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Yellow Jackets storm to title with 11 champs

02/02/2014, 12:27am EST

Newton a 4-time winner; Devils’ Vaughn crowned at wrestling meet.

Perrysburg’s J. P. Newton, top, scores back points against Anthony Wayne’s Jimmy Jagodzinski in the 152-pound final. Newton won his fourth straight NLL title.

Story updated at 4:02 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2014 to reflect the following correction: Perrysburg's Phillip Kokinakes (1977-80) was one of the NLL's four-time champions.

Perrysburg captured a record 11 individual championships on Saturday at Springfield to storm to its fourth straight Northern Lakes League wrestling tournament title.

The Yellow Jackets, who were without injured defending 220-pound NLL champion Mark Delas, put their other 13 wrestlers in title matches, and came within eight points of sweeping all 13 of those finals.

“I never thought about winning 11 championships,” Perrysburg coach Sam Cotterman said. “We take it one year at a time, and we work the kids very hard. We always hope we can get this many titles, but you never know. I guess I’m greedy, but I wish we had 13.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for photos of the tournament. 

Perrysburg posted 273.5 team points to easily defeat runner-up Anthony Wayne (121). Napoleon was third with 115 points, and Springfield was fourth at 97.

“I knew we were going to have a good day today because of the way the kids came back and worked on Thursday,” Cotterman said. “They suffered that disappointing loss to Clay Wednesday [in the Division I regional team tournament semifinals]. We lost [after a 30-30 tie] by criteria, and I know the kids didn’t like that.”

Highlighting the Yellow Jackets’ dominant performance were senior J.P. Newton, who became the NLL’s sixth four-time league champion, and senior Rocco Caywood, who took his third straight NLL title.

“It means a lot,” Newton said of his accomplishment. “It puts me in rare company. The other ones who did it were all great wrestlers, and it’s just good to be a part of that group.

“It was great today. Everybody stepped up and fed off of one another. We really got the ball rolling.”

Newton joined Perrysburg’s Jerry Metcalf (1970-73), Phillip Kokinakes (1977-80) and Russ Davie (1996-99), Rossford’s Jermey Espinosa (2004-07), and Springfield’s Garrett Manley (2007-10), as a four-time NLL champion. Caywood is one of 29 three-time NLL winners.

“My goal was four times, but I got three and three will do,” Caywood said. “Last year we had nine champions, and this year we have 11. That’s huge. It’s crazy.

“This takes some of the sting out of losing to Clay. It leads us into sectionals. It gives us a good look at what’s in the future for us.”

In the 106 final, Perrysburg sophomore Khyron Vidales (25-7 record) was in control from the outset, caught Springfield’s C.J. Leffler, and recorded the pin at 1:26 of the first period.

Perrysburg’s string of championships would be interrupted briefly early, when Napoleon sophomore Seth Beard grabbed a 2-1 lead after one period, added a reverse for a 4-1 edge after two, and held off the Jackets’ defending NLL champion Mario Guillen for a 5-3 decision.

Perrysburg then won titles in the next seven weight classes, starting with freshman Moises Guillen at 120 pounds. Guillen (23-5) spotted Southview’s Tanner Ruiz an early 2-0 lead, then gained control in the second period en route to a pin at 3:21.

In repeating his 2013 NLL title, Yellow Jackets sophomore Brock Jones (20-10) dominated Anthony Wayne’s Cameron Yates from start to finish of the 126-pound final, just missing out on a technical fall before settling for an 18-5 major decision.

Perrysburg freshman Josh Herhold (17-14) had little trouble with Anthony Wayne’s Reese Isenberg in the 132 title match, cruising to a 12-4 major decision.

Jackets sophomore Leo Romp (15-8) appeared destined to make short work of Napoleon’s Justin Miller, remaining in control until the closing seconds of their 138-pound final. But Romp, who held a 7-0 third-period lead in the 138-pound final, was taken down late and had to muster all of his strength to fight off a pin in the closing seconds of his 7-3 win.

In the 145 title match, Anthony Wayne’s Jordan Dennie scored an escape to get within 4-3 of Perrysburg junior Matt Waltermeyer (21-13) with just 15 seconds remaining in the third period. But Waltermeyer regrouped and answered with a takedown to take a 6-3 victory.

Newton (29-3), who is Perrysburg’s all-time leader in wins with 135, made easy work of Anthony Wayne’s Jimmy Jagodzinski in the 152 final, piling up points with a barrage of takedowns to score a 19-3 technical fall 1:26 into the second period. Newton will wrestle at Ohio State next year.

Yellow Jackets junior Dan Waltermeyer (28-6), Matt’s twin brother, then made it seven straight Perrysburg titles and eight out of nine when he scored a 5-2 decision over 2013 NLL champion Anthony Arroyo in a tightly contested 160-pound final.

The Jackets’ streak of wins in the final ended at 170 pounds, when Springfield senior D.J. Vaughn delighted the home crowd by taking an 8-4 decision of Perrysburg freshman Chase Newton.

“It felt pretty good to finally beat Perrysburg and end their streak,” said Vaughn, who is 24-7 this season. “I was waiting for it and anticipating it the whole tournament. It felt good [to hear the cheers from the home crowd]. They had been behind me the whole time.”

The Yellow Jackets closed their dominant performance by winning titles in three of the final four weight classes to close the tournament.

At 182, Caywood (32-3) became a three-time NLL champion when he claimed an easy 16-0 technical fall over Maumee’s Cahle Paul. Caywood won the league crown at 170 pounds as a sophomore at Maumee, transferred to Perrysburg, and repeated at 170 last year.

Springfield’s Ross Lonsway had a chance to become a three-time NLL champion himself as he took the mat for the 195-pound title match. But Perrysburg senior Kadin Llewellyn (32-4) spoiled that bid by taking an impressive 12-7 decision over Lonsway.

“[Lonsway] pinned me in the finals last year, so it was nice to get some payback,” Llewellyn said. “I was excited the whole time. He’s a really solid wrestler, but I knew his game really well, and what shots he was going to take. I just took what he gave me.”

Llewellyn had won an NLL title his freshman year at 152 pounds and lost to Caywood in the 2012 NLL 170-pound final.

After Bowling Green senior Tyler Jacobs delivered the most dramatic moment of the tournament in the 220 final, Jackets junior Cale Bonner (30-3) capped Perrysburg’s huge tourney effort by edging Springfield’s Kamal Smith 2-0 to repeat his 285-pound NLL title.

Jacobs trailed Southview’s Hunter Topolski 4-3 in the closing seconds before coming up with a takedown just before time ran out to emerge with a 5-4 decision.

Contact Steve Junga at:, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter@JungaBlade.

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