Oak Harbor wrestlers national runner-up at Disney Duals
Twenty-two wrestlers and four coaches from Oak Harbor participated in the AAU Scholastic Dual Meet National Championships on June 27 through July 1 in Orlando, Fla.
The Rockets made the trip worthwhile by placing second out of 18 teams in the Community II Division at the tournament, also known as the Disney Duals. Each team was allowed to “pick up” wrestlers from other schools, and Oak Harbor added three wrestlers from Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic and one each from Fostoria and Port Clinton.
This year marked the fifth straight year the Rockets competed at the Disney Duals, but this was their best finish ever. Oak Harbor placed fourth three times, including last year.
“I knew on paper we had a nice team,” coach George Bergman said. “We didn’t really have any holes, where other teams we’ve brought down there had a few holes. Other (Oak Harbor) teams have had more superstars, but we were solid from top to bottom this year.”
Bergman said he and his program look at the Disney Duals as a springboard to the upcoming high school season. It’s also fun to compete against other teams from around the country.
“The kids really look forward to it,” Bergman said. “There’s only one weigh-in, so we weigh in the day before and don’t wrestle until the next day, maybe at 8, maybe at 10, maybe at noon. Then it’s all wrestling - who’s the better wrestler, not who can cut the weight better. The Ohio High School Athletic Association weighs (wrestlers) in one hour before you wrestle.
“In Florida they are eating three square meals and snacking and having a great time hanging out with their teammates. It’s great team bonding for the next year. Our goal is to prepare our team for the following year and find out who the leaders are and who’s going to step up.”
The Rockets won 10 of 11 dual matches, losing only to defending team champion Yorktown (Ind.), 64-6.
“They’re very good,” Bergman said. “They usually win Division II.”
The Rockets’ wins came against Illinois Top Dogs, Team Monster (Fla.), Suwannee (Fla.) Matmen, Evansville (Ind.) Memorial Blue, Clay (Fla.), Team Montana Sidney, Jasper (Ind.) Wrestling Club, Team Iowa Gold, and Orange City (Fla.) Wrestling. Oak Harbor defeated Skyline Sicknasty (Va.) in the semifinals before losing to Yorktown.
The Rockets’ team had one gold medal winner, senior Tony Reynolds of Fostoria, and one silver medal winner in alternate Trevor Scherf. The freshman competed at 120 pounds and finished with a 10-1 record.
Oak Harbor had six bronze medalists (minimum two losses) in freshman Bruce Hrynciw at 106 pounds, freshman Jacob Huston (113), sophomore Rhett Petersen (138), senior Corey Durbin of Fremont St. Joe (220) and alternates Stephen Simkus, a junior, and freshman Dylan Mansor (113).
Bergman said the performance of Hrynciw and Huston was a pleasant surprise.
“They did great,” he said. “Bruce was a junior high state champ after his seventh grade year. He’s been good for a long time. We figured he would do well. He’s not the biggest and he was undersized and went out there and fought like crazy and did a super job. Jacob was in the match to place at junior high state this year. He has the abiliity and has matured and stepped up and won some big matches for us.”
Bergman also liked what he saw from Petersen.
“He wrestled probably half the season on the varsity for us last year,” Bergman said. “He is a very intelligent wrestler and he took it up another notch at this tournament. Very impressive. He’s an excellent athlete, and you can see he’s growing as a wrestler and he’s going to be fun to coach in the next few years.”
Two wrestlers – junior heavyweight T.J. Lawrence and junior alternate Josh Beckhusen (170) - won copper medals for the Rockets.
“Our goal was to improve upon our fourth-place finish,” Bergman said. “To go and do it was extremely gratifying. They worked hard at our camp, and they came through.”
Nine wrestlers from Oak Harbor participated at the Lee Pamulak National Duals in Iowa. The AAU sanctioned event drew in 44 teams from all over the country.
Participating for Team Firehouse were Zach Losie, Trent Overmyer, Trent Ballard, Jacob Huston, Trevor Scherf, Dylan Thorp, Dylan Mansor and Jaret Parker. Scherf went 7-1, earning him a silver medal and All-American Status. Zach Losie wrestled as a team alternate and went 3-3 on the weekend, earning himself a copper medal, and All-American status. Team Firehouse took second in the Platinum bracket, going 3-5 as a team.
Participating for The Ohio Grapplers was Hrynciw, who earned a Copper Medal and All-American status as well by going 5-3 on the weekend.