St. Paris Graham, the nation's No. 1 ranked high school wrestling team, is expected to run
away with the team title in Division II, keeping alive a streak of
seven straight state championships. With this year’s squad being one of
their strongest ever, failing to win title number eight would be a true
shocker. The real question is how many individual titles will Falcons garner.
Below we take a look at the D-II postseason and what teams and wrestlers to watch.
St. Paris Graham, the nation's No. 1 ranked team, is expected to run away with the team title in Division II, keeping alive a streak of seven straight state championships. With this year’s squad being one of their strongest ever, failing to win title number eight would be a true shocker.
* 103: In what appears to be a very competitive field, Ty Mitch of Aurora and Johnni DiJulius of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit appear to be the frontrunners, along with Nick Brascetta of St. Paris Graham.
* 112: Barring an upset of colossal proportions, dominant junior David Taylor of St. Paris Graham will be winning his third title in three years. Taylor is ranked as the No. 1 wrestler in America at 112 and one of the top wrestlers in the nation regardless of weight class. His main competition will come from James Inghram of Hunting Valley University School, Nate Westfall of Perry, and Alex Minnard of Fairfield Union.
* 119: A competitive field is found at 119, led by returning 112 state champion Cody Garbrandt of Uhrichsville Claymont. But the one who may be the favorite is the wrestler Garbrandt defeated in last year’s finals, Zach Neibert of St. Paris Graham. Also keep an eye on familiar tournament faces Kyle Gilchrist of Jefferson and Johnny Papesh of Aurora.
* 125: Former state placer Jacob Vaughn of Columbus DeSales appeared to be the early favorite to take this wide open weight class, but few would be surprised if another Graham wrestler, Tucker Armstrong, was able to take the title here.
* 130: Two tournament-tested competitors are expected to duke it out for the top spot at 130 – Tieler Severance of Thornville Sheridan and Brian Stephens of St. Paris Graham. Severance and Stephens finished second and third respectively at 125 in 2007.
* 135: This could be the year where a multi-year placer gets his chance to wear the gold at 135. The top two contenders have come close – favorite Chase Skonieczny of Walsh Jesuit placed third last year, while Brad Wulkie of Hunting Valley University School fell in the state finals.
* 140: Aaron Sulzer of Parma Heights Holy Name is a returning state champion and could be the key contender here, but there is some stiff competition in this class, led by Isaac Dukes of Ravenna, Josey Neff of Washington Court House Miami Trace, and Matt Stephens of St. Paris Graham.
* 145: The clear favorite at 145 is senior Ben Jordan of St. Paris Graham. Jordan, who has been rated in the top five nationally at the 145 weight class, was upset in last year’s finals after winning state championships in his freshman and sophomore year, but he appears poised to go out a winner as a senior. Standing in his way will likely be Kirk Tank of Oak Harbor, a talented and experienced wrestler who will give Jordan a fight.
* 152: Another Graham wrestler is a heavy favorite to bring home the gold in this class. Senior Coby Boyd, a returning state champion and top five wrestler nationally, should once again find himself atop the winner’s stand this year. Eric Schott of Alliance Marlington could provide Boyd’s main competition.
* 160: The 160-pound weight class finds yet another returning champion as a strong favorite, this one being senior Eric Cubberly of Pemberville Eastwood. The nationally-ranked Cubberly is expected to capture another title, with James Mannier of St. Paris Graham being the top name among the rest of the solid field.
* 171: Will this weight class bring yet another champion from Graham? It very well could, as senior Zac Thomusseit has emerged as one of the nation’s top wrestlers at his weight class and is viewed by many as the man to beat, but it won’t come easy. Nick Mills of University School, Evan Roth of Pemberville Eastwood, Keith Witt of Oak Harbor, and Danny Michaels of Clyde all bring strong credentials.
* 189: The likely favorite at 189 is returning champion Cody Magrum of Oak Harbor. Magrum, recognized as one of the top 15 wrestlers nationally at his weight class, has wins this season over the other top two contenders, Jeremy Foster of Pemberville Eastwood and Kevin Bailey of Walsh Jesuit.
* 215: Matt Fisher of Sandusky Perkins should be the man to take home the crown at 215 after previously placing second and fourth. Fisher’s main competition could come from Dave Pickerel of Toledo Central Catholic and Zach Pumill of Germantown Valley View.
* 285: The heavyweight crop is led by senior John Hiles of Columbus DeSales, one of the better heavyweights in the country. Hiles fell in the finals in overtime last year and should take the next step this time.