreen’s Brian Floyd to reach the finals against TJ Rhamy of Patrick Henry.

For health concerns, Schaffner defaulted to finish second.

Sectional

The post-season for Archbold begins at the Division III sectional tournament, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 22-23 at Archbold.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class qualify for the district tournament at Lakota, March 1-2, in hopes of qualifying for the state tournament in Columbus, March 7-9.

“It’s about wrestling as hard as you can,” said Becher.

“It’s going out there and scoring points and not worrying about the outcome.

“If you’re scoring points than the outcome takes care of itself.”

Wrestling begins at 5 pm on Friday and continues Saturday at 10 am.


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