It comes to no surprise after the Division II East Sectional wrestling seed meeting that Claymont continues to be the team to beat as the Mustangs look to retain its sectional title.
Brian Cook checks in with a preview of the Division II wrestling East sectional.
RAYLAND – It comes to no surprise after the Division II East Sectional wrestling seed meeting that Claymont continues to be the team to beat as the Mustangs look to retain its sectional title.
“Our sectional is very high quality,” Buckeye Local Nathan Skrzypek said as the Panthers are preparing to host its second straight tournament. “Claymont is definitely the team to beat. They have state champs and placers year in and year out. Followed by them you have Beaver Local, another quality team, then Harrison Central that has a lot of potential to send guys to districts.”
In last year's sectional tournament Claymont coach Eric Toukonen was able to push 14-of-14 onto the district tournament and continues to have high expectations this season.
“We have a lot of veteran wrestlers coming back, but we have some young guys in four or five of those weight classes as well,” the 25-year veteran coach explained.
The Mustangs have nine seeded wrestlers and five of those wrestlers are top seeded – Kyle Ditcher (112), returning state champion Cody Garbrandt (119), Ryder Dynes (145), Zach Garbrandt (160) and Josh Jackson (285).
Looking to keep pace with the high octane Mustangs' mat program will be coach Mark Emmerling's Beaver Local squad.
The Lisbon based team is coming off recent success the week before in Rayland winning the Panther Classic and hopes to build momentum off the recent win.
“I am very a happy about (the Panther Classic ) win,” Emmerling said following last weekend's finals. “But this isn't what we want. We want to keep improving and be prepared for the sectional tournament.”
The Beavers have claimed 10-of-14 seeds with Dylan Ice (140) as the lone top seed followed by a handful of No. 2 seeded teammates.
Other river squads that look to keep pace early on include Harrison Central and Buckeye Local. The Huskies have seven seeds while the host Panthers have six.
“We’re trying to peak at the right time like everyone else that is still wrestling,” Harrison Central coach Todd Dunlap said after the Panther Classic last weekend. “Our kids are starting to buy into the work ethic that they need to win matches.”
Weight Class Breakdowns
At 103-pounds: Carrollton freshman Jordan Burkhart (27-4) has earned the upper hand taking the No. 1 seed over Claymont sophomore Jordan Bowling (10-10). Both are first year starters and relatively new to the state tournament trail. They'll be joined by seeds New Philadelphia's Seth Kent (24-8) and Harrison Central's Darin Heavlin (27-7).
At 112-pounds: Claymont's Kyle Ditcher, currently sixth on the Brakeman Report, looks to remain a sectional and district champion again this year as the senior grappler enters Rayland on a mission. The senior grappler earned No. 1 seed with a 26-6 marking and recently picked up an individual ECOL title.
The No. 2 seed, Arizona Miller of Beaver Local, will have his hands full with the Mustangs standout. Miller, ninth on the Brakeman Report, enter the weekend with a 29-2 ledger and his own conference title during the Ron Mauck OVAC Tournament in January. They'll be joined by Buckeye Local's Cody Wiltshire (29-11) and Indian Creek's Devin Mazik (2-15).
At 119-pounds: On a mission to claim another state title is No. 1 seed Cody Garbrandt of Claymont. Currently third on the Brakeman Report, Garbrandt enters the weekend with a 21-5 marking losing to some of the best wrestlers in Ohio.
Challenging him will be Beaver Local's Mitch Thompson (22-8), Buckeye Local's Mike Kendjorsky (33-6) and East Liverpool's Preston Foster (33-5).
Thompson was an OVAC runner-up while Kendjorsky picked up third place. However, Kendjorsky picked up a big win last week pinning Thompson in the finals of the Panther Classic.
“In this weight class everyone of of the top seeds could very well be the same seeds at the district. There could also be two or three state placers out of this sectional,” Skrzypek said.
At 125-pounds: East Liverpool's Cagney Springer (37-1) looks to make his last campaign towards a state title as he edged Harrison Central's Nick Risdon (33-5) for the top seed. Springer, 29th on the Brakeman Report, only has one loss on the season coming in the OVAC finals to Cambridge's Paul Rose, who is currently ranked ninth on the Brakeman Report.
