JJHuddle’s Wrestling Notebook: Ohio Wrestlers of the Week, Ironman preview


Graham junior Ryan Taylor will try to win his first Ironman title this wekend at 112.

One of the toughest wrestling tournaments in the nation kicks off
this weekend at Walsh Jesuit. Yes, it is Ironman time! We’ll take a look at who will be there along with naming our JJHuddle Wrestlers of the Week as we unveil a new weekly segment dedicated to recognizing wrestling in the state of Ohio…

One of the toughest wrestling tournaments in the nation kicks off this weekend at Walsh Jesuit.

Yes, it is Ironman time!

Graham, Wadsworth, Monroeville and Lakewood St. Edward heads the list of 22 Ohio schools participating in the annual tournament along with Blair Academy of New Jersey and a host of others.

In all, 16 states will be represented at the tournament. Outside of Ohio, California and Pennsylvania are the most represented states with 11 schools each.

Virginia will be represented by seven teams, Illinois (3), Colorado (2) and Delaware (2) will be joined by one school from each Texas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Idaho, North Carolina, Florida, Missouri and West Virginia.

Joining Graham, Wadsworth, Monroeville and St. Ed from Ohio will be Moeller, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Clay, Copley, CVCA, Elmwood, Elyria, Goshen, Highland, Massillon Perry, Oak Harbor, Padua Franciscan, St. Ignatius, St. Vincent-St. Mary, Toledo Central Catholic, Troy Christian, University School and Walsh Jesuit.

Blair has seven wrestlers seeded in the top four at the tournament while Graham has six.

Graham and Blair could meet at least once in the semifinals. Ryan Taylor is seeded third at 112, one spot behind Blair.

Ian Miller is the top seed at 160, followed by Graham’s Matt Stephens.

Monroeville’s big three – Hunter Stieber, Cam Tessari and Chris Phillips – are all seeded first. All won titles last week at Edison, but the squad managed just a fourth place finish.

Johnni DiJulius is the top seed for the host, who once was one of the powers in the tournament.

Tyler Hardtke (160) Elder: Hardtke went a perfect 5-0 at the Elder duals, including a thrilling 3 OT affair with Beavercreek’s Nick Corba in the finale.

Jordan Puska (119) Edgewood: Puska got a good start to his season, going 5-0 at the Harrison Duals including a 7-2 win over returning state qualifier Jordan Branham (Miamisburg).


Where’s Felipe?: Both Oregon Clay and Genoa were in action last weekend, but there was no sign of Felipe Martinez in either line up.

Martinez is not listed on Clay’s line up for Ironman either.

Martinez, who won two state titles at Graham and is considered the top high school wrestler in the nation, left Graham last spring to move to the Toledo area where his mother, Cookie, had secured a job in nursing.

He was enrolled at Clay through the end of the school year, but his mother has roots in Genoa and had entertained the idea of moving there once they got settled.

Strong start in Solon: Bedford St. Peter Chanel claimed the Solon Comet Classic with 218.5 points over the weekend. Oregon Clay was second.

Beavercreek-Elder battle it out in opening week:
The championship match at the Elder duals lived up to its billing as the host Panthers were able to hang on for a 37-29 win over Beavercreek.

The Beavers had to shuffle their line up after returning state placer Tommy Willis suffered an apparent ankle injury.

Josh Stevens went 5-0 for the Beavers while Matt Sandman clinched the win for Elder. Sandman was 5-0 on the day with all of his wins coming by fall or technical fall.

In the highlight, Elder’s Tyler Hardtke battled for a win over Beavercreek’s Nick Corba in three overtimes.

Where’s the beef?:
In perusing results from around the state, there are a number of teams without 285 pounders this winter. In fact, 20 teams in five tournaments had no 285.

Most of the schools have football teams with a bounty of beef to choose from, so where are all the heavys?

Most football coaches prefer their linemen wrestle because of the benefits for them in the fall with footwork and hand fighting ability. Not to mention, it keeps them in shape and progressing with basic skills. So, is it just another case of Xbox winning out over working hard, or ….

What has happened to Carroll?:
At one point in time, not long ago, the Dayton Carroll Patriots were one of the top programs in Southwest Ohio and the state.

Wrestling in Division I, they sported a line up with hammers from 103 through 285. Guys like Nick Terbay, Pat Barrentine, David Clemons, Mark DiSalvo among others.

They were a program annually challenging the big boys for the big trophies.

Last weekend at the Franklin Invitational, the Patriots filled just nine weight classes in finishing ninth in the 10 team tournament. Ian Brown (160) was their lone finalist.

Tommy Willis has moved back to Beavercreek and Josh Nelson is now at Carroll. Both were on the podium last season for the Patriots at the state tournament.

What a difference a decade makes.

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