By Rob Kiser
KETTERING — Given the limited number of wrestlers competing, Piqua wrestling coach Scott Kaye was pleased with the Indians performance at the GWOC wrestling tournament over the weekend at Trent Arena.
The Indians finished second in the GWOC North and 11th overall with 74.5 points.
“Two have two guys wrestling for titles, five guys place and be in the running for the division (GWOC North) title most of the day, that is pretty good,” Kaye said. “This is a tough tournament.”
Both sophomore Sam Herndon (113) and junior Andrew Bolin (138) advanced to the championship match.
Herndon the second seed, locked up with third seed Josh Suddeth of Vandalia-Butler in the semifinals.
Six minutes of wrestling settled nothing, with it heading to overtime without either wrestler scoring.
With five seconds left in the one-minute overtime, Herndon got a takedown for a 2-0 win to advance to the championship match.
“I wasn’t sure how much time was left,” Herndon said. “I just knew I needed to make a move. That kid was a real good wrestler. He did a good job of countering everything I did.”
In the championship match, Herndon faced GWOC Central Wrestler of the Year, two-time defending champion and past state qualifier Chad Craft of Northmont.
He took Craft into the third period. Trailing 13-3, he got caught on a move and was pinned.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to get another chance,” Herndon said. “So, I went for the home run. You just have to wrestle quick against a guy like that. You just try to wrestle your best.”
Kaye thought Herndon did a good job.
“That was a tough kid in the semifinals and that was a good win for Sam (Herndon),” Kaye said. “He had to wrestle the Craft kid in the finals. We just wanted to try and make him work as hard as we could.”
Bolin stunned top seed Evan Pulaski of Centerville in the semifinals, dominating the match 10-2, while recording two nearfalls and giving up only an early takedown.
“I felt really comfortable with him,” Bolin said. “I had wrestled him before, but just a little bit in a practice.”
Even though Bolin was pinned by third seed Keyan Jumper of Wayne in the championship match, the fifth seed felt like he made his point.
“I felt like I was underseeded coming into the tournament and I wanted to show that,” Bolin said. “The kid was just a lot stronger than me.”
Kaye knew it would be a tough match.
“That was a big win for Andrew in the semifinals — he was just fundamentally sound the entire match,” Kaye said. “The two things we wanted to avoid in the finals was a scramble and a cradle and we did both.”
Tristan Hostetter (126) finished fifth.
Hostetter defeated James Claypool of Beavercreek 8-0 and got past Alex Renteria of West Carrollton 3-2 to earn a spot on the podium. After losing by major decision to Muayad Mustafa of Centerville, he decisioned Chris Cantrill of Sidney 5-2 in the fifth-place match.
Nick Baker (120) had to injury default his final two matches to finish sixth and Jake Hetzler (285) had a tough day.
Baker won by tech fall over Jacob Mikesell of Greenville and pinned Keilyn Paris of Springfield to earn his spot on the podium, before being injured against Sam Ridgley of Lebanon.
After advancing to the semifinals Friday, Hetzler was pinned three times Saturday and finished sixth.
“Tristan (Hostetter) did a good job on defense — he just needs to open up his offense,” Kaye said. “Nick (Baker) tweaked an injury — the match probably should have been stopped. At that point (the finals) we were out of the division race, so we didn’t feel like it would be worth the risk to wrestle.
“Jake (Hetzler) has wrestled some great matches and had some big wins. Sometimes, he is just his own worst enenmy. He just needs to eliminate the mistakes he made today.”
Brennan Hicks (152) won one match Saturday for Piqua, while Jesse Ceyler (132) and Clayton Crowell (170) also competed.
Piqua will be back in action Wednesday at the Troy Quad — with Greenville and West Carrollton.