‘Doesn’t get old’: Centerville wins 4th straight TEC wrestling title behind 8 solo champs

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UNION CITY, Ind. — Before the start of the 132-pound weight class Tri-Eastern Conference championship wrestling match Saturday, Centerville head coach Mike Day took a seat in the northeast corner of mat No. 1. That’s where he stayed for the next six matches.

He watched Oshea Phillips pin his opponent 62 seconds into the match.

Next, Graham Butler held on for a 6-3 win.

Then, Devin Frazier pinned his opponent late in the first period.

Déjà vu hit when Luke Cannarella also eked out a 6-3 victory.

Leo Calderon racked up point after point, almost toying with the opposition, before pinning them in the third period.

Luke Tinkle did the same but rode it all the way through to earn a 16-3 win.

After coaching at mat No. 2 for a third-place match, Day took his place in that same northeast corner for a few more championship matches, where he watched Jonny Snyder get a pin in the first minute and Sebastian Collins top the heavyweights.

Day watched all eight from the same corner, and he embraced each of his newly crowned individual TEC champions before they walked back to the sideline to celebrate with their teammates.

“I’ve not sat in that corner quite a bit, so, no, it doesn’t get old,” Day said. “Being around it for a long time like I have, there are a lot of years you don’t get to sit in those corners. It’s fun.”

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The Bulldogs’ eight individual champions led Centerville to a dominant showing, recording a total team score of 274 points, almost double that of second place.

The Centerville Bulldogs pose for a picture after winning the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.
The Centerville Bulldogs pose for a picture after winning the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.

Calderon’s performance kept him undefeated on the season. As a senior, he said he takes pride in leading by example, and it brought him great joy seeing so many of his teammates step to the top of the podium Saturday.

“It felt amazing watching them,” Calderon said. “Those are my best friends. I’ve wrestled with them since I was young. I know what it feels like to be up there, and I know the emotions they’re feeling.”

This is the fourth year in a row the Bulldogs have earned the title of TEC champions, meaning the current seniors completed a four-year sweep of the tournament. On top of that, Day said this group of seniors won 101 duals in their four-year stretch, more than any other group he’s ever seen. They also won the 2022 Wayne County Tournament and placed third at state in back-to-back days. It all culminates into what Day described as “a fun ride.”

Earlier: Centerville wins Wayne County wrestling title after placing third at IHSWCA 1A state meet

“Best legacy in Centerville history,” Calderon said. “I would like to say it’s the best legacy of all time for Centerville, but we’re not done yet. We’ve got a sectional championship to win next week and, hopefully, a regional championship after that.”

Centerville's Leo Calderon and Winchester's Clayton Holder prepare to wrestle in the finals of the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.
Centerville's Leo Calderon and Winchester's Clayton Holder prepare to wrestle in the finals of the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.

Finishing two spots behind the Bulldogs was Northeastern with 149 points and three individual champions: Heather Crull, Jackson Ramsey and Michael Henderson.

Before the season started, head coach Corey Baker said, he had his eyes set on third place. As the season progressed, however, he believed a runner-up finish was much more attainable than he originally thought. Unfortunately, Clayton Gray, the second seed in the 160-pound weight class, was unavailable to compete, and the Knights finished just eight points behind Winchester for second.

“The kids that were here wrestled well,” Baker said. “The kids that were here wrestled to my expectations, and that’s all I can ask for. To walk out with three TEC champions and a runner-up — phenomenal day for a lot of wrestlers.”

Ramsey’s championship match was one of the more entertaining ones of the day, maybe more for Baker’s reaction than anything else. After trailing for the entire first period and the beginning of the second, Ramsey reversed the momentum, bringing his opponent over his head and down into a pinning position. As the referee slapped the mat to call the fall, Baker jumped close to four feet off the ground in celebration.

Northeastern's Jackson Ramsey and Union City's Bradin Daniels wrestle in the finals of the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.
Northeastern's Jackson Ramsey and Union City's Bradin Daniels wrestle in the finals of the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.

Ramsey won his bracket as an unseeded freshman but came up just short as a sophomore and junior as one of the favorites. To add more drama leading up to his senior matchup, his opponent was Bradin Daniels of Union City, who he split two matches with earlier in the season. Coming out on top Saturday was a nice finishing touch to the regular season.

“It made me really happy,” Ramsey said. “The past couple years, I haven’t been able to do that again after having that my freshman year. Just to have that again my last year before I leave means a lot, especially with that well-fought match.”

Also reaching the podium for Northeastern was Caleb Cohee, who finished second. Zane Schneider finished third. Wesley Beckman, Thane Berger and Calvin Berhalter all placed fourth.

Other podium finishers for Centerville include Bryson Hale and Nathan Westover, who finished second; Kyle Sheard, Conner Frazier and Mylan Nocton, who placed third; and Deshaun Whichard, who was fourth.

Hagerstown's Zach Golliher and Centerville's Oshea Phillips wrestle in the semifinals of the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.
Hagerstown's Zach Golliher and Centerville's Oshea Phillips wrestle in the semifinals of the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.

Lincoln and Hagerstown finished sixth and seventh as teams, respectively. While neither team had any champions or runners-up, they did put multiple wrestlers on the podium. For the Golden Eagles, Gavin Sherwood finished third, and Gage Sherwood, Riley Riggs and Anthony Monaghan each placed fourth. For the Tigers, Zach Golliher, Roy Thornbury and Chase Southerland all placed third, and Leeland Waterman finished fourth.

Lincoln's Gavin Sherwood and Centerville's Graham Butler wrestle in the semifinals of the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.
Lincoln's Gavin Sherwood and Centerville's Graham Butler wrestle in the semifinals of the Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament Jan. 22, 2022.

Each team will be back in action Jan. 29 to start sectional competition.

Zach Piatt reports on sports and education for The Palladium-Item. Contact him at zpiatt@gannett.com or on Twitter @zachpiatt13.

This article originally appeared on Richmond Palladium-Item: Centerville High School wins 4th straight TEC wrestling title

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