It seems that Kenton Ridge hasn’t missed a beat.
In fact, judging from the results of Saturday’s Central Buckeye Conference, the Cougars are actually stronger than a season ago.
KR successfully defended its Kenton Trail Division title by easily outdistancing Stebbins 191-144.5.
That’s quite an accomplishment for a team that lost nine-year head coach Landon Pierce and two state qualifiers heading into the season.
It was nothing that rookie head coach Cameron Doggett did, at least according to him.
“We did pretty good,” said Doggett. “We have 12 weight classes filled, and 10 of the guys placed and of that 10, eight were in the top four.
“They come in and we work hard. This weekend, for the most part, everything was clicking for us.”
The former Graham state champion came into the tourney with open eyes, recognizing that perennial champion Graham was out of reach. So that left runner-up to shoot for.
“One thing I give Graham credit for is they are always ready to go, no matter what meet they are at,” said Doggett. “That’s what I’m trying to get my team to do. They saw how Graham does it and it was a good experience for us.
“Hopefully we can learn and grow from it.”
Doggett likes where his team is heading into the Division II sectionals at Tippecanoe on Saturday.
“I feel the guys are realizing their actual potential and are starting to believe in themselves more,” he said. “At the CBC, we believed in our skills and had a little bit of confidence in ourselves.”
It showed in the Cougars’ approach.
“All of the Kenton Ridge wrestlers were aggressive,” he said. “As a coach, that’s something you are more proud of than being at the top of the Kenton Trail.”
Doggett feels his team is due some respect for its accomplishments.
“We feel we have a tough team, and we feel not too many people realize that. But I’m glad we’re flying under the radar right now.”
On the rise: In case you didn’t notice, that was Catholic Central finishing third in the Ohio Heritage Conference tournament Saturday. The Irish had 232 points, besting Northeastern (213) by 19 points. It was the highest OHC finish in school history — impressive for a program that returned to varsity compeititon just three years ago.
Troy Nave (182) and Jared Panstingel (220) were individual champions for Central, while Jacob Morman (126), Anthony DeCarlo (132), Cameron Luther (160) and Matt Neiswinger (170) were runners-up.
Mechanicsburg (389) won, while Greeneview (276) was second.
Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0364.
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