Madison’s Dawson relishes SWBL wrestling title

Madison’s Gunnar Dawson (top) gets backpoints against MIlton-Union’s Caleb Black during their 170-pound final match at the Southwestern Buckeye League tournament Saturday at Madison. Dawson claimed the title with a 18-6 major decision. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

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Madison’s Gunnar Dawson (top) gets backpoints against MIlton-Union’s Caleb Black during their 170-pound final match at the Southwestern Buckeye League tournament Saturday at Madison. Dawson claimed the title with a 18-6 major decision. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

Madison High School senior 170-pounder Gunnar Dawson was a little dismayed in early December.

The returning state placer had to sit out his last Madison Invitational because of a knee injury, but he made up for it in his last appearance in his own gym Saturday night with a 18-6 major decision to claim a Southwestern Buckeye League wrestling title.

“You have no idea. It was killing me not being able to wrestle,” Dawson said. “I had to miss my home tournament, so I knew I had to win league. To win it here is all that counts.”

Dawson recorded a pin, a technical fall and the major decision in cruising to the title.

The domination showed the Mohawks senior’s mental game may be catching back up with his physical game.

“My body knew I could handle it, but my mind was blocking me,” Dawson said. “Now I am 100 percent back mentally and physically.”

Super showdown: Carlisle 220 Reece Human was looking forward to the title match with Franklin's Wyatt Hillard.

Human, a returning state placer, recorded a second-period takedown and an escape in the third period to take a 3-0 win.

Hillard was a state qualifier as a freshman before missing last year with a knee injury suffered in football.

“I knew it was coming up, and it was something I planned for,” Human said. “I think it (two state qualifiers facing off) shows how the SWBL is pretty tough.”

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Carlisle’s Reece Human (right) battles Franklin’s Wyatt Hillard for position during their 220-pound title match at the Southwestern Buckeye League tournament Saturday at Madison. Human won his third title with a 3-0 decision. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

Carlisle’s Reece Human (right) battles Franklin’s Wyatt Hillard for position during their 220-pound title match at the Southwestern Buckeye League tournament Saturday at Madison. Human won his third title with a 3-0 decision. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

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Carlisle’s Reece Human (right) battles Franklin’s Wyatt Hillard for position during their 220-pound title match at the Southwestern Buckeye League tournament Saturday at Madison. Human won his third title with a 3-0 decision. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

The decision marked just the second time this year Human has had to go the distance.

“It was really good for me,” Human said. “I got to see how I’d do in the third period. It was nice to go the distance against another really good wrestler.”

To the wire: Milton-Union claimed its first overall team title since 2004 in a race that shifted back and forth during the finals.

The Bulldogs finished with 164 points, one more than second-place Preble Shawnee.

Milton-Union had two champs to one for the Arrows and claimed the only head-to-head battle in the finals with a 5-2 decision by 220 Tyler Courtright in the third-place match.

Senior moment: Prior to the finals, Madison coach Stan Oligee recognized the seniors from all 14 teams.

All seniors were called to the middle of the mat to be recognized for their work and dedication in the sport in front of their parents and fans.

Honoring Silvers: Eaton coach Mark Silvers was also recognized prior to the finals.

Silvers, who has won seven SWBL titles in 17 years as coach of the Eagles, will be inducted into the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame during the state tournament in Columbus.

Class act: Oligee started the day with a special moment.

Oligee had every team sign a special sign which was presented to Monroe 170 Will Striet from his wrestling family.

Striet weighed in on Friday but forfeited his first-round match to attend a memorial service for his mother, who passed away earlier in the week after a bout with cancer.

On deck: The sectional tournaments will be held Friday and Saturday with the top four in each weight class advancing to the district tournament.

Centerville, Lebanon and Hamilton will host Division I tournaments, Graham, Batavia and Washington Court House will hold D-II events, with D-III teams competing at Milton-Union and Sidney Lehman.

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