Moeller, Elder and Lakota West are D-I favorites in Cincinnati

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Cincinnati Sectional Wrestling
There will be familiar favorites when the Division I sectional
wrestling tournament begins Friday night at three high schools in the
Cincinnati area. Cincinnati Moeller, which is ranked No. 3 in the Division I state
wrestling coaches' poll and No. 26 nationally by the Amateur Wrestling News, is the likely favorite in Division I. Elder and Lakota West are also looking for team titles.


There will be familiar favorites when the Division I sectional wrestling tournament begins Friday night at three high schools in the Cincinnati area.

Cincinnati Moeller, which is ranked No. 3 in the Division I state wrestling coaches' poll, is the likely favorite in Division I.

The Crusaders, ranked No. 26 nationally by Amateur Wrestling News, won the Greater Catholic League tournament Feb. 9 at Dayton Caroll.

Moeller has won six consecutive GCL South titles, according to the league Web site.

Moeller, which was Division I state runner-up last season, is primed for another postseason run and is looking for its first individual state champ since Ryan Lukens in 2003.

“Moeller has had a brutal national schedule and survived it,” Amateur Wrestling News high school columnist/ranker Bob Preusse said. “Moeller may be a better dual meet team than a state tournament team, but because of their balance they should qualify most of their team for state.”

On Senior Night Jan. 31, Moeller defeated Mason 46-16 and Troy Christian 39-19.

Seniors Adam Wallander (119), Matt Melink (140), Eric Gobin (152) and Ross Quehl (189) each had two wins Jan. 31, according to the Moeller Web site.

During the same night, Gobin became the school's all-time win leader for the wrestling program with 133. Gobin broke the record most recently held by Dean Gaier (2007) and Tom Zinkan (1993).

Jake Corrill (103) and Pierce Harger (125) will be others to watch during the postseason.

Moeller, Elder and Western Brown are the sites for the Division I sectional tournament.

The Crusaders are the top seed at the Moeller sectional, which begins competition at 6 p.m. Friday and resumes at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

“For the sectionals, the goal is to first get everyone to district and then try to have as many individual champions to help the seeding for the district,” Moeller coach Jeff Gaier said.

Elder, which is ranked fourth in the state, will be the favorite at its sectional. Lakota West, ranked eighth in the state, is the favorite at Western Brown.

Elder, which was second at the GCL meet, is led by senior Tommy Pretty (125) and junior Orlando Scales (215).

Both Pretty and Scales can definitely win state titles,” Preusse said.

Lakota West will be led by senior Ryan Fields, a North Carolina-Greensboro recruit, who has over 30 wins.

The Firebirds won the Greater Miami Conference championships at Oak Hills Feb. 9. Fields was named the wrestler of the year in the conference.

In Division II, there will be 14 teams at Goshen and 11 teams at Eaton.

In Division III, Reading and Blanchester are the favorites. Both schools are among 14 teams at the Blanchester sectional.

Reading is ranked No. 1 and Blanchester No. 2 respectively in the Cincinnati Enquirer Divisions II-III poll.

Reading's top wrestlers include Chris Yeary (112), Andrew Clark (130), Brian Bemmes (135), Mason Meyer (160) and Mike Welling (171) – all of which won league titles last weekend.

Clark, a two-time state placer, was fourth at state in 2007.

Blanchester has four returning state qualifiers with Jeff Panno (119), Jake Howe (145), Kaleb Runyon (152) and Doug Smith (285).

The Division I district tournament is Feb. 22-23 at Fairfield. The Division II district is the same weekend at Goshen. The Division III district is also the same weekend at Kettering Fairmont.

The state tournament is Feb. 28-March 1 at Ohio State.

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