MOUNT VERNON — For the first time in the 18-year history of the Wazie Wrestling Classic, there were no individual champions from Knox County.
But there were some close calls. Very close calls.
Mount Vernon’s Dakota Riley, Tyler Harmon and Lucas Staten each finished second in their weight category on Saturday, as did Fredericktown’s Cody McGuire and Nolan Dilts.
Thirteen teams descended on Mount Vernon High School for the annual wrestling tournament, which has grown over the years to become one of the most prestigious early-season tournaments in central Ohio.
“A lot of the bigger schools were in this,” said Mount Vernon head coach John Brown. “It’s a nice tournament. The kids get five matches. We come in and see success, most of the time.”
Despite having no first-place finishers, Mount Vernon still managed third as a team with 407 points, behind Lancaster (499) and West Branch (495).
“We knew we weren’t in great shape,” said Brown. “I think we wrestled enough to learn some things that we’re doing wrong. ... We saw some things to reinforce and things we can learn from. That’s what the season’s all about, is learning.”
Among area wrestlers, McGuire’s match featured the tightest finish.
The 182-pounder faced Piqua’s Brandon Pummill for the championship. Pummill is a two-time district qualifier who uses his height to his advantage. He did so on Saturday as well, holding off McGuire for the win.
After landing a takedown to take a 2-1 lead in the second period, McGuire held on until the final seconds, when Pummill got credit for an escape to even the score.
With 45 seconds to go, Pummill got a reversal to give him a 3-2 lead. He then wrestled conservatively, avoiding McGuire until the final seconds. McGuire had a hold of Pummill’s leg, but could not get a takedown before the final buzzer sounded.
“I needed to act sooner,” said McGuire. “I had his leg, but it slipped away. I should have had it. I could have wrestled him five times, and they’d all be close matches. His style conflicted with mine.”
McGuire had seemingly an easy time getting to the final — three of his four initial matches ended by pinfall.