COLUMBUS – When Steve Goudy took over the fledgling Troy Christian wrestling program seven years ago the coach joked that he had “six kids on the team and two wrestlers.”
After Saturday’s 71st annual State Wrestling Championships, the Eagles now have two state titles.
Everyone expected Lakewood St. Edward and St. Paris Graham to repeat as state wrestling champions, but there were questions about Troy Christian’s ability to defend its title.
The Eagles answered all comers.
Putting together an impressive 4-1 record in finals and placing all eight qualifiers, TC defended its Division III team title and became the 22nd school in history to win multiple crowns.
The Eagles, who broke their D-III record of 154 points set last year, scored 162 this time around to fend off challenges from old foe Marion Pleasant (123) and upstart Monroeville (115).
Last year the Eagles had three individual champions and edged Pleasant by just 2.5 points. This year was not nearly as close.
“Breaking the team point total was one of our goals,” Goudy said. “We talk about bonus points all the time, especially in the early rounds and we were able to score some. We were blessed with a good raw and we had to take advantage of that early and we did. We were able to get pins and techs. When (Pleasant) brings 11 and you bring eight you have to make it up somewhere.”
Winning titles for the Eagles were senior Ben Sergent (125), junior Zac Hancock (130), junior Zach Toal (145) and senior Nathan Jones (189). Junior Jordan Thome was runner-up at 135.
Sergent, the 112 champion last year, trailed Sandusky St. Marys senior Troy Opfer 1-0 with less then 10 seconds to go before pulling out a pin with seven ticks left.
Toal’s title was also his second after winning at 140 last year.
TC has only had a wrestling program for eight years, and Goudy, who came from Milton-Union, has been in charge for all but one. He’s built a program that doesn’t show signs of slowing down.
The Eagles lose two seniors – Sergent and Jones – but have a solid nucleus back. Rest assured all eyes will be on a three-peat.
“The kids put a lot of stock in that Brakeman Report and he does a great job, but he had us second last year and the kids wanted to prove him wrong and they did. And he had us second this year and the kids wanted to prove him wrong and they did,” Goudy said. “So I told Brian ‘Thank you for making us second.’ I told him to put Monroeville first next year.”
Graham came to Columbus looking for its eighth straight D-II state title and some state records. The Falcons accomplished both. In addition to winning its tenth title overall and moving into a second place tie with Maple Heights for the most ever regardless of division, the Falcons also broke their own D-II points record with 221.5. The old standard of 208.5 lasted just one year.
Graham entered the finals with 202 points and six wrestlers vying for first place. Four Falcons captured crowns as Graham outdistanced second place Oak Harbor by 140.5 points.
Two Falcons won their third titles with junior David Taylor taking the 112-pound championship and senior Ben Jordan winning at 145.
The victory for Taylor improved him to 46-0 this year and 132-2 in three years. Last year Taylor outscored his state opponents 68-6 en route to the title. This year he pinned two opponents (1:15 and 2:31) and outscored the other two 33-3, including a 15-0 tech fall in the second period of the final.
Jordan also won state titles as a freshman (119) and sophomore (125) and was runner-up last year (135).
Other champions for Graham included junior Zach Neibert (119) and sophomore Tucker Armstrong (125). Senior Coby Boyd (152) and junior Adam Walls (285) were runner-up.
Neibert’s title came via a second period pin of Cody Garbrandt of Urichsville Claymont. Garbrandt won the 112 state title last year.
Just like the Energizer Rabbit, the St. Edward wrestling squad keeps on going, and going and going. The Eagles claimed their 12th straight Division I title on Saturday and 24th overall. Both are state records.
St. Ed tallied 147.5 points to runner-up Massillon Perry’s 90.
At 171 senior Brian Roddy became a rare four-time state placer at the same weight and defended his title with a 21-6 tech fall of Amherst Steele’s Aaron Winemiller. Junior Collin Palmer also defended his title and won his third championship with a 5-0 decision over Mansfield Madison’s Josh Speelman at 135. Palmer finished the season 30-0.
Other victors for the Eagles were sophomores Gus Sako (103) and Jamie Clark (112).
Clark’s 2-1 overtime win over Massillon Perry’s Sam White in the final was especially gratifying considering Clark lost the 103 final last year to White 3-2 in overtime. Clark was awarded the win after White was called for stalling in the extra stanza.
ADD ANOTHER TO THE LIST
Austintown-Fitch senior Tony Jameson added his name to a short list of four-time state winners, becoming just the 16th with a hard fought 8-4 win over New Carlisle Tecumseh’s T.J. Rigel in the D-I 145 finale. Jameson trailed 4-2 entering the third period.
Jameson is only the fourth wrestler to win four titles in D-I and his championships span eight weight classes, which is the most of any four-time champ (103, 119, 135 and 145). Jameson’s final high school record is 168-6.
Jameson, who is going to Ohio State, received a standing ovation after his win and ran around the mat with an OSU flag held overhead, much to the delight of the crowd. Jameson also received an ovation after the medal ceremony.
In the 1990s only three wrestlers won four titles. So far this decade seven wrestlers have done it. Next year, Graham’s Taylor and St. Ed’s Palmer will try to become the 17th and 18th to accomplish the feat.
REMEMBER THE NAME
It was a weekend of firsts for Worthington Christian senior Colin Heasley. Wrestling at 160 in D-III, Heasley became the first WC wrestler to make the state semifinals where he upset defending state champ Steve Wilson of Marion Pleasant to become the first wrestler in program history to make a state final. There he beat Delta’s Derrick Yant 3-1 to become the school’s first state champ.
Heading into state, Heasley was 0-9 against Wilson and Yant combined. He also finished fourth at the Heath district.