Indian Creek's Pat Marshall (22-15) and Beaver Local's Slade Williams (4-3) will also look to create some havoc trying to punch a ticket to the district tournament.
At 130-pounds: Carrollton's toughest wrestler claims top seed this year as Travis Plavka enters the tournament with a 23-5 marking. The biggest question mark will who will he see in the finals as a parade of sophomores follow in the ranks.
Desi Felgenhauer (22-10) of New Philadelphia, Cameron Miller (15-12) of Beaver Local and Brandon Bartrug (20-20) of Buckeye Local are all interchangeable in the two through four spots.
At 135-pounds: The unmarked wrestler is always the one everyone guns for and it will be no different as Edison Local's Andy Stine (40-0) looks to dodge the bullet again this weekend with a sectional title. The Wildcats' senior was an OVAC champion this year, but will potentially see the likes of another state qualifier with Claymont's Jeremy Regula at No. 2 seed.
Regula, an ECOL champion, has accumulated a 23-7 ledger this season.
Both grapplers are Brakeman caliber as Regula is reported fifth and Stine sixth.
Vying for the three and four spots will be Steubenville's Angelo Iachini (22-10) and Buckeye Local's Tin Nieb (18-18).
At 140-pounds: There will be one good wrestler not making the district tournament from this weight class as the top five grapplers are all of high caliber. Jockeying successfully for the top seed was Beaver Local's Dylan Ice (24-6). Ice, who earned Most Outstanding Wrestler in the Panther Classic last week, topped No. 2 seed Rob Eddy (21-8) of Harrison Central last weekend.
Joining the top two will be Carrollton's Cody Rector (31-6), Buckeye Local's Mike Slaga (33-4) and Edison Local's Chris Brancker (33-8).
Rector is currently ranked 21st on the Brakeman while Brancker is 23rd.
At 145-pounds: Claymont senior Ryder Dynes took top seed over Edison Local's Nick Stine. Both are returning state qualifiers and Brakeman caliber.
Dynes enters the two-day event 22-5 while Stine has a 35-4 record.
No. 3 and No. 4 seeds are Tony Grove of Dover and Mitch Riker of New Philadelphia.
At 152-pounds: Indian Creek senior Mike Emery (32-4) takes top seed over New Philadelphia's Travis Wigert (10-20). Emery finished fourth in the OVAC tournament and is currently 19th on the Brakeman Report.
Following behind him in the seeding of Ronnie Hepner of Carrollton and Taylor Banks of Harrison Central.
At 160-pounds: Returning state place winner Zach Garbrandt of Claymont will start his run towards for Columbus as No. 1 seed in the East Sectional. Coming off an outstanding performance that allowed him to pocket the Most Outstanding Wrestler award at the ECOL, Garbrandt (24-5) sits at third on the Brakeman.
His biggest challenge of the season may come in the sectional and district finals as Beaver Local's Jon Bittinger (24-1) is No. 2 seed. Bittinger, currently third on the Brakeman Report, has one loss on the season to returning state place winner Bryan Skoff of Bridgeport.
Claiming the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds are Dover's Bobby Gilmore (25-8) and Buckeye Local's Nathan Schaal (31-6).
At 171-pounds: Dover's Kieth Heldt (28-9) enters the tournament with a top seed over Claymont's Lionel Woods (21-12). They'll be joined in the seeding by Harrison Central's Ian Howell (34-3) and Indian Creek's Tod Miller (21-15).
All the top three seeds have been noted as Brakeman caliber with Heldt at 24, Woods at 10 and Howell at 21.
At 189-pounds: A group of OVAC grapplers have taken the top spots in this weight class as Harrison Central's Jake Mallernee jockeyed into the No. 1 seed. The Huskies sophomore reigns over the pool with a 25-8 marking on the season and a recent title at the Panther Classic as defeated No. 2 seed Devon Ludwig (29-4) of Beaver Local 8-3.
