For the second conescutive year and just the third time in school history, the Gallia Academy wrestling program will be sending two grapplers to the state tournament following the conclusion of this weekend’s Division II district meet at Goshen High School in Clermont County.
The Blue Devils scored a program-best 66 team points at the district championships, which earned them an eighth-place finish out of the 41 teams that scored this weekend. Washington Court House won the D-2 title with 139 points, while Hillsboro came in as the runner-up with 119.5 team points.
GAHS, which had a record seven wrestlers at the district meet, had three grapplers finish in the top-six of their respective weight classes — including the program’s second district champion in as many seasons.
Senior Brandon Taylor joined Matt Watts (2011) as the only Blue Devils to ever win district titles after going a perfect 4-0 in the 170-pound division. Taylor will be making his second straight appearance at the state level, joining Ben Doolittle (2002, 2004) as the only two-time state qualifiers from GAHS. Taylor also becomes the first to do so in consecutive years.
Senior Zack Tackett, on the other hand, qualified for his first-ever state appearance after placing second in the 182-pound division with a 3-1 mark. Tackett becomes the eighth Blue Devil to ever reach the state tournament, and GAHS will be represented at the state tournament for a third straight winter.
Tackett and Taylor, a pair of Southeastern Ohio Athletic League champions, will be the third duo to wrestle for Gallia Academy at the same tournament. Taylor and Watts combined to score one point last year, while the 2005 tandem of Dustin Winters and Tommy Saunders produced five points collectively.
But while Taylor and Tackett prepare to finish their prep wrestling careers in style, this weekend also marked the end for all of the other wrestlers from Gallia Academy.
Freshman Cole Tawney went 3-3 overall in the 120-pound division to place sixth overall, becoming the only other Blue Devil to finish the weekend on the podium.
Senior Aaron Guisinger went 2-2 overall in the 285 weight class, while junior Mark Allen went 1-2 in the 160-pound division. Blake Wilson (132) and Ben Bush (145) both went 0-2 in their respective weight classes this weekend.
In Division III this weekend at Heath High School, neither Meigs nor River Valley managed to advance a wrestler out to the state level. The Marauders placed 39th overall out of 48 scoring teams with eight points, while the Raiders did not score a single point at the weekend competition.
Senior Blake Crow led MHS with a 2-2 mark in the 220-pound division, while Nick Hudson went 1-2 overall in the 160 weight class. The trio of Zach Sheets (285), Jeffrey Roush (170) and Chris Lester (132) all went 0-2 in their respective divisions for the Marauders.
Trae Cornell, River Valley’s lone district qualifier, went 0-2 in the 152-pound weight class after winning a sectional title last weekend. Nelsonville-York won the D-3 district title with 129.5 points and Caldwell was the runner-up with 118 team points.
Complete results of the 2012 Division II and Division III district meets at Goshen and Heath are available on the web at baumspage.com