Raiders rally past Chiefs to win own tourney

Ben Logan’s Hites gets 100th win and most valuable award

The battles between Benjamin Logan and Bellefontaine on the wrestling mat continued with another tight tussle Saturday afternoon.

This time, it was Ben Logan rallying in the final round of action to pass Bellefontaine 383-339 to win its own tournament title.

“We won a lot of key matches to win it,” said Ben Logan head coach Tony Grant. “That had a lot to do with us coming back to win it. We nearly won all the head-to-head matchups with Bellefontaine in the last round, and those were especially key.”

The Chieftains led 176-164 entering the fifth and final round of wrestling Saturday, but the Raiders grabbed win after win in those key matches to crown seven individual champions.

“We didn’t do enough to win for various reasons,” said Bellefontaine head coach Rick Reed. “I’m not sure we exhibit- ed the proper amount of toughness to give ourselves a chance to win the tournament. We can control that, so it’s disappointing. That is my responsibility and falls on my shoulders.”

The tournament had to be altered because of Saturday’s less-than-ideal weather condi- tions. Five of the 11 teams were unable to attend, so Grant turned the meet into one six-man pool tournament.

“Once the weather hit, our thought was that we’ll have the tournament with whichever teams can make it,” said Grant. “It ended up working out really well. It was fast and efficient and most of the kids still got four or five matches in.”

Tecumseh finished third with 274 points, Brookhaven was fourth with 182 points, Clinton-Massie came in fifth with 168 points and Columbus East was sixth with 54 points.

Russ Hites highlighted the tournament for Ben Logan. The senior 138-pounder won his weight class by going 3-0, and in the process recorded his 100th career victory in the finals. He was also named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.

BL wrestling

ABOVE: Benjamin Logan’s Russ Hites has his hand raised after winning the 138-pound weight class and recording his 100th career victory Saturday at the Raider Invitational. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Bellefontaine’s Seth Newman holds down Ben Logan’s Connor Stewart during the final round of the 126-pound weight class. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | AARON LaBATT)

Hites defeated fellow returning district qualifier Chase Wilcoxon of Bellefontaine in the finals with a late takedown to grab a dramatic 5-4 win.

“Russ did a nice job,” said Grant. “He is a journeyman type wrestler. He isn’t flashy, but he stays solid and has averaged 25 wins a season.”

“Chase had a great tournament,” said Reed. “He had a great approach versus Hites in the finals. Russ is a solid kid and Chase wrestled up a weight class. It was a good match for both guys.”

Other tournament champions for Ben Logan included Caleb Houser (120), who went 5-0, and Connor Stewart (120), who went 4-0. Also winning their weight classes were Hunter Johnston (160), Ryan Sheeley (170), Alex Schinker (195) and Beau Swank (220).

“Beau did a nice job in his weight class,” said Grant. “Connor Stewart wrestled well and Ryan Sheeley had a nice comeback to win.”

Finishing second were Julian Cain (145) and Josh Hill (182), with a third-place finish coming from Dalton McCurdy (285).

Placing fourth was Wyatt Prince (106) and earning fifth- place efforts were Orin Reames (113), Tyler Thomas (132) and Mitch Current (152).

Bellefontaine had one champion in senior Joe Rindfleisch, who defeated Ben Logan’s Hill by an 11-1 major decision in 182-pound finals.

The Chieftains had a host of wrestlers come in second. That group included Logan Carr (106), Bryan Ward (120), Seth Newman (126), Chase Wilcoxon (138), Austin Allen (160), Jon King (195) and Eric Escamilla (285).

“This was the second tournament in a row where Bryan went 4-1,” said Reed. “He is really improving and fighting out there.”

Placing third were Max Wilcoxon (106), Jacob Houchin (152), Mike Pieper (170) and Bob Chapman (220), while fourth-place finishes came from Dylan Christman (113) and Lance Houchin (132).

Adding a sixth-place effort was Brendon Bodenmiler (145). Bellefontaine and Ben Logan are back in action Saturday for the Central Buckeye Conference tournament at Graham.