By Josh Lowe (@JoshMLowe)
Medina, Brecksville, GMVWA tournaments highlight post-Christmas schedule…
Christmas comes Wednesday. With that comes the two-pound growth allowance for the 2013-14 season. However, for those wrestlers still needing an initial weigh-in at a lower weight class, they will need to make it at scratch before picking up the allowance.
The post-Christmas period is a full weekend when it comes to major competition. Two of the state’s best regular season events – other than the Walsh Ironman – happen during this weekend. A pair of nationally ranked teams – Brecksville and Davison (Mich.) – will anchor the Brecksville Holiday Invitational Tournament, which features the possibility of over 110 wrestlers with state experience in the field. Four nationally ranked teams – Massillon Perry, Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.), St. Edward, and Claymont – anchor the field at the Medina Invitational Tournament, which could have close to 85 wrestlers with state experience in the field.
Brecksville Holiday Invitational Tournament
This year’s Brecksville tournament features 46 teams and takes place on Sunday and Monday. Wrestling on Sunday starts at 11:00 a.m. and will include the quarterfinals in the evening. The morning session on Monday will start at 10:00 a.m., and include the semifinals at 1:00 p.m.; the finals will start at 6:30 p.m. on Monday night.
There are ten state champions from last year in the field, including the potential for two weight classes to feature state champ vs. state champ showdowns: Anthony Tutolo (Lake Catholic) and Lincoln Olson (Davison, Mich.) at 126, with Billy Miller (Perry) and Patrick Garren (Bishop Ready) at 285. Five additional weight classes could feature multiple state finalists as well.
The pair of nationally ranked teams would be the joint team favorites, with Brecksville as the defending tournament champion. Additional teams to watch include Delta (Division III state dual meet champion); Perry (Division II state runners-up); Dayton Christian (Division III state third place); Centerville, Oregon Clay, Marysville, and Toledo Central Catholic (state dual meet final eight qualifiers); along with Grand Rapids Catholic Central (Mich.), Loveland, and Perrysburg.
Medina Invitational Tournament
The Medina tournament celebrates its 39th edition this year, and wrestling will take place on Friday and Saturday. Wrestling on both days starts at 10:00 a.m. Competition on Friday will include the quarterfinals in the evening, while the Saturday morning session will include the semifinals starting at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday night’s finals session starts at 6:00 p.m.
The field features six state champions from last year, along with four other wrestlers who were state runners-up. The 113 pound weight class is likely to be the tournament’s feature weight with state champion Jose Rodriguez (Massillon Perry), state runner-up Seth Beard (Napleon), state third placers Dustin Warner (Claymont) and Aaron Kilburn (Richmond, Mich.), along with two-time Ironman placer L.J. Bentley (St. Edward) all possibly in it. Two other weight classes could feature multiple state finalists.
The four nationally ranked teams would be the lead contenders for the tournament title, with St. Edward as the defending tournament champion. Additional teams to watch are Richmond (Michigan Division 3 state champions), CVCA and Lexington (state dual meet final eight qualifiers), along with Brunswick, Wadsworth, and Sandusky Perkins.
Short-handed Moeller rules roost at SWOWCA
Even missing a whole slew of wrestlers from the team that will step on the mat during the second half of the year, Cincinnati Moeller still had enough to win the SWOWCA Glenn Sample Holiday Classic hosted by Harrison H.S. The Crusaders used two champions and five other placers to score 197 points. Winning titles were state qualifier Connor Borton (126) and state placer Jacoby Ward (132); Joe Hensley (285) finished second; while Conner Ziegler (120), Drew Hobbs (138), Campbell Morton (145), and Austin Bohenek (160) finished fourth.
Tournament runners-up were Loveland with 186.5 points. The Tigers had a pair of champions of their own in two-time state placer Michael Weber (182) and 2012 state qualifier Andrew Alten (285), with six other wrestlers earning placement honors: James Caniglia (170) and Gunner Gambill (195) were second, Seth Brennock (220) finished third, Jonathan Quigley (106) took sixth, Jordan Paul (152) finished seventh, and Peter Vuyk (120) was eighth.
Even though they placed a tournament-high nine wrestlers, Mason only was able to muster a third place finish with 165.5 points. The lone finalist for the Comets was Patrick Kearney (113), who took second place. Other placers were Zach Donathan (106) and Jordan Collins (160) in third, Sheldon Sims (195) and Austin Morris (285) in fifth, Caleb Walden (132) and Caleb Dimerling (145) in sixth, Colin Schuster (126) taking seventh, and Adam Wall (182) earning eighth place.
The team with the most champions was Marysville, who took fourth place with 158.5 points despite having three win their respective weight classes. Championships came from two-time Indiana state placer Hayden Lee (113), two-time state placer Taleb Rahmani (145), and state placer Austin Pfarr (220). The only other placer for the Monarchs was David Sparks (138), who finished in second place.
Rounding out the weight class champions were state qualifier Anthony Jagel (106) of Middletown, freshman Corey Shie (120) of LaSalle, state qualifier Lane Hinkle (138) of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky state qualifier Clay Brown (152) of Walton Verona, two-time state qualifier A.J. Kowal (160) of Princeton, 2012 state placer Joe Heyob (170) of Princeton, and two-time state placer Tegray Scales (195) of Colerain.
Perry Pirates rally back for win over Wadsworth
In a battle between top ten teams in northeast Ohio, last year’s Division II state runners-up Perry rallied back from a 17-0 deficit in order to defeat the perennially strong Wadsworth Grizzlies by a 33-29 score. The opening four wins for Wadsworth came from a major decision by freshman Brandon Randolph (106), a pin by sophomore Noah Baughman (113), an 11-6 upset victory for freshman Cody Surratt (120) over returning state placer Collin Dees, and a major decision from junior Connor Gray (126).
