Posted: 3:24 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013

Wrestling notes: Breakthrough win puts charge in Branham

By John Cummings

Miamisburg’s Jordan Branham had finished fourth, seventh and third at the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association’s Holiday Wrestling Tournament before breaking through and claiming the 138-pound title this season as a senior.

“This tournament has been a disappointment for me year in and year out,” Braham said shortly after claiming the title with an 8-6 overtime win to improve to 19-3. “This was the lowest I have been seeded; it feels good to be the fifth seed and win it.”

Now Branham is hoping the Holiday breakthrough will translate to success at the state tournament in March. In his first three trips, Branham is 1-6 in Columbus.

“I have to have the mindset I had at the end of the match (in the finals),” Branham said of scoring six of the last seven points to force overtime. “I have to keep attacking and pushing and not let the atmosphere get to me like it has in the past.”

Roll interrupted: Twin Valley South 220 Dustin McKee entered the Tipp City Holiday tournament on a roll after pinning his way through the Madison Invitational, but was stopped in the semis by Thurgood Marshall’s Mario Bell. Fenwick’s Ben Stegbauer then claimed a 12-8 shootout win over McKee in the match for third place, dropping him to 18-2 on the season.

Successful road trip: Troy Christian, Centerville and Carlisle all came home from the Brecksville Holiday tournament with top 15 finishes. The Eagles got titles from Garrett Hancock (120) and Jordan Marshall (152) while Carlisle got a title from Jimmy Sandlin (160).

In all, the Miami Valley had almost half the champs at Brecksville, winning five of the 14 weight classes. Dayton Christians Jacob Danishek claimed the 145 pound title and Fairmont’s Matt Denlinger improved to 23-0, beating Carlisle’s Jason Sandlin 3-2 in the semis en route to claiming the 132 title.

Rams rolling: The Badin wrestling team completed a successful 2012 portion of their schedule with six Rams sporting winning records heading into the final two months of the season.

Dale Gibbemeyer has the best record inside the Greater Catholic League at 170, posting a 7-2 mark to date. Justin Anderson (11-5 at 126), Austin Webb (10-6 at 132), Mike Getz (11-6 at 138), Adam McCarrick (9-3 at 160) and Matt Sander (7-4 at 145) have also posted a winning record to date.

Big road trip: Graham heads to New Jersey this weekend for a showdown Saturday at 8 p.m. with Blair Academy.

Blair is ranked first nationally and has eight wrestlers ranked in the top 20 in their weight class by Intermat Wrestling, including former Miami Valley HS wrestler Matthew Kolodzik, who is ranked second at 120.

Graham enters as the ninth ranked team and is led by top ranked Bo Jordan (160). Micah Jordan is ranked second at 132, Eli Stickley is fifth at 106 and freshman Alex Marinelli is ranked eighth at 152.

On deck: Fairfield will host the Ray Masanek Fairfield Invitational Friday and Saturday at Fairfield High School.

Butler, Centerville, Hamilton, Lakota East, Lebanon, Middletown, Monroe, Ross and West Carrollton are among the teams that will join the host Indians in the field. Wrestling begins at 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Bellbrook Invitational begins on Saturday at 10 a.m. with Valley View, Chaminade Julienne, Fairborn, Oakwood and Madison joining the hosts in the field.