Division III Preview: Three teams headed for collision course in Columbus

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Monroeville junior Logan Steiiber is looking for his thrid state title. (Photo by Nixk Falzerano)

Troy Christian, Marion Pleasant and Monroeville battled it out for the
team crown in Division III last year and they wil again. Each team returns a ton, with
defending champ Troy Christian returning six qualifiers and two state champions, Marion
Pleasant returning five qualifiers and Monroeville returning four
qualifiers, all of them champions.


Troy Christian, Marion Pleasant and Monroeville battled it out for the team crown in Division III last year, with Troy Christian winning its second title in a row. Each team will be back for more this year, with Troy Christian returning six qualifiers and two state champions, Marion Pleasant returning five qualifiers, and Monroeville returning four qualifiers, all of them champions.

The fascinating story comes out of Monroeville, a school with an enrollment of just 103 boys, three of whom are among the best wrestlers in the country. Junior Logan Steiber won his second state title and finished ranked No. 1 nationally at 119. His brother, sophomore Hunter Steiber, posted an unbeaten season, a state title and a No. 2 national ranking at 103 as a freshman. Then there’s sophomore phenom Chris Phillips, who cruised unbeaten to a title at 171 as just a freshman and finished ranked fourth nationally by 411 Wrestling USA – the only non-senior to be ranked.

All three wrestlers finished the season with a record of 51-0. And oh, by the way… Monroeville’s fourth state qualifier, Cam Tessari, was also a state champion, posting a 39-3 mark as a freshman at 112.

Hunter Steiber is among eight placers that return at 103. Among the others are second-place finisher Spencer Pierce of Richwood North Union (sr.) and third-place finisher Tyler Reed of Waterford. All eight winners placed for the first time in their careers.

The 112 class also returns all eight of its place winners. In addition to Tessari, returning will be sophomore Tyler Heminger of Galion Northmor (second place) and senior Riki Reynolds of Marion Pleasant (third place, fifth at 103 in 2007).

Back from 119, in addition to Logan Stieber, will be third-place finisher Johnny Carpenter of Cincinnati Madeira and fourth-place finisher Mike Kovach of Bedford Chanel. The 125-pound class featured three seniors at the top of the winner’s stand.

Fourth-place finisher Shelton Morris of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy returns for his senior year.

The 130-pound class brings back the first of Troy Christian’s returning champions, senior Zac Hancock. Hancock, a three-time placer, knocked off two-time champion Daniel Kolodzik in last year’s finals and will be aiming to go out on top this year as a senior. Also returning is two-time placer Cody Coomes of Marion Pleasant, a senior who finished fifth last season.

Troy Christian returns another state champion hopeful from the 135 class in senior Jordan Thome. Thome, also a three-time placer fell in the finals last year to three-time champion Ryan Gambill of Miami East. He will be shooting for his first title this year.

Another Troy Christian wrestler to watch returns from the 140 class, fourth-place finisher Chris Burns (sr.) – the highest-placing wrestler to return from 140.

Yet another Troy Christian contender comes back from the 145-pound class, this one being perhaps the team’s blue-chipper – senior Zach Toal. Toal won his second consecutive state championship last season and finished as the No. 9 rated wrestler nationally at 145. Toal will likely be favored to win a third title this year. Also returning from 145 is third-place finisher Aaron Hunter of Akron Manchester.

The higher weight classes in Division III were senior-dominated in 2007-08, but a few wrestlers of note return. The 152-pound class lost its top six finishers, with sophomore Cody Walters (seventh place) of Chanel being the highest placing returnee. The 160-pound class brings back sophomore Alex Utley of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, who impressively placed third as a freshman, as well as two-time placer and fifth-place finisher Kyle Kwiat of Tiffin Calvert (fifth place).

Chris Phillips dominated a senior-laden field at 171, and he will likely do the same once again regardless of what class he chooses. He could run into some familiar faces from the 189 class as second-place winner Stuart Miller of Delphos Jefferson returns, as does fifth place finisher Colton Bowers of Marion Pleasant.

At 215, senior Schuyler Bondy of Woodsfield Monroe Central (seventh place) returns, while the heavyweight division returns fifth- and sixth-place finishers Tyler Obringer of Spencerville (jr.) and Mike Treon of Versailles (sr.).

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