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Ada grapplers boast larger roster

By Cort Reynolds

The Ada varsity wrestling program has its biggest team in recent years as co-athletic director Eric Perkins takes the reins of the program after a two-year hiatus.

Just two of the 13 matmen on the roster are returning lettermen, but newcomers including seven freshmen show promise. "We are young but the roster is bigger," said Perkins. "It is exciting to have a roster with so many freshmen."

One senior, two juniors, three sophomores and seven freshmen comprise the roster. In one key loss, district qualifier Antonio Pettit transferred to Kenton.

Senior Jermey Cameron returns to the program after taking two years off. He wrestled as a freshman and is expected to wrestle at 132 or 138 pounds. "He had a good football season and is a good athlete," said Perkins. "He is real aggressive, goes full speed and commits fully. He is just a little rusty right now after not wrestling since he was a freshman."

Sophomore Clayton McClain is the other returning letterman. "We are expecting a good season from Clayton," said Perkins. "He finished sixth at districts last year, but it may be hard to get back depending on the weight class he is in…. He has been wrestling a long time and has a good feel for it."

Juniors Aydan East and Chase Caldwell are newcomers to the team.

Sophomore Aaron Arnett returns but did not letter last season. Sophomore Julian Grose also returns after he started out the 2020-21 season but didn't finish.

The seven freshmen have Perkins excited about the future of the program. Liam Vieira, Aedyn Beckwith, Trevor McGue, Rowan West, Josh Arnett, Colton Cole and Landon Simon complete the big group of frosh matmen.

Projected lineup by weight class:

113/120 Freshman Liam Vieira

120/126 Freshman Aedyn Beckwith

126/132 Freshman Trevor McGue

126/132 Sophomore Clayton McClain 

132/138 Freshman Rowan West

132/138 Senior Jermey Cameron

150/157 Junior Chase Caldwell

150/157 Freshman Josh Arnett

165 Freshman Colton Cole

165 Freshman Landon Simon

165/175 Junior Aaron Arnett 

175 Sophomore Julian Grose 

190/215 Junior Aydan East

As far as the league title is concerned, four-time defending champion Allen East is the overwhelming favorite again. Ada was unable to compete at the league meet last year due to COVID quarantines.

"It is a numbers game, and I think Allen East has five state qualifiers back," said Perkins. "Until someone beats them, they are the team to beat.

"Grove, Spencerville and Delphos have a lot of guys back. We have a chance to compete at the league meet," he added.

The Bulldogs are looking to continue their rebuilding mode behind their youthful roster. "We want to improve every day," said Perkins of the team goals. We want to approach every opportunity and see where we end up this season.

"As a group they work very hard," said Perkins of the team. "It is good having a mix of guys in the room in similar weight classes.

"Overall, we will rely on our experienced guys. I have high hopes for some of the freshmen who have wrestled before. 

Long-time coach Duane Brodman joins the wrestling staff this year. "It's great to have an experienced assistant," Perkins noted. "He has been coaching a long time and is invaluable to have around.

"It also helps to have another coach with different perspectives and new techniques," he added.

Ada opens its mat season December 4 at the annual Cory-Rawson Duals event. The Bulldogs are slated to host Bath and McComb December 20 in a tri-match. The Ada Invitational is set for February 5.

The Northwest Conference title meet will be at Bluffton Friday night, Feb. 18. "The Friday night league meet was well-received last year," Perkins observed. 

Sectionals will be at LCC in Lima on Feb. 25-26.