At No. 3 seed is Steubenville's Mark Markakis.The senior Big Red was relatively unknown as the season began and has knocked off a few high caliber grapplers to move up the OVAC ladder. Following at the No. 4 seed is East Liverpool's Denny Ours (29-10).
At 215-pounds: Scrapping for a sectional title will be top seed Branko Busick of Steubenville. The multi-sport athlete is well versed in the sport of wrestling and mat awareness as showed his veteran status this season. Ranked seventh on the Brakeman Report, Busick (29-1) picked up an OVAC title, Panther Classic title and looks to take the next step in this weekend's sectional.
Battling for the spot against Busick in the finals are New Philadelphia's David Schlarb (27-6), Carrollton's Kase Plunket (23-9) and Beaver Local's Jake Henderson (24-12).
At 285-pounds: Claymont's Josh Jackson (25-10) edged Beaver Local's Derek Wolfe (23-1) for the top seed. In head-to-head competition, Jackson earned a 3-1 decision in the 2006-07 campaign and pushed the Mustangs' senior ahead of the University of Cincinnati football recruit.
Also hoping to move onto the districts are Harrison Central's John Eckroth (20-11) and Steubenville's Ryan Dugan (26-6). Dugan finished fifth in the OVAC tourney this year.
Opening Round Pairings:
103 – Jordan Burkhart (CAR) vs. Troy Harris (BL); Joey Threatt (ED) vs. Jordan Bowling (CLAY)
112 – Chad Heedham (STB) vs. Devin Mazik (IC); Michael Horlacher (ED) vs. Arizona Miller
119 – Chris Young (CAR) vs. Chase Kendall (NP); Mike Kendjorsky (BL) vs. Bran McGlone (ED); Alex Morales (STB) vs. Mitch Thompson (BEAV)
125 – Cagney Springer (EL) vs. Jacob Hilliard (BL); Shane Siragusano (ED) vs. Tyler Skipper (CLAY); Tony Pallotto (NP) vs. Nick Risdon (HC)
130 – Travis Plavka (CAR) vs. Kyle Garabrandt (CLAY); Cameron Miller (BEAV) vs. Arthur Hobley (STB); Zach Cox (DOV) vs. Shawn Pate (HC)
135 – Andy Stine(ED) vs. AAron Bolitho (IC); Angelo Iachini (STB) vs. Michael Schlarb (NP); Robbie Warther (DOV) vs. Trevor Coffman (HC)
140 – Dylan Ice (BEAV) vs. Dan Kimble (DOV); Cody Rector (CAR) vs. Kaleb Tarleton (CLAY); Jacob Martin (EL) vs.Rob Eddy (HC)
145 – Ryder Dynes (CLAY) vs. Dean Phillips (HC); JD Sokolowski (BL); Miek Sachs (BEAV) vs. Alvin Taylor (STB)
152 – Jacob Osborne (BEAV) vs. Jon Horton (BL); AJ Materna (ClAY) vs. Taylor Banks (HC); Corbin Cline (ED) vs. Travis Sigenthaler (DOV)
160 – Zach Garbrandt (CLAY) vs. Dylan Jones (EL); Bobby Gilmore (DOV) vs. Zach Armstrong (NP); John Renforth (IC) vs. Jon Bittinger (BEAV)
171 – Keith Heldt (DOV) vs. Dom Garay (STB); Richard Sachs (BEAV) vs. Josh Hilliard (BL); Cooper Hill (HP) vs. Tyler Frey (ED)
189 – Jake Mallernee (HC) vs. Curt Kline (CAR); Brad Ensell (IC) vs. Jared Kendziorski (CLAY); Mike Longacher (DOV) vs. Rylan Pyciak (BL)
215 – Jordan Case (HC) vs. Jake Henderson (BEAV); Brian Ware (IC) vs. Chris Worwa (BL)
285 – David Solomon (BL) vs. Derek Wolfe (BEAV)
Teams Participating: Beaver Local (BEAV), Buckeye Local (BL), Carrollton (CAR), Claymont (CLAY), Dover (DOV), East Liverpool (EL), Edison Local (ED), Harrison Central (HC), Indian Creek (IC), New Philadelphia (NP), Steubenville (STB
Note: First round byes are not noted.