By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Wrestling programs from the Greater Catholic League South Division took center stage Saturday in multiple locations, with La Salle earning a 35-27 victory over four-time defending Division I state champion Lakewood St. Edward in a dual match between two nationally ranked teams before an energized crowd yesterday afternoon in Montfort Heights. The Lancers were ranked No. 4 in USA Today’s Super 25 preseason rankings, with St. Edward at No. 5.
Meanwhile, GCL South colleague and three-time defending league champion Elder turned in a solid first-day performance and sits in fifth place entering today’s final day of competition in the annual Southwest Ohio Wrestling Coaches Association (SWOWCA) Coaches Classic being held this weekend at Harrison High School’s Activity Center.
For La Salle, the win against St. Edward cements the Lancers as a solid contender for the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Championships in the first quarter of 2019. The dual team tournament is set for February 10 at St. John Arena on the campus of The Ohio State University, while the individual state tournament will be held March 7-9 at OSU’s Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus. La Salle came in fourth place, with Elder sixth and Moeller at No. 12 in the 2018 OHSAA Individual State Wrestling Championships.
La Salle returns six wrestlers who placed at the state tournament last season – Lucas Byrd, champion at 113 pounds; Dustin Norris, runner-up at 106; Cassy Wiles, third place at 126; Antoine Allen, fifth at 120; Michael Baker, sixth at 195; and Trey Sizemore, seventh at 160. Against St. Edward, the Lancers posted wins in the final three weight classes to seal the victory – Baker (195), Garrett Bledsoe (220) and Rob Brown (285).
Elder, which has won the Coaches Classic the last two years, is fifth in the team standings after the first day. The Panthers enter today’s semifinals and finals with 97.6 points, trailing Fairfield, 125.5; Ross, 108.5; Harrison, 103; and Vandalia Butler, 100. GCL South wrestler advancing to today’s semifinals include William Doepker, Elder (113 pounds); Kurt Thompson, Moeller (145); Kelley Smith, St. Xavier and Seth Lammers, Elder (both at 152). Smith and Lammers will wrestle each other in the semifinals, guaranteeing a GCL South finalist in this weight class.