In Division III, three teams stand out from the rest of the pack – Marion Pleasant, Troy Christian and Monroeville. Troy Christian will be gunning for their second straight state title, but it will not be easy as Pleasant will be right up there with them. Monroeville, led by three freshman sensations and a national No. 1-rated sophomore, will also make plenty of noise.
Below we take a look at the D-III postseason and what teams and wrestlers to watch.
Projecting a Division III team champion is slightly tougher than picking the winner in Divisions I and II, but three teams stand out from the rest of the pack – Marion Pleasant, Troy Christian, and Monroeville. Troy Christian will be gunning for their second straight state title, but it will not be easy as Pleasant will be right up there with them. Monroeville, led by three freshman sensations and a national No. 1-rated sophomore, will also make plenty of noise.
* 103: The first of Monroeville’s freshman phenoms should make 103 a one-sided affair. Hunter Stieber emerged in 2007 as an elite wrestler, posting an unbeaten record as of press time over extremely stiff competition and gaining a ranking as the No. 2 wrestler in America at his class. He will likely cruise to his first state title here.
* 112: At 112, you’ll find the second of Monroeville’s freshmen – Cam Tessari. Not quite as nationally-known as Monroeville’s other superstars, Tessari nonetheless appears to be a good choice as the favorite at this class, with former placer Matt Reynolds of Marion Pleasant as some possible stiff competition.
* 119: There shouldn’t be much suspense at 119 either, as another Monroeville wrestler – sophomore Logan Stieber – is a heavy favorite to give the small town school their third title of the tournament. Stieber stands atop the national rankings at 119 and will be gunning for his second state title.
* 125: We could see a rematch of last year’s final at 112 in this weight class. It was Troy Christian’s Ben Sergent besting Sandusky St. Mary’s Troy Opfer in last year’s finals, and the two could have a chance to face off again this year. But standing in their way will be some tough competitors, namely senior and former third-place finisher Zach Pope of Marion Pleasant and senior David Carpenter of Mediera.
* 130: One of the more unique stories in Division III can be found at 130 this year in Daniel Kolodzik of tiny Dayton Miami Valley School. Despite being the only wrestler at his school, Kolodzik is ranked as one of the nation’s top ten wrestlers at 130 and is the favorite to win his third state title. Kolodzik’s main competition could come from the wrestler he defeated in last year’s finals, Zac Hancock of Troy Christian.
* 135: At 135, we find another wrestler shooting for his third state championship, senior Ryan Gambill of Casstown Miami East. Gambill stands as the favorite at this class, with junior Jordan Thome of Troy Christian standing in his way.
* 140: A strong weight class, led by state runners-up Robert Chilson of Bellaire and favorite Kevin Cloran of Cincinnati Maderia, as well as a third-place finisher in Lee Schumaker of Arcadia and a fourth-place finisher in Zach Zolman of Galion Northmor.
* 145: The crop at 145 is an eye-opener, with three former champions among the mix. The favorite is junior Zach Toal of Troy Christian, who has a win this year over three-time state champion Tony Jameson. Seniors David Stiltner of Applecreek Waynedale and Zach Nelson of London Madison Plains are the other two champions and lead the rest of this deep field.
* 152: The 152 field features an elite wrestler who is expected to cruise through the competition. Nationally-ranked senior Jedd Moore of Marion Pleasant, who took home the crown at 152 last year after a second-place finish in 2006, should find himself on top once again in this class.
* 160: Marion Pleasant is expected to reign supreme at this weight class as well. Another returning champion, senior Steve Wilson, is a heavy favorite to end his career with his second state title.
* 171: This class is home to one of Ohio’s most fascinating wrestling stories and the last of Monroeville’s freshmen phenoms in Chris Phillips. Phillips might be the biggest phenom of all, skyrocketing to a top-three national ranking in just his first year, an impressive feat for a young wrestler at a higher weight class. Phillips should easily triumph over the rest of the field here.
* 189: The 189-pound class seems to be a much more open field than the previous three. The main competition appears to be seniors Nathan Jones of Troy Christian, Jared Neff of Applecreek Waynedale, and Brock Kirian of Sycamore Mohawk, along with juniors Colton Bowers of Marion Pleasant and Stuart Miller of Delphos Jefferson.
* 215: A senior-dominated group, the 215-pound weight class is led by former placers Travis Porter of Burton Berkshire and Derrick Hesson of Caldwell, along with Doug Randall of Greenview.
* 285: There will be some new faces in the heavyweight class this year. The favorites appear to be senior Jacob Southwick of Tontogany Otsego, who placed fourth as a junior, and senior Dan Stocum of Kirtland.