Blackman’s coaching staff arranged a “business trip” to Cincinnati, Ohio to give the Blaze an opportunity to spend some quality time together and test themselves against out of state competitors. Getting out of the local area is a good way to get a feel for how the team is performing compared to other schools in areas of the country where wrestling is a little more prevalent and popular. It’s also nice to be able to compete with kids that we will not see in our own state.
The Blaze travelled to Cincinnati, Ohio for the Oak Hills Duals at Oak Hills High School. Four Ohio teams and one Kentucky team were on hand with Blackman being the lone outsider. The Highlanders have excellent facilities and their coaches and staff treated us very well!
Wrestling started on time with Blackman taking on Bellbrook. Bellbrook is located close to Dayton so their team did a little bit of travelling as well. The dual started off at 106 with Alex Rose earning a 9-0 major decision. Starting the day on the right foot is important and that positive momentum carried us in the dual. Blackman battled tough and only lost two individual matches. Bradford gave up a major to Ohio state qualifier (and Old Dominion signee) Ben Sherrill and Dylan Stebbins lost a close 4-2 decision. Blackman pinners were Peyton Adams, Jalen Brown, Brooks Sacharczyk, Landon Fowler, Jaylan Hughes, and Blake Barrett. Final Score Blackman 66 – Bellbrook 7.
Next dual was against the host Highlanders. Oak Hills has a strong wrestling history and they are known for having several district and state qualifiers. The match started off at 113 with Peyton Adams losing by fall. Savage got a major decision and Liam Elam lost his match by fall. After three matches, the Blaze were down 12-4. Blackman stormed back with a decision from Marlatt and two pins from Daniel Bradford and Dylan Stebbins. (19–12 Blaze) The Highlanders won the next match at 152 as Ohio state qualifier Justin Taylor scored an 8-2 decision over Jalen Brown. From there the Blaze took over. Sophomore Brooks Sacharczyk earned a 2-1 decision over Oak Hill Senior Chase Haehnle, Landon Fowler pinned Harrison McKee, and Ryan Heath pinned Christian Neyer. Jaylen Hughes was pinned at 195 and both Blake Barrett and Jamil Hughes got pins to seal up the dual. Final Score Blackman 52 – Oak Hills 21.
Lakota East is located in North Cincinnati and they also have a good wrestling tradition. Based on scouting reports, they graduated several seniors last season and have had a few injuries at this point. In the first match of the dual, Lakota East district qualifier, Cristian Chavez pinned Jeremiah Savage. East followed that effort with another win by their Senior Sean Ackerman (over Liam Elam). The Blaze finally got on a roll and won ten out of the next twelve. Pins were scored by Marlatt, Stebbins, Bradford, Brown, Sacharczyk, Fowler, and Alex Rose. Final Score Blackman 58 – Lakota East 22.
Covington Catholic is across the Ohio River in Kentucky. They are known for producing a few good wrestlers and for their state championship football team. They may have been a couple of guys down this weekend as they were only able to fill 10 out of 14 weight classes. The dual started off with Blaze Senior Daniel Bradford earning a major decision over 12th ranked (KY) Mannie Murrer. From there Blackman raided the Colonels and scored pins in EVERY match. Pinners were Bradford, Stebbins, Brown, Gabe Gomez, Sacharczyk, Fowler, Riley Hanner, Barrett, Jamil Hughes, Adams, and Savage. Final score Blackman 82 – Covington Catholic 0.
The final dual with Lebanon High School was certainly the most entertaining. Lebanon is very competitive in their district in Ohio and they were also undefeated on the day at Oak Hills. The dual started at 132 with Marlatt getting caught in a nasty banana split and losing by fall. Daniel Bradford earned a major decision at 138 and Dylan Stebbins was pinned at 145. At this point, it was 12-4 Lebanon. Jalen Brown was not to be denied and he locked up his patented far-side cradle and earned a 21 second pin. Gabe Gomez was having a solid match but ended up losing by fall at 160. Brooks bumped up a weight class to face Lebanon senior Evan Ball. Ball is a tough competitor and jumped out and got the first takedown. Brooks was down 3-5 before finally connecting with an inside trip to take Ball directly to his back and get the fall. (Blaze 16 – Lebanon 18) The back and forth would continue as Blackman’s Landon Fowler got a pin at 182 and Jaylen Hughes lost by fall at 195. Blake Barret got a pin at 220 and Lebanon gave two forfeits at 285 and 106. At 113, Adams was pinned and with only two matches to go, Blackman only had a 10 point lead. (40-30) At 120, Jeremiah Savage fought a very tough match and won by decision. That victory put it out of reach for the Warriors. They would go on to pin Elam at 126. Final Score Blackman 43 – Lebanon 34.
Once all the hands were shaken and all the congratulation given, Blackman hit the bus for the ride home. As it turned out, it was snowing in Cincinnati and for our guys, this was the first snow they had seen all year. Our parents and bus driver were not too happy as road conditions were a little slippery at times and things were very slow on the way home.
All in all, everyone made it home safely and it was a very successful weekend of business. All the experience should provide a good base to build on as the Blaze prepare this week for the coming Bradley Invitational this Friday and Saturday in Cleveland.
If you have the means, get to Bradley this Friday and Saturday and you will see some of the best high school wrestling anywhere in the state!! We are hoping to have multiple champions but it won’t be an easy road!!