With the sectional tournament less than a month away, the
wrestling season heads down the homestretch for January this week with
several state-ranked teams competing in the Cincinnati area. The 47th annual Catholic Invitational Tournament will be held at
Elder on Saturday, while Mason hosts its own invite the same day.
With the Division I sectional tournament less than a month away, the wrestling season heads down the homestretch for January this week with several state-ranked teams competing in the Cincinnati area.
The 47th annual Catholic Invitational Tournament will be held at Elder starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and concluding on Sunday afternoon. The event is expected to feature about 28 teams from across the state.
Twenty-five teams in the tournament qualified 39 wrestlers to the state tournament last year, according to the Elder athletics Web site. There were 20 state placers, including 15 whom were underclassmen.
It is the first time Elder has hosted the event since 2004. The invitational is on a rotating basis every four years across the state.
Moeller, the No. 3 ranked team in the Division I state wrestling coaches’ poll (as of Jan. 12), will be at the event. The Crusaders have won three consecutive Catholic Invitational Tournaments and finished second in 2004.
Moeller will arrive at the tournament after it faced several nationally-ranked teams at the NHSCA Wrestling Festival in Pennsylvania last weekend.
At the State Duals in Wadsworth a few weeks ago, the Crusaders finished second to Lakewood St. Edward for the third consecutive season.
Moeller’s Pierce Harger (125) and Ross Quehl (215) went undefeated at 3-0. Moeller defeated Cleveland St. Ignatius 43-15 and Massillon Perry 34-24 at the event.
St. Ignatius is expected at Elder this weekend.
“Moeller had a great dual versus St. Ed’s,” Amateur Wrestling News high school columnist/ranker Bob Preusse said. “Moeller wrestled with a lot of intensity.”
Elder, which is ranked fourth, tied with Cincinnati St. Xavier this past weekend (30-30) but lost on a tiebreaker.
Elder senior Tommy Pretty (125 pounds) improved his record to 22-1 with 14 pins. Junior Orlando Scales improved to 22-0 with nine pins.
Elder’s Pretty and Scales are projected to have a significant impact during the postseason, according to Preusse.
“Orlando Scales is one of the best 215s in the nation,” Preusse said.
Lakota West, which is ranked sixth in the state poll (as of Jan. 12), will be at the James Horning Memorial Invitational at Mason on Saturday.
The Firebirds won the Lakota West Duals last weekend as they defeated Hilliard Davidson 40-17 in the finals.
Lakota West has won the invitational the past three seasons.
“We are starting to get kids healthy again,” Lakota West coach Scott Fetzer told the Pulse Journal last week. “It’s a good way to start off January.”
Other schools expected to compete this weekend at Mason include Centerville, Dublin Coffman, Greenville, Grove City Central Crossing, Kettering Fairmont, Lewis Center Olentangy, Milford and Rochester (Mich.).
“This year's competition is going to be brutal,” Mason coach Craig Murnan said. “It's a very balanced field, but Lakota West is always the team to beat and if they get their team healthy again this year they are going to be the team to beat again. Central Crossing is very strong this year too. So, I can't count them out either.”
Speaking of Mason, the Comets competed at St. Paris Graham on Saturday (Jan. 12). Graham is ranked No. 1 in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News and the top-ranked team in Division II.
Graham defeated Mason 60-9.
The Comets also lost to Troy Christian 37-34. Troy Christian is the top-ranked team in Division III.
However, Murnan said he was glad his team could compete against some of the top talent in the state and the country.
“It was a really good experience for our kids,” Murnan said.
The Division I sectional tournament starts Friday, Feb. 15. The state meet is Feb. 28-March 1 at Ohio State.