However, Perry responded with three consecutive wins of their own, starting with pins by two-time state placer Aaran Gessic (132) and junior Josh Romano (138), before a 3-2 decision from junior Nick Sbrocco (145) cut the deficit down to 17-15 at the halfway point.
Wadsworth then responded with a 5-2 decision victory by senior district placer Robbie Bosley (152) against freshman Evan Schenk. Perry countered with an 11-1 major decision victory from Cameron Winters (160), before Shane Mast (170) took a forfeit to push the Wadsworth lead to 26-19.
Perry then countered with an 13-4 major decision victory from senior placer Alec Schenk (182), and Wadsworth responded by bumping up junior state qualifier Tim Knipl (195), where he earned a 5-4 victory over junior district placer Kyle Kremiller to provide them a 29-23 lead with two matches to go.
The Pirates were then able to tie the dual meet when Brandon Truhn (220) earned a win by fall, which then left it in the hands of their senior state champion Billy Miller (285) to win the dual meet. Miller did the deed with a 15-4 major decision victory over Jeremy Randolph.
Graham anchors 50-plus team GMVWA field at Nutter Center
The 13-time defending Division II state tournament champion St. Paris Graham is the flagship team of the GMVWA Tournament to be held at Wright State University on Friday and Saturday. They are a top five team in the country, and prohibitively favored to win the tournament yet again. However, there is another nationally ranked team in the field in Archer (Ga.), who is a solid bet to take second place. Wrestling starts at 11:00 a.m. on both days, with the quarterfinals and semifinals slated for the Saturday morning session, and the finals slated for 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The 47 Ohio teams in the field feature a total of 47 returning and/or past state qualifiers, while Archer’s lineup will feature 11 state qualifiers of its own, and the five Kentucky teams have 29 state qualifiers.
Teams meriting focus beyond Graham and Archer include Campbell County (Kentucky state runner-up); Troy Christian (defending Division III state champions); and Athens, Pickerington Central, and Versailles (state dual meet final eight qualifiers).
State Duals regions and sub-regions determined
During the last week, the OHSAA made a determination about which teams will be in each of the eight regions per division, and the subsequent split into sub-regions for this year’s state team wrestling tournament. The seeding of teams within each sub-region will take place in early January, with the release of seeds taking place after January 10th.
The first layer of the state team tournament will take place on Wednesday, January 22nd. It will reduce each sub-region down to two teams. The “final four” in each region will take place one week later on January 29th, and set up the eight teams to compete at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, February 8th.
Those team assignments are online within the OHSAA website, http://ohsaa.org/sports/wr/boys/2014_TEAM/TEAM_tournamentinfo.htm
Quick Hitters: past and upcoming weekends
Both Ohio teams that made the trip to the Beast of the East, which is the nation’s second-best regular season tournament, this past weekend finished in the top ten. Even without two nationally ranked starters – Jose Rodriguez (113) and Tony Dailey (160) – Massillon Perry finished in sixth place with four wrestlers reaching the podium: Casey Sparkman (152) took third, Stefano Millin (220) was fourth, David Bavery (126) was sixth, and Isaac Bast (170) finished eighth. Led by two medalists, Austin Assad (120) in third and Josh Murphy (195) in fifth, Brecksville placed ninth in the standings.
Also on the tournament docket this coming week is the Kenston Invitational Tournament, which will be held on Friday and Saturday. That tournament field features 28 teams and is led by Crestwood, Parma (defending tournament champion), and West Branch.
Despite only a single champion in state qualifier Geno Rollo (285), Pickerington North was able to win their own tournament with 206 points. It came by the narrowest of margins, as Campbell County (Ky.) finished in second with 205.5 points, led by weight class titles from their pair of nationally ranked wrestlers – Sean Fausz (132) and Austin Myers (220). However, the Panthers did it on volume, as they had eight wrestlers in all win their preliminary pool and earn a top four finish. Three schools joined Campbell County in producing multiple champions: Trent Gill (106) and Garrett McIlvain (145) for Hilliard Davidson, Camron Latham (120) and Colton Carroll (152) for Teays Valley, as well as Ryan Penley (160) and Garrick Ginter (182) for Sidney. Among the other weight class champions were state placers Shakur Laney (113) of Groveport Madison and Josh Wimer (138) of Grove City Central Crossing, along with state qualifier Lenn’s Kamba (195) of Olentangy Orange.
St. Ignatius won the 20-team Bowling Green Duals this past weekend. The Wildcats went undefeated over the course of ten dual meets, including a 65-15 victory over Toledo St. John’s in the championship final. Finishing third was Oregon Clay’s mixture of starters and reserves with a 46-32 victory over Mechanicsburg.
Outside of the Walsh Jesuit Ironman, one of the bigger events this past weekend had to be the North Canton Holiday Invitational. The 54th edition of the event was a two-team show between Uniontown Lake and Wadsworth, which the Blue Streaks ended up winning 228-211.5. Each team had 10 placers inside the top six. Green (125 points) was 86 points back in third.
Lake had two weight class champions – returning state runner-up Zac Carson (145) and state qualifier Andrew McNally (160), who earned five pins (in 13:02) from his five matches. Alec Cotton was runner-up at 126 pounds, losing to Michigan state runner-up Martin Rodriguez (Holt) 1-0. A trio of wrestlers – Michael Nagy (132), Trey Sommers (182), and Chris Meffert (195) – placed third for Lake.
Wadsworth did not have a single champion, but did have three second place finishers in Noah Baughman (113), Darrin Gilkerson (132) and Shane Mast (170). Baughman beat Michigan state champion and defending tournam