6 Rams returning to familiar spot

BOWLING GREEN – It could be argued that an early trip to Columbus has paid dividends for Upper Sandusky.

Or it could be that the Rams are simply just a very good team.

Either way, three weeks after going to Columbus for the state dual tournament, six Rams will head back down Route 23 to compete in the state wrestling tournament.

It was a big day for Upper Sandusky at the Division III district wrestling tournament at BGSU’s Stroh Center. Alex Kenner (152-pounds) and Tylor Pritchard (182) each won district titles as the Rams took second in the team standings behind champion Delta.

Coach Chris Rodriguez was, well, excited.

“Very excited. The boys are excited, parents are excited, everybody is excited,” he said.

Carson Mengerink (113) took second while Thurston Dyer (106), Cory Frey (160) and Dylan Robertson (195) all finished fourth, to round out the Ram contingent heading to state.

“We got one freshman, four juniors and a senior going,” Rodriguez said. “These boys gelled, they worked hard all season long in practice and it all paid off in the end.”

“It just shows how hard we work at practice,” Pritchard said. “With six guys, I don’t think that’s ever happened in our school history. That’s a lot of guys to go down at one time. To just say that I’m part of that team is awesome.”

Kenner picked up Upper Sandusky’s first district crown, handily defeating Seth Knoll of Riverdale, 10-2, in the finals. Three matches later, Pritchard was in one of the day’s most compelling finals.

The Ram junior trailed Logan Campbell of Crestview 6-4 with 15 seconds left, when Pritchard needed an injury timeout for an arm injury.

When action resumed, Pritchard scored a 1-point escape, then a 2-point takedown to take the match.

“It was just pure will. I just wanted to win,” he said. “I almost had a reversal. Coach said, ‘get an escape, get a takedown and get out of this thing.’ I listened I guess.”

Pritchard said the team’s trip the dual state tournament, had a positive effect on all the Rams.

“I think when your team does something like that it inspires everybody to say ‘Hey look. All of that hard work has paid off. So let’s keep doing it.”

“I think a lot of our kids, they never experienced anything like that,” Mengerink added. “For a lot of our freshmen, they saw our team is actually this good and we need to carry this on and it’s kind of a boost for everyone. It’s gets everyone behind us. The city, the school, everybody’s behind us at that point and it’s really nice.”

Mengerink picked up his 100th win in the championship semifinal when he beat Riverdale’s Kolten Martin by an 8-5 decision.

He said it was nice that his 100th win was the one that sent him to state. It also ended a string of disappointments at the district tournament in the previous two years.

“After I knew I was going to make the trip, it was just like a rush of emotions, because last year going 1-2, … my freshman year being one round out from making it, it was so disappointing. Now coming in and getting second place, it’s such a step up,” he said.