|Foes often end up as practice partners for State wrestling prep|
|Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:43 PM|
DELPHOS — It was a virtual who’s who of wrestling superstars at the St. John’s wrestling room this week.
As the wrestling season reaches its pinnacle this weekend with the State Tournament at “The Schott” in Columbus, practice partners are getting scarce.
“The wrestling community is unique because we will practice with other high school programs simply because the season is over for the majority of our teams after sectionals,” explained Blue Jay coach Derek Sterling. “Our handful of remaining wrestlers need someone to practice with, so I start rounding up potential practice partners from other schools during the regular season. Then at the district tournament, I invite area state qualifiers to join us for practice. We all have the same mentality that if you help us, we can help you.”
Keith Buettner, Blue Jay assistant coach and father of state qualifier Wes, said “I couldn’t believe the caliber of talent that was in the wrestling room this week when I opened the door.”
Keith was a state qualifier as a senior in 1984 and his other son, Will, also qualified as a senior last year.
Wes beat them both to the State Tournament, qualifying as a junior with a 41-8 record at 170 pounds.
Wrestling talent that practiced at St. John’s included a pair of sophomore teammates from Division II Shawnee. Hunter Lucas is undefeated at 36-0 wrestling at 106 pounds and Dylan Heffner qualified for State at 182.
Another sophomore that joined practice on Monday was the 113-pound Hunter Blaine from Elida, along with Austin Windle from Ada.
Senior Tanner Vermule from Jefferson was invited to practice by Coach Sterling after he qualified as a state alternate.
“I talked to Tanner at Districts and later to Coach Wilson about practicing together for the benefit of everybody,” added Sterling.
Vermule wasn’t the only Wildcat wrestler in the room as he was joined by State Champion brothers Stuart and Curtis Miller and 2013 qualifier Quinten Wessell.
Lima Central Catholic’s Jack Huffman, who placed third at the Troy Districts in the 195-pound division, practiced with 2012 State qualifiers Logan Heiing (St. John’s) and Gavin Windau (Columbus Grove). Huffman is 41-6 on the year and likes to “see the different styles of wrestling.”
The practice sessions are over for the year and wrestling competition begins at 3 p.m. Thursday on the campus of The Ohio State University and concludes on Saturday.