By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
It is a big weekend for wrestling teams in the Greater Catholic League South Division. Elder is set to defend its championships in the annual Southwest Ohio Wrestling Coaches Association (SWOWCA) Coaches Classic that begins today at the Harrison High School ActivitY Center, while La Salle is preparing to test its mettle against four-time defending Ohio Division I state champion Lakewood St. Edward in a matchup of two nationally ranked programs.
Elder will attempt to successful defend its title for the second straight year in the Coaches Classic, which continues through Sunday, against a talent-laden, 49-team field that comprises top wrestling programs from Southwest Ohio (Cincinnati and Dayton), Columbus and Northern Kentucky.
Junior William Doepker, who placed at the state meet at 106 pounds last season, will wrestle at 113 to lead the Panthers’ title defense. Doepker won the 106-pound weight class at last year’s Coaches Classic as well. Senior Jordan Ward of Moeller, a three-time member of the All-GCL South wrestling team, will hit the mats at 138 when preliminary matches begin at 9:30 this morning.
The Panthers have won the event five times.
Like its GCL South colleagues, La Salle will face a stern test today when the Lancers host St. Edward, a 32-time DI state champion that is the measuring stick for teams aspiring to win a big school state title. La Salle, in fact, was ranked one spot ahead of St. Edward in the USA Today Super 25 preseason ranking, at No. 4. And the Lancers have been solid in the early season, winning the Franklin Invitational earlier this month.
The varsity match is set for 1 p.m. at La Salle.