Rockets learning to compete against the area’s best

Mark Griffin

Oak Harbor’s 2019-20 wrestling lineup is dotted with veterans and young athletes, and coach George Bergman likes what he’s seen from the Rockets so far.
Oak Harbor opened the season by taking eighth out of 16 teams at the Findlay Duals, then placed second out of 10 teams at the Bellevue Invitational, which was won by the host Redmen.
“The guys are competing,” said Bergman, in his 28th season coaching the Rockets. “They go out there and get after it, and as a coach that’s all you can ask for. We have a young team. We only have two seniors, and only two juniors are starting. We’re throwing a lot of young guys out there, but they’re battling and competing and the coaches love that.
“You can teach them the technique, but you can’t teach them to fight. They’ve done a nice job; I’m very impressed. The future is bright, and if they keep battling, they have a lot ahead of them.”
The Rockets return three state qualifiers in senior Matthew Dewitz, who competed at 132 pounds last year, junior Tyler Davis (113) and sophomore Mike Judge (106). Oak Harbor graduated state placers Cam Dickman (third, 126 pounds) and Jake Sage (eighth, 195), who helped the Rockets take 21st in the Division III state tourney. Dickman is now wrestling at Tiffin University.
This year’s team won two out of five matches at the Findlay Duals, beating Eaton (53-24) and Medina Buckeye (39-34) and losing to North Canton Hoover (36-32), Bellevue (39-37) and Findlay (52-24). Junior Wyatt Miller, who beat a three-time state placer from Carey, won the title at 182 pounds at the Bellevue Invite and was named the most outstanding wrestler.
“Wyatt is probably the best wrestler on the team,” Bergman said. “He placed at Medina last year and probably would have placed at state, but he broke a small bone in his back near the end of the season and we shut him down. I think he would have placed at state last year. He has good quickness and is a very hard worker.”
Judge is currently competing at 113 pounds, along with Davis, but he should get down to 106 during the season, according to Bergman. Freshman Will Rahm took second at the Bellevue Invite at 106 pounds.
“A key for (Judge) is getting down to 106,” Bergman said. “If he gets down to 106, he can be on the podium down at state. He had a concussion in the second round last year and we pulled him from the tournament. He’s very strong and has good balance and speed.”
Davis is wrestling at 113 and 120 pounds and is a two-time state qualifier. Freshman Owen Miller placed third at 120 at Bellevue.
“Tyler is hungry and his goal is to be on the (state tourney) podium this year,” Bergman said. “I think he can achieve that at 113.”
Sophomore Cade Petersen, who won two matches at the district tournament last year, will wrestle at 132 pounds, followed by Dewitz at 138. Dewitz, who is also competing at 145 pounds, is a team captain and won a title at Bellevue for the third time. He also earned his 100th career victory.
“Matthew is a great kid and a great leader,” Bergman said. “He’s definitely one of the better captains I’ve had. He has outstanding technique and he truly loves this sport. He will be wrestling somewhere in college. He lost two close matches at state last year, and this year he is looking to right two wrongs and end up on the podium.”
Sophomore Robbie Jacobsen will see action at 138 pounds, while sophomore Jack Zeitzheim is at 152. Zeitzheim won two matches at last year’s district tournament and is expected to move down to 145 pounds when Dewitz ultimately drops down to 138.
“Jack did a super job last year as a freshman, and he’s hungry and working hard,” Bergman said. “He’s an intelligent wrestler and he’s strong. This year he wants to take that next step from districts to state.”
Sophomore Ben Sage and freshman Broch Mansor compete at 160 and 170 pounds, respectively. Senior co-captain Nathan Mansor is at 195 after competing at 160 last season.
“Nate leads more by example; he’s quiet,” Bergman said. “He and Dewitz, who is more vocal, do a great job as captains. Nate has grown quite a bit and he’s just getting better and better. He had a nice year for us last year and got a win at the district tournament. We’re hoping he keeps improving and makes it down to state this year.”
Freshman Gavin Barr competes at 220 pounds. The Rockets do not have a heavyweight.


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