HOWARD — With state placers Gavin Ramos and Conor Becker back this year, everyone knew where the strength of the Northmor wrestling team lay. But, the Knights proved they have more than just a couple of strong wrestlers Saturday, as nine finished either as champion or runner-up in their weight class in the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference meet at East Knox.

“We have our studs. Everyone knows that, but our middle of the road kids stepped up today,” said Northmor coach Scott Carr. “We have one of the tougher schedules. When we go to some of the tougher tournaments, our younger kids have taken their lumps this year. But, when they get to league and against some competition they can handle. That mixed in with the fact they are getting so much better, showed today.”

Ramos (126 pounds) and Becker (182) showed why they were on the podium at state last year, cruising to victories in their respective weight classes. Ramos had just one match on the day, but it was a quick, decisive victory. The junior scored a 10-0 major decision over Cardington’s Draven Hubley for the title.

Becker, meanwhile, had to put in more work on the day, but was equally as efficient. The junior scored three first-period pins to advance to the semifinals, then continued his mastery with two more first-period pins, including one on Fredericktown’s Gene Fitzpatrick in 1:09 to win the weight class.

The Knights also got championships from Dale Brocwell at 106 (a pin of Mount Gilead’s Cory Fricke), Trenton Ramos at 120 (two pins and a major decision) and Tony Martinez at 145 (five straight first-period pins).

Add in runner-up finishes from Griffin Workman (113), Niko Christo (138), Brandon Planey (220) and Hunter Brookover (285) and it’s no wonder the Knights ran away with their second KMAC team title.

Northmor scored 252 points to capture the team crown. Highland and Mount Gilead tied for second at 157.5.

“Hopefully, their confidence will be where it needs to be. That goes a long way in this sport,” Carr said. “If you feel like you can win and know it, you act a lot differently.”

Highland captured two individual titles and had four runners-up in finishing tied for second with Mount Gilead. The Indians had three champions and two runners-up.

The Scots got championships from freshman Kaden Miller at 113 and junior Christian Miller at 152. They also had runner-up finishes from Gavin DeAngelo (120), Cody Matthews (132), Eli Grandstaff (160) and Triston Hinkle (170).

“Overall, I thought the team wrestled well. We had a few mistakes, things we can focus on fixing before sectionals, but the effort was good,” said Highland coach Adam Gilmore. “I was pretty pleased with a couple of kids who have wrestled well all year place high.”

The Indians scored three individual champions — Nate Weaver (138), Andy Williamson (160) and Brandon Strickland (170). Cory Fricke (106) and Jesus Rubio (152) both finished second.

Centerburg, Fredericktown and Danville each had one individual champion. Donnell Marshall (132) won his weight class for the Trojans, while Michael Herbst won at 195 for the Freddies and Dylan Wilson captured the title at 285 for the Blue Devils.

Fitzpatrick finished second for the Freddies at 182 and Tyler DeLucia was second for East Knox at 145.

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Geoff Cowles: 740-397-5333 or gcowles@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @http://twitter.com/mountvernonnews