Ramona High School wrestling coach Steve Koch’s main goal this season has been to improve every week. His team reached that goal.
The unranked underdog Bulldogs entered the Masters Wrestling Meet as one of the 75 teams that sent wrestlers to the meet. They finished in seventh place and are sending two wrestlers to the State Meet. The Bulldogs finished higher than Mt. Carmel, the Valley League champion. Mt. Carmel beat Ramona in the first league meet.
“We not only improved every week, we matured as a team and finished seventh in the county (actually two counties),” said Koch. “We were young and the core of this team is returning next season. This team has the potential to be as good as the 2002 team that sent five wrestlers to the State Meet.”
Junior Brodie Chenowth won the Masters Championship in the 154-pound division. Chenowth is only the third Bulldog grappler to win a Masters title. Tony Sotello and Eric Parker were the previous Masters champs from Ramona.
“Brodie is the biggest story in a very big story,” stated Koch. “He went in as the seventh seed and beat the second, third and first seed, in that order, to win a gold medal and a trip to the State Meet.”
Chenowth beat Anthony Carmona of Brawley by an 8-6 decision in the finals.
Spaso Ilich (137) also will be traveling to Bakersfield this Friday. Ilich lost an 11-6 decision to Billy Reyes of La Costa Canyon in the finals to win a silver medal after beating top seeded Chad Gregory of Poway 6-4 in the semifinals to ensure a trip to the State Meet. He went into the tourney ranked fourth.
“Spaso had a great tourney,” said Koch. “He put a lot into beating Gregory in the semifinals and didn’t wrestle his best bout in the finals. He has earned the respect of the entire CIF and he is only a junior. He is nails on the mat. He never stops attacking.”
Jacob Kaliskis went 2-2 in the heavyweight division to earn team points. Zach Lane (105) and Jarod Widner (147) also wrestled for the Dawgs at the Masters Meet.
Sophomore Devin Rhodes went 4-2 in the Masters and took home a medal for his fifth-place finish in the 173-pound weight class.
Marshal Thrasher won a medal for his fifth-place finish in the 217 pound class. He went 4-2. He is a junior.
Connor Koch went 3-2 in the 127-pound weight class and finished 10th at the Masters. He lost a tough 2-1 decision to last year’s champion. He, too, is a junior.
Ramona is sending two champions to the State Meet in Bakersfield tomorrow. Chenowth is a Masters champion and Ilich is a CIF champion.