For the second year in a row, the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association is putting on a statewide girls tournament, with districts being newly introduced this year.
Montpelier will be taking part for the first time.
The Locomotives — who have girls on the team for the first time in program history this season — will be sending sophomore Makaya Crisenbery (121-pound weight class) and freshman Jacee Altaffer (111) to the Northwest District tournament on Sunday at Marysville High School.
“It’s been a breath of fresh air to have the girls in the room,” Montpelier coach Troy Roth said. “The guys have taken to them, accepted them and it’s just refreshing and comical at the same time with some of the things that they ask.
“Because usually the guys, they understand what’s going on, and these girls are just asking questions away — we’ve just got to giggle every once in awhile. Then I’m like, ‘Well, yeah, I guess they don’t know this and they don’t know that.’ It’s been fun.”
Altaffer, who has a 16-14 record so far this season, will be in a weight class that has three other girls, including Archbold’s Logen Bowerman. Crisenbery (8-23) will be in a field with eight other wrestlers.
“(I’m) excited to see what they can do against girls,” Roth said. “We took them to a girls tournament way down south in Ohio a few weeks ago, and they had some success down there. They really like going against competition where they have a chance to succeed.”
Liberty Center is the third Northwest Ohio Athletic League team that will be represented. Alexus Shaneyfelt (126 pounds) will join Altaffer, Crisenbery and Bowerman.
Other wrestlers around Williams County participating include Napoleon’s Kloe Wulff (137) and Kylie Roberts (189), Tinora’s Heidy Monnin (101) and MaKenna Helmke (137), Defiance’s Carmela Castaneda (126) and Ayersville’s Kaitlyn Ketcham (131).
Altaffer and Crisenbery, along with girls from three other districts (Northeast, Southeast and Central/Southwest), are looking to advance to the state tournament on Feb. 20-21 at Hilliard Davidson High School.
The top four finishers in each weight class will move on to the state tournament.
“They’re very excited and they’re very nervous,” Roth said. “They know they need to be in the top four to move on from districts to state, and I think both girls are good enough to do it. Hopefully they can put that together.”
OHSAA changes state wrestling, ice hockey tourney locations
The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced in a press release Thursday this year’s state wrestling tournament will be at three different Central District high schools — Hilliard Darby (Division I), Marengo Highland (Division II) and Marion Harding (Division III) — and not at the Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.
The ice hockey tournament will be held at the OhioHealth Ice Haus in Columbus, which is attached to Nationwide Arena, instead of the Nationwide Arena because of scheduling conflicts.
All wrestling and ice hockey state tournaments will take place on March 13-14.