By Josh Lowe (@JoshMLowe)
Ohio produces three champions and six runners-up; Graham second as team
Even though only three wrestlers from the Buckeye State won titles at the 20th annual Walsh Jesuit Ironman this past weekend, it was still an excellent showcase for Ohio wrestling. Another six Ohio wrestlers finished runner-up and 38 wrestlers in all earned a Top 8 placement. In addition, three teams were among the Top 10 in the standings and seven finished among the Top 16.
Leading the Ohio group were weight class champions Tyler Warner of Claymont (106 pounds), Micah Jordan of St. Paris Graham (145) and Jacob Danishek of Dayton Christian (152). Both Jordan and Danishek were runners-up in this event last year. They were able to move that elusive step higher on the podium this year.
Warner, ranked No. 4 nationally, used four falls and a 12-2 major decision over No. 12 Jason Renteria (Oak Park River Forest, Ill.) to win his weight class.
Jordan, ranked No. 2 nationally, had two falls on the first day and three decision victories over nationally ranked opponents on the way to his title. Saturday victories included a 12-6 decision over No. 11 Larry Early (Oak Park River Forest, Ill.); a 7-1 victory over Pennsylvania state champion and No. 3 Solomon Chishko (Canon-McMillan) and a finals victory over No. 6 Alfred Bannister (Bishop McNamara, Md.). The Jordan- Chishko meeting was arguably the tournament’s most anticipated match.
Danishek, also ranked No. 2 nationally, had an impressive string of wins on Saturday. In the quarterfinal, it was a 9-2 victory over state champion Colstin DiBlasi (Park Hill, Mo.). Next was an 8-3 victory over three-time state champion and No. 19 Phil Downing (Broomfield, Colo.), In the finals, Danishek beat fellow returning Ironman runner-up and No. 8 ranked Mason Manville (Blair Academy, N.J.), 4-2.
Among the runners-up was a pair of wrestlers from St. Paris Graham, which finished second overall to the nation’s top ranked team – Blair Academy, N.J. Blair scored 207.5 to Graham’s 171. Eli Seipel lost 5-0 in the final at 126 pounds to Bellbrook, Ohio native Matthew Kolodzik, who is ranked No. 3 nationally and competes for Blair Academy. Alex Marinelli, ranked No. 5 nationally, is now a two-time Ironman runner-up after losing by fall at 4:51 to 2011 Ironman champion (at 152) and national No. 3 Dylan Milonas of Blair Academy, N.J. in the 160 pound final.
The Falcons also had four other wrestlers place. Freshmen Tanner Smith and Kyle Lawson took sixth place at 106 and 138, respectively. Junior Eli Stickley (ranked No. 10 nationally) took third at 113, while sophomore Brent Moore took third at 132. Head coach Jeff Jordan was truly elated with his team’s performance, “What more could I ask for? Everyone stepped it up this weekend, and multiple wrestlers bounced back very well from losses to place rather high.”
Also with a pair of second place wrestlers – senior Rocco Caywood (182) and junior Cale Bonner (285) – was Perrysburg, which finished 11th with 75 points (ahead of five different InterMat Fab50 teams). That finish came with only six wrestlers entered in the event. Caywood, who went 1-4 the last two years at state, had a pair of wins over Top 10 ranked wrestlers before falling short 5-1 against national No. 1 Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas). Caywood was in the top position against him for the final four minutes. Bonner, eighth at state last year, advanced to the finals on a pair of one point wins, before losing 2-1 against No. 6 Michael Johnson, Jr. (Montini Catholic, Ill.)
The other wrestlers for the Yellow Jackets went 2-2: state placers Mario Guillen (113) and J.P. Newton (160), district placer Kadin Llewelyn (195), and freshman Moises Guillen (120).
Rounding out Ohio’s runners-up was two-time state placer Tegray Scales (195) of Colerain and Austin Pfarr (220) of Marysville. Both wrestlers had to use at least one key upset victory to reach the finals match.
Scales, who is three weeks off of a football season in which he was named Division I Defensive Player of the Year, came through in the clutch with three one-point victories prior to the final. Those victories included a pair of wins on Saturday against nationally ranked opponents: 8-7 in the ultimate tiebreaker over No. 20 L.J. Barlow (Haverford, Pa.) in the quarterfinal, and a 3-2 tiebreaker victory in the semifinal over No. 17 Josh Murphy (Brecksville). A 3-2 victory by No. 4 Derek White (Edmond North, Okla.) kept it from being a total “Cinderella Story”.
Pfarr had the biggest upset victory of the whole tournament, which came in a 5-4 tiebreaker quarterfinal victory over the nation’s No. 1 wrestler at the weight class, Andrew Dixon (Edmond North, Okla.). Pfarr’s loss in the final came 3-2 to No. 17 Edgar Ruano (Montini Catholic, Ill.)
Additional Ohio placers at the Walsh Ironman:
106: Allan Hart (St. Edward) – 5th, Tanner Smith (St. Paris Graham) – 6th
113: No. 10 Eli Stickley (St. Paris Graham) – 3rd, L.J. Bentley (St. Edward) – 5th, No. 8 Dustin Warner (Claymont) – 6th and Christian Clary (Dayton Christian) – 7th
120: No. 14 Austin Assad (Brecksville) – 3rd, Alex Mackall (Walsh Jesuit) – 6th
126: David Bavery (Massillon Perry) – 7th
132: Brent Moore (St. Paris Graham) – 3rd, Wade Hodges (Wauseon) – 6th, Richie Screptock (Oregon Clay) – 7th, Sammy Gross (Beachwood) – 8th
138: Kyle Lawson (St. Paris Graham) – 6th
145: Alex Mossing (Toledo Central Catholic) – 7th
152: Casey Sparkman (Massillon Perry) – 7th
160: No. 15 Austin Reese (Mechanicsburg) – 3rd, Tony Dailey (Massillon Perry) – 4th, David-Brian Whisler (Warren Howland) – 7th
170: Isaac Bast (Massillon Perry) – 4th, No. 15 Ryan Harris (Beachwood) – 8th
182: Anthony McLaughlin (St. Ignatius) – 7th
195: No. 17 Josh Murphy (Brecksville) – 5th, Gunner Gambill (Loveland) – 8th
220: Jerry Thornberry (Moeller) – 3rd, Seth Brennock (Loveland) – 4th, Stefano Millin (Massillon Perry) – 5th, Parker Knapp (St. Edward) – 8th
285: Nate Jackson (Dayton Christian) – 6th, Andrew Alten (Loveland) – 7th