Division I Preview: Lakewood St. Edward looking for 13th straight title


Lakewood St. Edward senior Collin Palmer goes for a fourth state title this year. (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

Few schools have had the ability to dominate a sport and division like Lakewood St. Edward’s wrestling program. The Eagles enter this season looking for their 13th straight state title and 25th overall. That’s not a misprint. St. Ed owns D-I wrestling and this year will be no different.

Few schools have had the ability to dominate a sport and division like Lakewood St. Edward’s wrestling program.

The Eagles enter this season looking for their 13th straight state title and 25th overall.

That’s not a misprint.

St. Ed owns D-I wrestling and this year will be no different.

Eagle senior Collin Palmer enters the year looking for his fourth state title. Palmer will be aiming for a double dose of history as a state championship would make him and brother Lance only the third tandem of brothers to win four state championships. Palmer ended the season ranked No. 1 nationally at the 135-pound and will be a big favorite to bring home the gold again.

Three state champions and seven qualifiers return overall for St. Ed, starting with junior Gus Sako, who finished first at 103 and was rated 11th nationally by Wrestling411 USA. Seven out of eight placers at 103 will be returning, including junior and second-place winner Kory Mines of Maple Heights, junior and third-place winner Uland Ralston of Lorain Southview, and junior and fourth place winner Garrett Manley of Holland Springfield.

A similar picture can be seen from last year’s 112 weight class as a St. Edward state champion and five other qualifiers return. Junior champion Jamie Clark and senior second-place finisher Sam White of state runner-up Massillon Perry squared off for the state championship for the second straight year, with Clark getting the best of White in a 2-1 overtime battle after White topped Clark at 103 in 2007. Both wrestlers finished in the top ten nationally and will be near the top of the list again this year. Time will tell as to whether or not they wrestle away from each other in 2008-09 or if fans will be treated to one more showdown between these two wrestlers before White moves on to college.

Four placers return from 119, led by runner-up Nick Lawrence of Westlake. Lawrence, a junior, also finished fifth at 103 in 2007. Also back are junior fourth-place finisher Waquiem Comar of Twinsburg and junior fifth-place finisher Jasper Few of Reynoldsburg.

The 125-pound class loses its state champion in Cincinnati Elder’s Tommy Pretty but returns five placers, starting with junior runner-up Shawn Fayette of Miamisburg and senior third-place finisher Scott Mattingly of Uniontown Lake, who also took fourth at 112 in 2007. Junior Anthony Salupo, who finished fifth, is another of the returning wrestlers to watch for St. Edward.

The 130-pound class was home to a talented crop of competitors last season, and several of them will be back for more this year. Senior Seth Horner of Massillon Perry leads the way, winning his first title last year after two third-place finishes as a freshman and sophomore. Also back will be junior runner-up Brad Squire of Wadsworth, who won at 119 as a freshman and junior third-place finisher Nick Sulzer of St. Edward, who finished second at 112 as a freshman.

The 135 class belonged to Collin Palmer, who cruised through the tournament to finish his season undefeated. Fifth- and sixth-place finishers Zack Cline of Uniontown Lake and Tommy Sasfy of Reynoldsburg also both return for their senior years.

The 140 class saw a tough struggle for the title as unbeaten Richie Spicel of Brunswick bested Kyle Lang of Brecksville-Broadview Heights. The two-time champ Spicel has moved on, but Lang, a three-time state placer, will be back for his senior year and one last shot at winning a gold. Also back will be junior and two-time third-place finisher David Habat of Cleveland St. Ignatius.

The 145  class was the home to Austintown-Fitch superstar Tony Jameson, who became the 16th wrestler in Ohio history to win four state titles. The runner-up to Jameson, T.J. Rigel of New Carlisle Tecumseh, will return for his senior year, as will junior third-place finisher Josh Demas of Westerville North, who also took second at 130 in 2007.

The 152-pound class brings back another Massillon Perry standout in senior Nick Heflin, who fell in the state finals to Jesse Dong of Westerville North. Senior Zack Goins of Elyria, a two-time placer who finished fourth at 152 last season, also will return.

Three of the top five finishers at 160 will be back again this year, led by runner-up J.T. Rice of Hilliard Davidson and fourth-place finisher Kyle Dilley of Lancaster, both seniors. Also keep an eye on sophomore Tylan Coleman of Mayfield, who finished fifth and made a rare splash for a freshman at a higher weight class.

Many of the top competitors at 171 wrestled their final high school match last year, as senior fifth-place finisher Joe Abujaradeh of Berea is the highest returning place-winner. But quite a few familiar faces will be back from the 189-pound class, including second-place winner Greg Isley of Sylvania Southview (sr.), third-place winner and three-time placer Andrew Tumlin of Harrison (sr.), and fourth-place finisher Cody Lamberg of Akron Kenmore (jr.). Both Tumlin and Lamberg posted unbeaten regular season marks last year.

Orlando Scales of Cincinnati Elder, the 215-pound champion, will be returning for his senior year after finishing his junior season undefeated and ranked 11th nationally. Also back from 215 will be Beavercreek senior Cody Smith.

The heavyweight class returns a high amount of competitors, including second-place finisher Delonne Baker of Sandusky (sr.), third-place finisher Jordan Beverly of West Carrollton (sr.), and fourth-place finisher Ben Buzzelli of Wadsworth (jr.).

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