By Josh Lowe (@JoshMLowe)
Big month continues with big weekend; Perrsburg, Claymont, Dayton Christian coming off big wins
The big Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday weekend will be upon us. Lots of tournaments are on hand, and a few key dual meets are on the docket. However, the past weekend had developments of its own that merit attention.
Perrysburg wins tight race at home PIT
Coming off a runner-up finish at the Brecksville Holiday Invitational Tournament, Delta – last year’s Division III state dual meet champions – had positioned themselves as the best squad in northwest Ohio. However, this weekend Perrysburg stated their disagreement in repeating as champions of the Perrysburg Invitational Tournament.
The Yellow Jackets won a razor tight team race over Delta, 290.5 to 286, keyed by a 7-1 effort in the semifinals and five weight class champions. Winning weight class titles for Perrysburg were Mario Guillen (113), J.P. Newton (152), Rocco Caywood (182), Kadin Llewelyn (195), and Cale Bonner (285). Three of those Yellow Jackets champions upended top four state placers in the finals: Guillen with a 1-0 defeat over state runner-up Seth Beard of Napoleon, Caywood upended defending state champion Aaron Adkins of Akron SVSM 5-3, and Bonner beat state fourth placer Corey Durbin of Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic 7-3.
Runner-up finishes came from Khyron Vidalas (106) and Moises Guillen (120), while six other Yellow Jackets wrestlers placed inside the top six (three 3rd, two 4th, one 6th).
It took a massive effort in the championship finals for Delta to come close to Perrysburg, as the Panthers went 6-0 in finals matches after struggling to a 6-6 record in the morning semifinal round. Weight class titles came from Drew Mattin (106), Jake Spiess (120), Kyle Keller (126), Dustin Marteney (138), Tyler Fahrer (160), and Devin Richard (220). Of note in those weight class titles was sophomore Richard, who earned an 11-3 major decision over returning state alternate Mark Delas of Perrysburg in the semifinal before pinning another returning state alternate Garrett Snyder of North Royalton in the final.
All fourteen Delta wrestlers placed within the top seven of their weight class, which came from three 3rd place finishes, one 4th place finish, two 5th place finishes, as well as single placers in 6th and 7th. Remaining weight class championships went to Wade Hodges (132) and Aaron Schuette (170) of Wauseon and Seth Meyer (145) of Defiance.
Top Gun brings together many of state’s best for mid-January exam in Alliance
Three nationally ranked teams – No. 4 Clovis (Calif.), No. 8 Massillon Perry, and No. 28 Claymont (the defending tournament champions) – anchor the 40-plus tied field that will assemble in Alliance for the Top Gun Wrestling Invitational on Friday and Saturday. Other notable squads in the group are Uniontown Lake, champions of the North Canton Hoover Tournament; Nordonia, champions of the Solon Comet Classic; perennial state top ten teams in Akron SVSM and Marysville; along with Sandusky Perkins. Seven nationally ranked wrestlers, as well as many other state placers and qualifiers from previous seasons will be among the assembled talent.
However, it is the 138 pound weight class – one without a nationally ranked wrestler – that seems to be the featured weight class. The field is projected to feature nine returning state placers, as well as an additional state qualifier. Three-time state placers Cody Burcher (Claymont) and Ryan Skonieczny (Akron SVSM) lead the group, and are joined by a pair of two-time state placers in Michael Kostandaras (Walsh Jesuit) and Isaiah Hokit (Clovis, Calif.). Additional state placers are Nick Boggs (Painesville Riverside), David Sparks (Marysville), Andy Dobben (CVCA), Dashawn Haynes (Buckeye Valley), and Josh Weber (Loudonville); while Nick Steed (Massillon Perry) was a state qualifier last year.
The 106 pound weight class is projected to be the only one with two nationally ranked wrestlers, No. 2 Tyler Warner (Claymont) and No. 11 Justin Mejia (Clovis, Calif.). Others to watch in that weight class include Thomas Genetin (Massillon Perry), along with returning state qualifiers Anthony Jagel (Middletown) and Dante Ginnetti (Poland).
This tournament will mark the major competition return for No. 3 Jose Rodriguez (Massillon Perry), who will be the favorite at 113 pounds. Others to note include two-time state placer Hayden Lee (Marysville), returning state placer Corey Simpson (Field), and Garrett Lambert (Strongsville).
Currently ranked No. 12 nationally at 113 pounds, it is likely that Dustin Warner (Claymont) will be in the 120 pound weight class. It should be a stern test for him with five other state placers from last year present: Alex Mackall (Walsh Jesuit), Julian Gaytan (Clovis, Calif.), Ryan Bennett (CVCA), Greg Brusco (Delaware Hayes), and Trent Duffy (Miami Trace). Additional wrestlers to watch are freshman sensation Corey Shie (LaSalle) and Medina Invitational champion Jake Newhouse (Massillon Perry).
