The McClain Tigers took the mats again on Saturday at Hilliard Heritage Middle School. Four teams were in competition in a super tri-match, with each team wrestling a total of two matches. The home team was Hilliard Darby, and the other two visiting teams were Hilliard Bradley and Trenton Edgewood.

In round one, McClain took on the home team, Darby. Darby was far and away the toughest team the Tigers have faced this year. McClain wrestled tough but was only able to secure one victory, with Quinton Smith (113) winning by a 7-5 score. The final team score was 70-3.

"We took this match because we wanted to wrestle Hilliard Darby. Darby has six wrestlers ranked in the top 17 in the state for Division I wrestlers,” MHS head coach Shane Paul said. “Keegan Rawlins lost in the finals last season in the Xenia Invitational to Tai Bloch of Darby by major decision (a decision by an 8-14 point margin). The matchup happened again in this dual meet.”

Bloch, who is ranked 12th in the state at 138 pounds, won again this time, but the match was a lot closer. This time, it ended with a 7-4 score.

“Keegan is a very tough wrestler and is a formidable opponent for almost anyone,” Paul said. “We take on all challengers. It will pay off in spades when all of these underclassmen become upperclassmen."

In round two, the Tigers faced another Hilliard team, this time Bradley High School. Bradley has one state-ranked wrestler in their 152 pounder Riley Amador, who is ranked 11th. Phil Waters (152) of McClain had a tough challenge for a freshman as he wrestled both the 11th-ranked and 13th-ranked (from Darby) wrestlers in consecutive matches.

He lost both matches but wrestled tough and actually had a far side cradle pinning combination locked up against Amador but wasn't able to finish the pin. Getting wins against Bradley were Smith (113), Dawson Immel (120) and Rawlins (145). Bradley won the round two matchup by a final score of 61-12.

McClain now sits at an even 8-8 on the season.

Individually, leading the Tigers was Smith (113) going 2-0. Immel (120) and Rawlins (145) both split even at 1-1. Matthew Milnes (126), Waters (152), Samantha Immel (160), Ethan Taylor (182) and Kai Borrelli (220) all stepped up and accepted the challenge and finished at 0-2.

Up next for McClain is the next installment of the South Central Ohio League tri-matches. McClain will host both Wilmington and Clinton-Massie on Thursday. Clinton-Massie is undefeated in league matches. The junior high teams will also be competing simultaneously on side-by-side mats. The matches begin at 6 p.m.