(12-21-17) – Four members of the Midwest Athletic Conference have wrestling programs, Coldwater, Delphos St. John’s, Versailles and the newest program at Parkway. All four wrestle as independents, like many leagues the MAC requires a certain percentage of member schools offer that sport at the varsity level.

Wrestling is not the only sport facing this issue in the MAC, swimming, girls soccer and bowling are other sports that have member schools competing in them and are not sponsored by the conference.

Coldwater and Delphos St. John’s girls teams and New Knoxville’s boys team are all members of the single-sport Western Ohio Soccer League, which has a combination of members from various other conferences. This allows those schools to compete for a championship, win all-league honors and helps with scheduling.

Eight MAC members have bowling teams that compete in the single-sport Western Ohio High School Bowling Conference, six girls teams and eight boys teams.

The MAC has only nine football playing members, Anna is a football member only of the MAC to make it an even ten  to help with scheduling issues that face the sport.

So it looks like wrestling has a long way to go to becoming a MAC sponsored sport, unless conference members would change some bylaws in the future.

Any of the four still have options, possibly being added by another all-sport conference that needs to add a wrestling member, possible a single-sport wrestling conference or a MAC change on how they recognize a sport.

Parkway is the most recent MAC member to start a varsity wrestling program, Coach Kevin Browning has put a lot of time and effort establishing the program.  This season they are starting to see the ‘fruits’ of all the hard work by everyone involved.

Browning talks about the conference situation for the Panther program and answered several questions submitted by SSN.

Kevin Browing – Parkway Head Wrestling Coach

Would your like your program to be a part of a league in the future?

I think it is important to have wrestling as part of the MAC. The schools that have wrestling do a great job of scheduling a meet, but there is no conference champion at the end of the meet. Our wrestlers go to other events and are not able to use the Conference Champion as criteria for seeding, and has cost MAC wrestlers a higher seeding at tournaments and Sectionals. 

Positives/negatives of remaining without a league

Positives of remaining without a league would be freedom to schedule.

Negatives would be:

  • No MAC honors for Athletes
  • Lack of respect for the sport
  • Limits schools getting involved. If the MAC approved Wrestling, it may encourage other schools to form a team.
  • No Conference champion
  • Minimal coverage of the sport because it is not considered a conference sport

Problems with filling match schedule

In the first years of the program I had problems filling the schedule because of the limited number of wrestlers. This season I have had to turn down invites to tournaments because we have maxed out on tournament points. With the ½ point duals rule change, I have had more trouble filling points as gym time is limited and the change has caused us to need to schedule more events.

other comments

Celina and Parkway had a duel that started at 2:30 and was wrestled in front of the student body. The feedback from the event has been very positive. It has helped enrollment in the program and has created an awareness of the sport in the school.

Delphos St. John’s competed in the Western Buckeye League from 1971-82 (twelve seasons), but never won a league championship. Coach Derek Sterling has some thoughts on being a part of a conference.

Derek Sterling – Delphos St. John’s Head Wrestling Coach

Would your like your program to be a part of a league in the future?

Yes definitely, wrestling is a sport that teaches men more about life and the grind in life and about how when times are tough we need to get back up and always keep our heads held high and get through our problems.

Positives/negatives of remaining without a league

I really don’t have any positives about remaining with out a league. The competition would be much higher if we did have a league. The MAC comradely in other sports is awesome to see and I wish we had more of an opportunity in wrestling to experience that. Problems with filling match schedule I fill out my own schedule and usually have no issues filling it we just have to travel a little farther sometimes.

Other comments

I really think other schools in the MAC should take a look at what coach Browning has done at Parkway with their program. It proves that with hard work and the right kind of staff any school could start building a wrestling program.

Another thing,  I have had State Qualifiers and state placers with GPA high enough to get MAC honors, but they do not receive them because wrestling is not an MAC sport. That really stinks for a young kid who works so hard. MAC Academic Honors is something others are proud of and get to put that on their resumes.

I took some time and sent you all the state qualifiers from the MAC since 2010, that’s a lot compared to other conference’s and that’s with really only 3 schools participating from the MAC (until Parkway started a team) I also include Versailles qualifying for the team State in 2016


State Representation From 2010-2017
2010 (5)
Thomas Fullenkamp(Versailles)
Joe Brandt(Versailles)
Aaron Merschman(St. John’s)
Trevor Kunk(Coldwater)
Joey Grubenhoff(St. John’s)
2011 (3)
Thomas Fullenkamp(Versailles)
Joe Brandt(Versailles)
Ryan Musser(St. John’s)
2012 (3)
Logan Heiing(St. John’s)
Logan Looser(St. John’s)
Kaleb Matchett(Versailles)
2013 (6)
Will Buettner(St. John’s)
Kyle Dieringer(Versailles)
Justin Post(Coldwater)
Andrew Slonkosky(Versailles)
Matt Mangen(Versailles)
Derek Collett(Coldwater)
2014 (6)
Matt Mangen(Versailles)
Kyle Dieringer(Versailles)
Spencer Seibert(Coldwater)
Justin Post(Coldwater)
Jay Uhlenhake(Coldwater)
Wes Buettner(St. John’s)
2015 (5)
Wes Buettner (Del. St. John’s)
Kyle Dieringer (Versailles)
Brett Vonderwell (Del. St. John’s) Runner Up
Jake Schmidt (Coldwater)
Kyle Gigandet (Versailles)
2016 (6)
Versailles Team State Qualifier
Corey Dieringer (Versailles)
Peyton Hamrick (Parkway)
Brett Vonderwell (Del. St. John’s)
Kyle Gigandet (Versailles)
Tanner Bey (Versailles)
Spencer Seibert (Coldwater)
2017 (4)
Tanner Bey (Versailles)
Brett Vonderwell (Del. St. John’s) Runner Up
Jerome Bey (Versailles) 7th
Jonathan Moorman (Versailles)