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Wells, Daniels and Franklin join unbeaten Swallow at Semi-State

And just like that Randolph County has just four wrestlers remaining in the hunt for a state championship.

Monroe Central’s Logan Swallow dominated at heavyweight, Union City’s Blayne Daniels and Nic Wells gave the Indians a pair at the semi-state, and Winchester’s Alex Franklin pulled off a stunning win in the quarterfinals to give the county four chances this Saturday at New Haven.

Randolph County could have had more, but in a field that includes many of the state’s top wrestlers, it’s a tall order to earn one of the top four sports in a respective weight class. Many very good wrestlers don’t get this far.

In order to qualify for the semi-state, a wrestler needed to win his first match, which guarantees a place in the top four. But seeding can be quite important, so those wrestlers who won their first match continued to fight for placement.

Swallow, Monroe Central’s all-time leader in career wins, dominated the heavyweight class and improved to 40-0. After pinning his first two opponents he faced Delta’s Evan Hill, who he had beaten earlier in the sectononal, in the championship bout.

Swallow, known in brown and gold circles as “The Beast,” quickly took the lead with a pair of takedowns and went on to an eventual 13-3 win, giving up three points by letting Hill escape three different times. Bears’ coach Kevin Driskill said only one wrestler has legitimately scored on Swallow this season.

Swallow becomes the first Monroe Central wrestler since Adam Willis in 1997 to win a regional championship.

Swallow takes his unbeaten record up against Northridge senior Rhent Addis (21-14) in the first round at the semi-state.

Union City’s Nic Wells (25-8) pulled off a big win in the quarterfinals at 152 lbs. when he pinned Delta’s Zach Morgan (23-12) at the 1:43 mark of the first round. The win guaranteed his place at the semi-state. Wells had to settle for fourth place after losing by a pin to Josh Beeks (27-2) of Southern Wells, then losing a hard-fought sudden death battle to Alec Mowery of Bellmont (14-10) in the match for third place.

Wells will wrestle No. 1 seed Oliver Eveler (34-5), a Northridge senior in his first match at the semi-state.

Union City sophomore Blayne Daniels, at 138 lbs., improved to 32-4 by winning his first match over Winchester’s Reed Brandenburg (30-12) by a 9-7 decision. Daniels lost by technical fall to Cowan’s Rony Abbott in the semifinals and then lost by a fall to Norwell’s Eli Johnson (25-7) in the battle for third place.

Daniels faces Carrol Regional champion Elijah Chacon (34-5) of New Haven in his first match at the semi-state.

Winchester senior Alex Franklin pulled of a big win in the quarterfinals by pinning Norwell junior Quinn Drieband (19-8) at the :40 mark of the first round. That win punched his ticket into the semi-state. Franklin settled for fourth when he was pinned in :08 his semifinal match against eventual champion Caden Friedt (33-3) of Bellmont, a senior, then was also pinned in 1:53 in the match for third by Yorktown senior Tyson Enis (27-6).

Franklin has a tall order at the semi-state as he is paired up against top seed Matt Lepper (35-2), a junior from Carroll who was the regional champ at the Carroll Regional.

The other 10 Randolph County wrestlers lost their opening matches and failed to advance. Winchester’s Trenton Ragon (20-19) lost by a fall in :34 of the first round to Jay County’s Ethan Reiley. Falcon Zach Bates (26-10) lost by decision to Bluffton’s Dylan Hernandez (34-5). Winchester’s Reed Brandenburg  (26-12) lost a 9-7 decision to Union City’s Daniels. Falcon senior Gabe Keister (10-14) lost by fall in 1:03 of the first round to Jay County senior Mason Winner (38-0). 

Randolph Southern’s Tyler Fink (18-11) lost his first round match by a fall in 1:32 of the first round to Bluffton’s Landon Bertsch (39-0).

Monroe Central sophomore Jonah Jones (29-10) lost by a fall in 5:25 of the third round to Bellmont’s Garrett Manley at 145 lbs.; Gavin McComb (26-14) lost by a fall in 3:07 of the second round to Josh Beeks (27-2) of Southern Wells; Hunter Page (32-6) lost a close 8-6 decision to Bellmont’s Isaac Friedt (23-10) and freshman Kaleb Gray lost by fall in :41 of the first round to Cale Gray, a Norwell senior.

Four regionals feed into the New Haven Semi-State. The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state finals. Wrestlers must win their first two matches in order to finish in the top four places.

Bellmont finished first on the day with 130.5 points, edging out Delta (123) and tjord-place Norwell (115.5). Monroe Central was 11th with 23 points, Union City was 13th with 13 points snf Winchester was 15th with 7 points.