TC’s Big 3 moving on

BOWLING GREEN – Forget the three guys that play basketball in Miami. Columbian wrestling has its own version of the Big Three and each are moving on to next week’s district tournament.

Derik Kopp, Mason Correll and Seth Williams all qualified for districts out of the Division II Bowling Green South Sectional Saturday.

Williams won the sectional crown at 152 pounds while Kopp took second at 132 and Correll third at 138.

“Every tournament we go to, we can count on those three to do well,” Columbian coach Chad Long said.

In a rare instance over the course of this 40-2 season Williams has put together, the returning third-place state finisher faced a bit of adversity.

After pinning Wes Walter of Bryan in the semifinal, Williams fell behind Clyde’s Blake Miller in the championship match.

“Seth got taken down right away, faced a little adversity,” Long said. “But he came back and mentally beat the kid down the rest of the way and won 7-3. I thought he looked pretty good.”

Kopp opened his day Saturday with an 11-1 major decision over Francisco Chavez of Defiance. He faced off with Elida’s Nick Pauff in the finals and trailed by three points late. According to Long, Kopp was in position to turn Pauff for a possible pin, but the referee stopped the action when he felt Pauff was in a position to possibly get injured. After the restart, Pauff picked up two more points and a 10-5 win.

Kopp’s semifinal win over Chavez though was his 150th career win. Long said he’s impressed with what Kopp has done this season moving up four weight classes from last year.

“It’s the first time in school history (a wrestler reached 150 wins),” Long said. “Kopp’s been wrestling awesome the whole year and (his) whole career actually. He wrestled 106 his whole career, now he’s at 132. We thought he’d struggle, but he’s been wrestling great. It’s a huge accomplishment. He’s put in a lot of hard work and dedication throughout his career. Nice to see him get it and be rewarded.”

After picking up two pins in Friday’s first day of competition, Correll dropped his 138-pound semifinal to Dakota Flores of Clyde.

Correll responded by scoring a 10-0 decision over Celina’s Andy Garwood and delivered a 7-3 decision over Napoleon’s Logan Mahlman to win third place.

“Mason Correll, he’s not a pinner by no means, but he came out and got two pretty quick pins,” Long said. “He faced Dakota Flores from Clyde in semis and lost 9-6, but he wrestled a little sloppy. He came back in his third-place match, he wrestled a little better than what he did against Dakota. He came through.”

Columbian also got a sixth place finish from Kyler Lange at 113 pounds and a fifth from Adam Oakleaf at 195.

Oakleaf picked up a pinfall win Friday before dropping a championship semifinal and consolation semifinal match on Saturday. He won his fifth place match by default, making him an alternate for next week’s district, back at Bowling Green.