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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Snider’s Matt Swartz, top, defeated Concordia’s Alex Kunkel for the 285-pound SAC championship Saturday at Snider.

Panthers pin down SAC crown

Snider achieves team goal of taking league wrestling title

– Snider’s SAC wrestling meet championship already had been decided, Matt Swartz’s shoulder was throbbing, and he had only 38 seconds to go before he could celebrate with his Panther teammates standing a few feet away in their home gym.

He had something else in mind.

“Score,” Swartz said. “I knew my team needed the points, and I really wanted to win SAC. So I just pushed myself.”

Swartz, trailing 3-2, proceeded to push his way to escape the grasp of Concordia’s Alex Kunkel to earn a match-tying point with 4 seconds remaining. He then dropped Kunkel during the extra session to win the individual title at 285 pounds and put the finishing touch on another conference championship for the Panthers.

Snider rode five individual champions and two runners-up finishes to the SAC title with 238.5 points. Bishop Dwenger was second with 212.5 points and Wayne third with 209.5.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for us,” Swartz said. “It’s something we’ve worked for since the beginning of the season. It’s the first thing we write on our board – SAC champs. It’s a great accomplishment.”

Winning the SAC was a goal that began about a year ago when the Panthers won the championship but felt short-changed when Dwenger won the SAC dual title.

“We won’t have to share it with anyone like last year,” said Snider senior Dustin Wells, who won a championship at 152 pounds. “It’s really important with our team. We talk about it all the time.”

Joining Swartz and Wells as SAC champs for Snider were: Erique Early at 126, Bobby Humphrey at 132 and Russell Davies at 182. Jaydon Nance (120) and Trevor Thomas, who entered the meet unseeded at 195, added second-place finishes. All 14 Snider wrestlers placed in the top six.

“That says a lot about the group we’ve got,” Snider coach Dave Mohr said. “They just bonded really well and put together a room that is intense and is a team atmosphere where everybody encourages each other and everybody works together for a common goal.”

Dominic Garrett (138), Austin Hillman (145) and Jared Deininger (170) won individual titles for Dwenger. Nick Lehman finished second to Wells at 152, and Juston Stewart’s third-place win over Wayne’s Jyron Gunn at 285 pushed the Saints past the Generals.

Wayne had three individual champions in Rashaam Hill (113), Shaun Johnson (160) and Kanez Omar (195)

Omar remained undefeated at 34-0 with his win at 195 over Snider’s Thomas. An SAC title was the first of a series of goals Omar hopes to reach in the next few weeks.

“I’ve got to keep working and ultimately reach my goal of a state championship,” said Omar, who made it to the semistate round last year.

Other SAC title winners included: Ben Streeter of North Side (106), Northrop’s Logan Aldrich (120) and Tyree Elkins of South Side (220).