Two additional wrestlers for Massillon Perry are nationally ranked, No. 14 Casey Sparkman and No. 13 Tony Dailey, who anchor the 152 and 160 pound weight classes. Sparkman anchors a field with six other wrestlers having state experience, including two-time state placer Jeff Hojnacki (CVCA); along with state qualifiers in Andrew McNally (Uniontown Lake), Dominic Kincaid (Clovis, Calif.), Heath Phillibert (Nordonia), Dalton Hartshorn (Minerva), and Tristan Stallard (Carrollton). Dailey, champion last year at the Top Gun, has no other wrestlers with state tournament experience in his weight bracket.
Another Massillon Perry wrestler to enter the tournament as a favorite is three-time state placer David Bavery, who was a state champion in 2012, will be at 126 pounds. The weight only has two other wrestlers with state experience – Alec Cotton (Uniontown Lake) and Colton Ullman (Loudonville). Notable freshmen Matt Steer (West Branch) and Andrew Sams (LaSalle) are likely to make an impact as well.
Last among the nationally ranked wrestlers is No. 1 in the nation Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), a Penn State signee who will anchor the show at 285 pounds. State placer Drek Brumley (Akron SVSM), along with state qualifiers Hayden Bottorff (Miami Trace), Logan Sharp (West Branch), and Josh Rohrbacher (Sandusky Perkins) are among those present to offer a nominal challenge. Others to note are Nate Conti (Fort LeBoeuf) and Chris Crumb (Olentangy).
Four state placers head the field at 132 pounds: Nolan Whitely (Walsh Jesuit), Justin Shirkey (LaSalle), Khristian Olivas (Clovis, Calif.), and Garrett Carter (Akron SVSM). State runner-up Zac Carson (Uniontown Lake) leads the proceedings at 145 pounds, where he is joined by two-time state placer Taleb Rahmani (Marysville); along with state experienced wrestlers in Mike DeCesare (Nordonia), Walter Gibson (Akron SVSM), Austin Phillips (Massillon Perry), and Caden Herron (Claymont).
Two-time state placer Isaac Bast (Massillon Perry) leads a field at 170 pounds that features two additional state qualifiers in Matt Dennis (Claymont) and Brody Brand (Clovis, Calif.). Three other state alternates are also present: Tyler Maloy (North Canton Hoover), Cameron Rezapourian (Austintown Fitch), and Travis Grooms (Miami Trace).
Defending state champion Aaron Adkins (Akron SVSM) is the anchor at 182 pounds, where three other state qualifiers are present: Nate Hall (Olentangy), Mike Audi (Poland), and Shawn Johnson (Delaware Hayes). Also present are A.J. Nevills (Clovis), and a pair of district placers in Dylan Hermes (Perkins) and state alternate Colt Crall (Claymont).
The 195 pound weight class is led by state placers Ryan Weber (Loudonville) and Tyler McClellan (CVCA), while state qualifiers Matt Weiss (Clovis, Calif.) and Tyler Dodd (Carrollton) join the proceedings. Lastly, the 220 pound weight class is anchored by Austin Pfarr (Marysville), a returning state placer who was runner-up at the Ironman and champion at Brecksville and SWOWCA this year. Also here are state placer Alex Woicehovich (Nordonia), Medina Invitational champion Garrett Harding (Claymont), state placers Harrison Hoppel (Minerva) and Kordell Chaney (Perkins), along with state qualifiers Hexton Coronado (Clovis, Calif.), Austin Bentley (Carrollton), and Stefano Millin (Massillon Perry).
Nationally ranked teams faced stern tests in Saturday dual meet competition
St. Edward, ranked No. 21 as of January 8th, went undefeated in Saturday’s quad meet at home against Marysville, Toledo Central Catholic, and nationally ranked Marmion Academy (Ill.). However, it was not fully positive for the Eagles. In the opening bout against Marysville, they lost the two matches that could happen deep in the state tournament, and the Monarchs won all four matches featuring their returning state placers.
At 113 pounds, Hayden Lee upset nationally ranked L.J. Bentley 4-2 in the tiebreakers; while at 220 pounds, Austin Pfarr upended Parker Knapp 5-0. In addition, David Sparks beat Joey Ciacchi 8-2 at 138, and Taleb Rahmani beat Ray Barr by 15-3 major decision at 145. However, St. Edward won the other ten matches in a 57-13 victory. In the day’s second match for St. Edward, they defeated Toledo Central Catholic 48-12 winning eleven bouts. The Eagles also picked up the most notable match victory, as Hunter Ladnier upended previous state placer Nate Hagan 6-2 at 132 pounds.
