The annual John Deno Wrestling Invitational takes place at Athens High School. Twenty teams participated this year at the event. The McClain Tigers finished in the upper half of the field at seventh place. FAC rivals Hillsboro finished in eighth and Jackson finished in thirteenth. Finishing ahead of the Tigers were Nelsonville-York who won the tournament and New Lexington who finished as runners up. Westfall was third, Athens was fourth. Circleville finished in fifth place and Gallia Academy finished in sixth place.
The highlight of the tournament for MHS was Keegan Rawlins (152) passing Jake Badgely for the all time wins record at McClain. Jake held the record at 135. Keegan now has broken that mark and will continue to set the bar through the remainder of the season. Keegan now has 138 career wins and another tournament championship, going 5-0 on the day, defeating Colt Hanson of Morgan in the semi finals by a score of 9-4 and Layne Talbot of New Lexington in the finals by a final score of 7-4. Keegan recorded his 136th victory, to break Badgely’s record, by an injury default over Brennan Greene of Jackson in round 3, setting up his semi finals match.
The Tigers had another finalist, Ethan Taylor (195). In round three, Taylor defeated Jonathon Vanover of Vinton County by a score of 5-3. Moving into the semi finals, Taylor faced a very fast opponent, Seth Duvall of Circleville. Taylor outlasted Duvall with a hard fought 5-4 victory. In the finals, Taylor would face Deegan Boris of Hillsboro for the second time in the last three days. The match was scoreless with less than twenty seconds left when Boris was able to make an escape from the bottom position and hold off any takedown and secure a 1-0 victory. Taylor finished at 4-1 on the day and in second place.
Freshman Kade Rawlins (220) went 3-2 on the day, finishing in fourth place. Kade was the fourth Tiger to eclipse the 20 win mark on the season. Kade now has a season record of 21-5. Lucas Jansen (106) became the fifth Tiger to reach 20 wins on the season. Lucas is now 20-6 after splitting even on the day at two wins and two losses on the way to his fifth place finish.
Dawson Jansen (126) and Kyler Trefz (182) both finished in sixth place with Dawson going 2-3 on the day and Trefz going 3-2. Zane Bode stepped up for the team, bumping up from his backup position at 160 and wrestling the vacant spot usually filled by Phil Waters at 170. Bode gained valuable points for the team by going 3-2 on the day and finishing in seventh place. Jacob Barton (145) bumped up a weight class for the team but was unable to secure a victory, going 0-3.
The remaining four varsity wrestlers: Quinton Smith (132), Jake Krafthefer (138), Nathan Franz (160), and Kai Borrelli (285) all went 1-2 on the day.
There were a few JV matches set up for wrestlers that were unable to make it into the tournament. Justin Kegley (182) went 3-0 in his JV matches.
Up next for the Tigers is the State Duals. MHS is the first seed in the 14-A-Lower Region. McClain will face the winner of Zane Trace and Hillsboro for the right to move onto round 2. The matches will start at 5pm on Wednesday, January 24 at Zane Trace High School.
Submitted by Shane Paul the head wrestling coach for McClain High School.