Girls take center stage at Pioneer Classic


Not one, not two or three, but eight Delaware County girls wrestled their way to the championship match of their respective weight classes at Saturday’s Pioneer Classic at Olentangy Orange — an event that’s been going on for years, but included girls for the first time this winter.

Delaware Hayes’ Ari Avant (131 pounds), Big Walnut’s Aliya Martin (137) and Olentangy Berlin’s Maia Crumb (150) made the most noise, earning the right to stand atop the podium after picking up first-place points.

Avant pinned Lakota West’s Kate Telles in 3:23 to take top honors in her weight class while Martin, who was named the event’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, pinned Beechcroft’s Amara Allen in just 49 seconds and Crumb pinned Lutheran West’s Alayna Lopez in 1:26 to earn her hardware.

Big Walnut’s Cali Lang (106), Hayes’ Kelcey Dew (121) and Olentangy Orange’s Emily McManus (116), Anna Grabau (143) and Talia Mitchell (189) were locked-in as well, making it to the championship finals before settling for runner-up honors.

The Pioneers, who finished second as a team behind champion Miami East, also got standout showings from Natalia Muntanola (third at 131), Emily Duval (fourth at 101), Lexi Simmons (fourth at 106), Alya Castin (fourth at 111), Christy Wingert (fourth at 121), Alayna Smith (fourth at 160) and Ashley Graham (fourth at 170).

Miami East finished with 141 combined points to win the event, which coincided with the boys’ tourney and was the first girls-only varsity tournament ever to be wrestled in Ohio. Orange was second with 125 and Marysville smoothed out the top three with 90. Hayes finished tied for seventh with 42, Big Walnut was 10th with 41.5 and Berlin finished 13th with 24.

In boys’ action, Orange won the team title in its host event with 225.5 points while Carey and Firestone finished second and third, respectively, with team totals of 104 and 103.

Idell Ferguson (106), Keegan Knapp (132), Zach Miller (138), Ian Krider (145), Tristan Bluntschly (195), Geoffrey Kaminski (220) and Connor Kemmerling (285) powered the Pioneers with first-place performances. Luke Behre (113) was also steady, finishing second.

Kevin Cleveland Memorial

Evan Butcher (106) and Corey Hill (160) finished second in their respective weight classes to lead Olentangy Berlin at Saturday’s Kevin Cleveland Memorial at Dublin Scioto.

Kody Goffin (126) and Israel Foston (152), meanwhile, earned third-place finishes for the Bears, who closed seventh overall with 106 points.
Hayes’ Avant, BW’s Martin and Berlin’s Crumb win titles

By Ben Stroup

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