Troy Christian and Marion Pleasant set to duel it out again in D-III

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Troy Christian’s Ben Sergent
While Divisions I and II saw the continuation of streaks with team
titles from Lakewood St. Edward and St. Paris Graham, Division III
crowned a first-time champion as Troy Christian narrowly beat out
Marion Pleasant, 154-151.5. Both teams should be strong again this
year, with Pleasant having an impressive 10 underclassman qualifiers on
last year’s squad and Troy Christian having six, two of whom were state
champions.


While Divisions I and II saw the continuation of streaks with team titles from Lakewood St. Edward and St. Paris Graham, Division III crowned a first-time champion as Troy Christian narrowly beat out Marion Pleasant, 154-151.5. Both teams should be strong again this year, with Pleasant having an impressive 10 underclassman qualifiers on last year’s squad and Troy Christian having six, two of whom were state champions.

This year’s crop of D-III wrestlers is headlined by last year’s 103-pound champion, Logan Stieber of Monroeville. Stieber, just a freshman in 2006-07, was rated as the No. 2 wrestler in America at the 103-pound class, with his only loss coming to No. 1-ranked David Taylor of St. Paris Graham. Stieber will likely once again be the premier wrestler in Division III and will be a heavy favorite in the weight class of his choice. The second and third-place wrestlers at 103, Justin Hall of Massillon Tuslaw (jr.) and Jimmy Householder of West Jefferson (sr.), will also be back and will be forces to be reckoned with.

Last year’s 112-pound class featured two outstanding competitors in Ben Sergent of Troy Christian and Troy Opfer of Sandusky St. Mary. Sergent bested Opfer (63-1) in the state championship, giving Troy Christian a crucial win in their state title quest. Both wrestlers are three-time state placers and will be back for one more go-round this year as seniors, as will third-place finisher Zack Pope of Marion Pleasant (sr.).

The 119-pound class lost all three top finishers but returns fourth-place finisher Andrew Clark of Reading, who is a senior and two-time placer.

The 125-pound weight class champion, senior Daniel Kolodzik of Dayton Miami Valley School, is one of the more interesting stories in the state. Kolodzik, despite being the only wrestler at his school, won his second state championship last year and will be vying for a third this season. Also back from 125 will be runner-up and two-time placer Zac Hancock of Troy Christian (jr.).

Last year’s top 130-pound finishers are all wrestlers to watch this year. State champion Ryan Gambill of Casstown Miami East (sr.) captured his second title last year over some tough competitors. Those included runner-up Josh Demas of Marion Pleasant (soph.), third-place winner and three-time placer Lee Schumaker of Arcadia (sr.) and fourth-place finisher Jordan Thome of Troy Christian (jr.).

The 135-pound class saw one of Troy Christian’s three champions in Casey Thome, but Thome, a senior last year, has graduated. Runner-up Robert Chilson of Bellaire (jr.) and fourth-place finisher Zach Zolman of Galion Northmor (sr.) both return. The third Troy Christian champion, Zach Toal, conquered the 140-pound class last season in and will be picked by many to be a champion again as a junior this year. Also returning from 140 will be fourth-place finisher and 2006 130-pound champ Zach Nelson of London Madison Plains (sr.).

The 145-pound class saw a bit of a surprise champion in David Stiltner of Apple Creek Waynedale. Stiltner will be back for his senior year this year, as will runner-up Kevin Cloran of Cincinnati Madeira.

The 152-pound champion, Jedd Moore (sr.), will be one of Marion Pleasant’s heavy hitters this year. Moore lost only one match on the season (43-1), coming to D-II champion Eric Cubberly of Pemberville Eastwood, after a second-place finish as a sophomore.

Moore is one of two state champions returning for Marion Pleasant, the other being senior Steve Wilson, who won at 160 after placing twice in prior years. Like Moore, Wilson only dropped one match last season (48-1). Two other wrestlers to watch from 160 will be two-time placers Colin Heasley of Worthington Christian (sr.) and Derrick Yant of Delta (sr.).

Each of the top five place winners at the 171-pound class graduated, leaving sixth-place finisher Spencer Adams (sr.) as the highest returning competitor.

The returning crop from 189 is led by third- and fourth-place winners Jared Neff of Applecreek Waynedale (sr.) and Stuart Miller of Delphos Jefferson (jr.). This weight class will also be influenced by Sindey transfer Nathan Jones who is now at Troy Christian. Jones is a two-time state qualifier in Division I.

The 215-pound and 285-pound classes also saw several wrestlers move on to graduation, with the fifth-place finisher, Doug Randall (sr.) of Jamestown Greenview, being the top place winner returning from 215 and the fourth-place finisher, Jacob Southwick of Tontogany Otsego (sr.), being the highest-ranked placer from 285. Others to watch include two returning qualifiers from Marion Pleasant in juniors Colton Bowers (215) and Aaron Edington (285).

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