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May 25, 2020

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Preview: Ada grapplers continue rebuild under new coach

Five of the 10 grapplers on the team are returning lettermen, with two freshmen and three junior newcomers filling out the roster

By Cort Reynolds
ADA - The traditionally competitive Ada varsity wrestling program enters its third consecutive season under a new head coach this winter in former Bulldog assistant David Ames.

Eric Perkins, who served as Ada head coach last season, has moved up into the atheltic director's role this school year. 

Ames served as an assistant for the highly-successful Allen East program over the past several years, but also previously assisted at Ada under the program's first head coach, Branden Nickles.

The Bulldogs are looking to continue an upward rebuilding mode after finishing sixth at the eight-team Northwest Conference title meet in 2019. For the first time in years, no Ada wrestlers made it to districts last winter.

Five of the 10 grapplers on the team are returning lettermen, with two freshmen and three junior newcomers filling out the roster.

"We only have 10 wrestlers out, but the 10 we have work very hard," said coach Ames.

Senior Reece Evans returns as a three-time letterman and will likely wrestle at 152 lbs. He is one of the team's two most experienced grapplers.

Promising senior veteran Noah Arnett, another multiple letter winner, is also back at the 285 lb./heavyweight division. 

Junior two-time lettermen Colton Biederman (120) and Cameron Bober (145) also return as experienced, capable factors for the Bulldog matmen. 

Veteran junior grappler Jeremy Cameron (113) is also expected to join the team after an early season restriction. 

Ethan Hull is out until at least January after surgery to repair a torn labrum.

The other weight classes will be filled out by freshmen and upper class newcomers.

Junior Wyatt Badertscher (132), junior Cole Anspach (152) and junior Johnny McClain (220) are all new to the program, but are expected to make major contributions.

Freshmen Antonio Pettit (126) and Kyle Mattson (160) round out the roster lineup.

Allen East three-repeated as league champion with 296.5 points to beat out second-place Bluffton (270) last season at the NWC championships. 

In third place was Columbus Grove (216), followed by Delphos Jefferson (130), Spencerville (75) and Ada (56). The Bulldogs finished ahead of Lincolnview and Paulding at the league title tournament. 

Ames expects AE, which has captured a league-best eight NWC crowns, to be the league favorite again. "Allen East is the team to beat, hands down," he noted. "Their juniors and seniors are strong, and I know first hand that they have a very good freshman class coming up," he warned. 

"Bluffton lost state champion DeAndre Nasser but looks ok, Spencerville is solid and Grove has some good wrestlers," he continued. "There is a lot of wrestling talent in the NWC, and we just want to make a name for ourselves."

Ames has set some reasonable goals for the team to attain this season.

"Ada has some solid talent, we just need to put the time in," he noted. "I want us to finish in the top half of the NWC.  

"We want to be better than we were last year," he said of the 2019-20 campaign goals. "I want to get three wrestlers to districts. Evans, Biederman and Arnett are capable of doing that, and Cameron could also possibly get there."

Ada opens its mat season December 7 at the annual Cory-Rawson Duals. The Bulldogs host Ben Logan and Fostoria February 5. They also entertain county foes Riverdale and Kenton Feb. 19 in a triangular meet.

The NWC title meet will be at Columbus Grove Saturday, February 15. Sectionals are at Lima Feb. 28-29.

Projected Ada lineup with weight classes:
113 - Jeremy Cameron 
120 - Colton Biederman
126 - Antonio Pettit
132-  Wyatt Badertscher
145 - Cameron Bober
152 - Reece Evans
152 - Cole Anspach
160 - Kyle Mattson
220 - Johnny McClain
285 - Noah Arnett 
Injured - Ethan Hull