Monarchs win districts, send 11 to state.
The Aquinas wrestling team continued its hot streak winning the C3 District Tournament on Saturday at home and will send 11 of 14 wrestlers to state.
Aquinas had three wrestlers win gold medals including No. 1 Joseph Reimers (182 pounds), No. 2 Zach Zitek (113) and No. 4 Cameron Schrad (126).
“It feels good,” said co-head coach Eric Pflum after the tournament. “The kids work hard every day in practice, and this was one of their goals to go to state. You tell them to keep chasing their dreams and to keep chasing their goals, and that’s what they do.”
No. 1 Reimers received a bye in the first round before defeating Carson Rathje of Shelby-Rising City by 27-12 tech fall in the second.
In the semifinals, he won by 27-12 tech fall once again over Syracuse’s Jeremy Marrero. He then won the gold in a 32-17 technical fall over Kobe Wilkins of Arlington.
No. 2 Zitek pinned all three of his opponents on his gold-medal run. He received a bye in the first round and then went on to defeat Pierce’s Isaiah Adams in the quarterfinals.
Eli Wegrzyn of Lincoln Christian was his next victim. In the championship match, he pinned No. 4 Spencer Bridgmon of Syracuse.
No. 4 Schrad pinned Freeman’s Kyler Bigley in the first round and William Eppenbaugh of Arlington in the quarterfinals.
He then defeated Quenton Ackley of Ravenna 11-0 in the semifinals before pinning Milford’s Ethan Zegers in the championship.
Aquinas had two silver medalists - Nolan Schultz at 195 and heavyweight Owen Schramm.
Schultz received a bye in the first round and then pinned Kaden Cooper of HTRS in the quarterfinals. He followed that up with another pin, this time against James Meyer’s of Ravenna.
In the championship, he lost to No. 1 Ryder Fuchs of Pierce by pin.
Schramm received two byes to start the tournament, which placed him in the semifinals. He defeated Jalen Robinson of Norfolk Catholic 2-0 but lost to No. 1 Riley Moses of Fillmore Central.
Hunter Vandenberg (106), Nolan Eller (152) and Tad Naiberk (220) all placed third.
During the quarterfinals, Hunter Vandenberg won by major decision over Isaac Wegrzyn of Lincoln Christian 11-2.
He lost in the semifinals to No. 1 Konner Schluckebier of Milford by pin.
He bounced back in the heartbreak round pinning Fillmore Central’s Dillon Fushia.
Vandenberg defeated Jace Goobel of Syracuse 3-2 for bronze.
Eller won by fall over Milford’s Trace Rowland in the first round and by tech fall against Tyler Wetzel of Ravenna, 23-8, in the quarterfinals.
Kile Bentley of Centura pinned Eller in the semifinals, but Eller won his heartbreak round match against Nelson Emerson of Pierce by pin.
Eller won by tech fall over Tyler Wetzel of Ravenna 18-3 in the third-place match.
Naiberk received a bye in the first round and defeated Fillmore Central’s Tanner Kline 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
No. 2 Austin Simmons of Centura defeated Naiberk 6-5 in the semifinals.
Naiberk won by fall over Ilya Korneev of Lincoln Lutheran in the consolation semis.
He then defeated Dylan Kuehler of Pierce 6-1 in the third-place match.
“I’m pretty happy with how the day went,” Naiberk said. “I’ve been working really hard this season. It’s gone pretty well today. I’m pretty excited and happy with it.”
Three other Monarchs qualified for state placing fourth - Christopher Nickolite (132), Creighton Redler (138) and Ben Kment (170).
“It feels great,” Redler said. “I really knew that I had to go out there and get the win. The fact that I was there (at state) once, I really wanted to go back.”
Pflum echoed those thoughts.
“It feels good,” Pflum said. “That’s what we want to do. We push it all year. We want to get as many kids down there as possible. We get them down there and score points. That’s the only way to score points is to get them down there.”
One sour note on the day was No. 6 Noah Scott. He looked poised for state with a lead in the semifinals before suffering an injury. That injury held him out of the consolation semifinals and ended his season.
Luckily for Scott, he’s a sophomore with half of his varsity career remaining.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net