The Westerville North duo of Jesse Dong and Chris Kline captured their school’s first state titles in history with back-to-back wins in the D-I 152 and 160 title bouts, respectively. Dong finished 40-1, while Kline went unbeaten at 43-0.
In addition to Taylor, Jordan and Palmer, two other wrestlers captured their third state titles.
Oak Harbor’s Cody Magrum won the D-II 189 title to go along with past titles at 171. Magrum, trailed Pemberville Eastwood’s Jeremy Foster 2-1 heading into the third period but rallied for the 4-3 victory.
Miami East’s Ryan Gambill also added title No. 3 with a pin of TC’s Thome in the 135 finale. Gambill, the only wrestler in East history with a state title, won his previous championships at 112 and 130.
Daniel Kolodzik, the only wrestler on the Miami Valley School team, failed in his attempt to add a third title, falling to TC’s Hancock in the D-III 130 final. Kolodzik previously claimed crowns at 103 and 125.
There have now been 49 three-time winners in state history.
Brunswick senior Richie Spicel capped his career the same way he started it – with a state title. Spicel won the D-I 140 crown after claiming the 130 championship as a frosh. Spicel was also a state runner-up last year, suffering his only loss to Jameson in the state final at 135. Spicel finished this season 43-0.
Spicel’s title didn’t come easy though. He had to rally for a 4-2 win in overtime against Brecksville Broadview Heights junior Kyle Lang.
West Chester Lakota West senior Ryan Fields finished runner-up the last three years and was trying not to become the first wrestler in state history to finish second four years in a row. He accomplished that feat but not the way he wanted to. Fields dropped his semifinal match at 130 and then fell in the third place bout in overtime to place fourth.
FOUR FOR FOUR
Monoreville’s spectacular line-up of underclassmen did not disappoint. Qualifying all four wrestlers to the D-III finals, the Eagles finished third in the team race thanks to going 4-0 in finals.
Sophomore Logan Stieber, the state champion at 103 last year, captured the 119 title and finished the season 51-0. His freshman brother Hunter also finished 51-0 after claiming the 103 crown.
Two other freshman captured titles with Chris Phillips winning at 171 and Cam Tessari winning at 112. Phillips, who pinned his first round opponent (2:44) and beat the next three by the combined score of 56-16, ended the season 51-0 as well.
MOORE IS GOOD
Marion Pleasant senior Jedd Moore defended his D-III 152 title with a 9-2 win over Sandusky St. Marys senior Christian Ortolani. Moore’s victory helped salvage what was a disappointing run for the Spartans at state.
Despite visions of challenging Troy Christian for the team title and leading the team race 75-70 after two sessions, the Spartans went 1-5 in semifinal bouts.
ENDING THE DROUGHT
Greenwich South Central sophomore Payton Oney became his school’s first state placer with a sixth place finish in D-III at 125.
In addition to Oney, other wrestlers ended notable droughts for their schools as well.
Defiance sophomore B. J. Miller became the first wrestler from his school to place at the state meet since 1997 when he finished eighth in the D-II 112 bracket.
Norwood junior Tyler Alsip finished eighth in the D-II 119 bracket to become his school’s first state placer since 1986.
Athens junior Steven McLaughlin placed sixth at 145 in D-II to become his school’s first state placer since 1997.
Spencerville senior Zac Clum became his school’s highest placer ever when he finished sixth in D-III at 135.
West Carrollton junior Jordan Beverly placed third in D-I at 285 to become his school’s first state placer since 1995.
Toledo Libbey senior James Reynolds finished eighth in D-II at 285 to secure the school’s first spot on the podium since 1988.
Wilmington senior Chris Holcomb was the Hurricane’s first state placer since 1996. He finished sixth in D-II at 285.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH
Despite facing undefeated Coshocton senior Sean Collin in the D-II 130 final, University School sophomore Harrison Hightower – who entered with eight losses – claimed the win with a 7-2 decision.
For the second year in a row a wrestler from Bellevue defeated a defending state champion in the finals.
Last year Jeffrey Pelton handed Graham’s Jordan a loss in the D-II 135 final. This year it was senior Dawson Riedy beating Parma Heights Holy Name senior Aaron Sulzer 3-0 in the 140 finale. Sulzer won the 130 title last year.
Oak Harbor senior Kirk Tank got some revenge on Graham’s Coby Boyd in the D-II 152 final. Last year Boyd pinned Tank in 3:27 in the 145 state final. This year it was Tank who scored the win with a dramatic 3-1 decision in overtime. The win was also Tank’s 50th this season against four losses.
Pemberville Eastwood senior Eric Cubberly captured his second straight sate title with a convincing 18-3 tech fall over Lisbon Beaver’s Jon Bittinger to win at 160 in D-II. Cubberly, who finished the season 50-1, won the 152 championship last year.
Burton Berkshire senior Travis Porter entered the state tournament with an undefeated record and exited the same way. Handling Wooster Triway’s Cory Aiken 10-2 in the D-III 215 final, Porter finished the season 42-0.
BATTLE OF UNBEATENS
In the only state final meeting of two undefeated wrestlers, Barberton’s Adam Cogar and Cincinnati Elder’s Orlando Scales both entered the D-I 215 finale with identical 47-0 records. Scales picked up win No. 48. After a scoreless first period, Scales took a 3-2 lead late into the third and escaped a Cogar takedown bid to hold on for the win.
OUTSTANDING WRESTLER AWARDS
The Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association handed out hardware to the most outstanding wrestlers in each division. Jameson won the honor in D-I, while Jordan and Gambill took home the award in D-II and III, respectively.
According to the OHSAA, the attendance for Saturday’s finals was 14,924 and the reported five session total of 65,835 is the lowest since the championships moved to Value City Arena from Wright State’s Nutter Center in 1999. Last year’s figures were 15,685 and 69,746, respectively.