By Rob Kiser
Call Sports Editor
NORTH LEWISBERG —The Piqua wrestling team recovered from a slow start quickly — and Lehman’s Skylar Brown continued another strong season Saturday as the Triad Invitational.
The Indians finished second — with Andrew Bolin (126), Caje Kindred (138) and Hunter Bryant (145) all winning individual titles, while Brown took the 160-pound crown to lead the Cavaliers to a seventh-place finish.
Woodmore won the team title with 289 points, while Piqua was second with 199. Lehman finished with 104 points.
“We were in next to last place after the first two rounds,” Piqua coach Scott Kaye said. “We had a little talk about what we needed to be doing out there. By, the fourth round, we were tied for second, so that was a pretty good recovery. The kids turned things around.”
Because of some confusion at 106 pounds, the finals started at 126 pounds and Bolin wasted no time giving Piqua a champion.
After getting down 2-0 early, Bolin had a quick reversal and recorded a pin at 3:47 to finish the day with three pins and an 8-4 decision.
“I came in as the first seed, so I wanted to prove myself,” the freshman who picked up his first team title, said. “It feels good to win, but I still could have done better.”
Bolin has gotten stronger since moving down from 132 to 126.
“The move down has helped me because of the competition in the wrestling room (practice),” Bolin said.
Kaye was happy to see Bolin get the title.
“He just wrestled a really strong tournament,” Kaye said. “He got us off to a great start (in the finals).”
Kindred, a junior, continued the momentum.
He also picked up his first tournament title, to finish off a 5-0 day.
Kindred, who had two pins and two technical falls, pinned Oakwood’s Emerson Calaway in 3:36 in the title match.
“I have won some summer tournaments, but never a high school invitational,” Kindred said. “It feels great. This was for the team and the City of Piqua.”
Kaye said it was a just a matter of time.
“It took Caje (Kindred) a little longer (to win a tournament),” he said. “He has been wrestling well and he wrestled a good, smart tournament.”
Despite coming in with a 20-1 record, Bryant did not receive one of the two seeds in the 145-pound class.
“To be honest, it kind of made me mad,” Bryant said.
He took care of things on the mat, going 4-0 with a pin and a tech fall.
Bryant met the two seeds in the semifinals and finals.
First, he decisioned Tony Rossi of Woodmore, a returning district qualifier, 5-3.
The match was tied 2-2 going to the third period, with Rossi starting down.
Bryant was able to turn him for a 3-point nearfall to secure the win.
“You can’t have doubts,” Bryant said about the nearfall. “You have to believe in what you can do.”
That put him up against Andrew Zirkle in the finals and Bryant recorded an 11-2 major decision.
“Both of those kids Hunter (Bryant) had to wrestle were strong kids,” Kaye said. “They were both tough matches, but the semifinal was (a really tough match). He was able to turn him from up top, which was good to see. That (the ability to score late in a match when he needs to) comes from his conditioning and hard work he puts in.”
Mike Clark (103) recorded a second-place finish for Piqua.
He pinned his way to the finals, with all four victories coming in the first period, before getting pinned in 3:11 in the championship match.
“That is Mike’s (Clark) highest tournament finish this year — maybe in his career,” Kaye said. “He had some nice wins to get to the finals.”
Jake Hetzler (285) took third, going 3-1 with two pins.
He decisioned Rito Alvear of Woodmore 4-2 in the third-place match.
“Jake (Hetzler( just had a few little mistakes,” Kaye said. “He had a good tournament and is learning and getting better.”
Darien Tipps-Clemons (182) went 2-2 to finish fourth.
He recorded a pin to get to third-place match and nearly pulled out a win, before losing 10-7 to Jeffrey Jerry of Dublin Scioto.
“He is a freshman and at that weight, you don’t wrestle freshman very often,” Kaye said. “And when he does wrestle a freshman, it seems like it is a junior high state champion. It is a tough weight class for freshman and he is paying his dues and coming along.”
Nick Baker (113) was 2-3 with two pins, while Jesse Ceyler (103), Brandon Gist (132), Brennan Hicks (138), Blake Wright (160), Desmond Carter (220) and Jerry Sanders (220) all went 1-2.
Gist, Hicks, Wright, Carter and Sanders all won by pin.
Piqua will wrestle Troy in the state duals Wednesday at Marysville.
Brown was one of three Lehman wrestlers to place.
Brandon Simmons (138) finished third, while Cole Hofmann (170) took fourth.
After dominating his first three matches with two pins and tech fall, Brown was put to the test in the semifinal and finals and answered both challenges.
After a 4-3 win in the semifinals, Brown recorded a 5-4 victory over Cameron Wallace of Dublin Scioto in the title match.
“I need tough matches like that,” Brown said. “It kind of fired me up (when Wallace got the first takedown).”
Brown quickly reversed him and it was 3-3 with 1:01 remaining in the match when Brown got the takedown that would decide it.
He let Wallace up with about 30 seconds to go to make it 5-4 and neither wrestler scored after that.
“I knew I had it (after the takedown),” Brown said.
Lehman coach Cameron Haller couldn’t have been happier with Brown’s performance.
“He had two great matches today in the semifinals and finals,” Haller said. “Really tough guys. And in both matches, he was able to get the takedown in the third period when he needed it and hold on for the win.”
Simmons recorded a 20-9 win over Oscar Layne of Dublin Scioto in the third-place match.
Hoffman was pinned by Cameron Miller of Triad in 3:45 in his third-place match.
“Freshman Brandon Simmons wrestled extremely well and went 4-1 on the day to earn third place,” Haller said. “We had seven wrestlers and all of them had at least one win. They were all able to earn points for the team today. We are building our program and today was a positive step.”
Lehman will wrestle at Covington tonight and in the state duals at Mechanicsburg Wednesday against Madison Plains.