In the day’s final match, host St. Edward lost seven of nine contested weight classes, but won the dual meet 36-27 over Marmion Academy. The Cadets had to forfeit at 145, 160, and the last three weight classes of the dual meet: 220, 285, and 106. Two of those weight classes (145 and 160) have rostered Marmion Academy wrestlers who placed at the Dvorak Invitational, which is the best in-season tournament in the state of Illinois, two weekends ago. The two notable individual match outcomes in that dual meet – both in favor of St. Edward – came at 113 pounds, where L.J. Bentley upended Anthony Bosco 3-0 in a battle of nationally ranked wrestlers; while Gabe Dzuro beat Nathan Traxler 7-6 at 182.
Fellow Cuyahoga County squad Brecksville, ranked No. 23 nationally, traveled to Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.) for four dual meets on Saturday, three were against nationally ranked opposition. The Bees lost matches against Detroit Catholic Central and Montini Catholic (Ill.) by six points respectively. Each of those matches had the opposition win a decision in the last match of the dual meet for their eight weight class victory to confirm the outcome. Brecksville defeated nationally ranked St. Johns (Mich.) 33-31, as they won eight matches; while they won nine matches in a 41-27 victory over Dundee (Mich.), which is ranked second in Division 3 in that state up north.
Going undefeated on Saturday for Brecksville were nationally ranked Austin Assad (120) and Junior National freestyle All-American Josh Murphy (195). Assad won a pair of matches by fall and the other pair by technical fall. Murphy had three falls, including one over Super 32 Challenge placer Tyler Wildmo of St. Johns, and a 7-3 decision over state champion Anthony Ferraro of Montini Catholic.
State champions to collide in dual meet on Saturday
This coming Saturday in Lakewood, it will be the annual dual meet between perennial state champions St. Paris Graham and St. Edward. The traveling Falcons are currently ranked No. 5 nationally, and will visit the No. 21 Eagles. The visitors are favored to win a fourteenth consecutive Division II state title this season, while the host St. Edward team has won 16 of the last 17 in Division I. These are the projected lineups for the match slated to start at 2:00 p.m.
106: Justin Stickley/Tanner Smith (G) vs. Allan Hart (SE)
113: No. 16 Eli Stickley (G) vs. No. 9 L.J. Bentley (SE)
120: Mario Kastl (G) vs. Mason Daugherty (SE)
126: No. 16 Eli Seipel (G) vs. Isaac Collier (SE)
132: Brent Moore (G) vs. Hunter Ladnier (SE)
138: Kyle Lawson (G) vs. Jack Conway/Joey Ciacchi (SE)
145: No. 1 Micah Jordan (G) vs. Ray Barr (SE)
152: Garrett Jordan (G) vs. D.J. Williamson (SE)
160: No. 7 Alex Marinelli (G) vs. Adam Wukie (SE)
170: Lane Thomas (G) vs. Kevin Khoma (SE)
182: Hayden Bronne (G) vs. Gabe Dzuro (SE)
195: Josh Couchman/Kanan Sarver (G) vs. Mike O’Malley (SE)
220: Brandon Hays (G) vs. Parker Knapp (SE)
285: Dylan Nave (G) vs. Ralph Nichols (SE)
Claymont battles to victory against game Uniontown Lake squad
In a home dual meet on Saturday evening, nationally ranked Claymont came through with a 40-31 victory against Uniontown Lake despite winning only seven bouts and giving up a forfeit at 106 pounds. Tyler Warner and Dustin Warner were each up one weight class from their national rankings to register pins in the middle of the first period at 113 and 120 for the Mustangs.
However, the visiting Blue Streaks would win five of the next six bouts, with only three-time state placer Cody Burcher disrupting the proceedings with a pin at the 1:28 mark against district placer Payton Morrison at 138. Key wins in that stretch came from state qualifier Alec Cotton, 4-2 against Kollin Clark at 126, and state runner-up Zac Carson with a 17-7 major decision over 2012 state qualifier Caden Herron at 145.
Claymont would respond with four match victories from the last five weight classes to assure the dual meet victory. State qualifier Matt Dennis came up with a pin at 170, state alternate Colt Crall earned a pin at 182, Medina Invitational champion and state alternate Garrett Harding came up with a 10-0 major decision at 220, and Kyle Henry scored a pin at 285.
Brecksville favored to win yet another Bill Dies Memorial championship
No. 23 in the nation Brecksville has won five straight Bill Dies Memorial Tournaments at Firestone High School in Akron, and are well-positioned to make it six straight this go around on Friday and Saturday. Best positioned to challenge the Bees will be Brunswick and Elyria.
The over 40 team field includes between 30 and 35 wrestlers with state tournament experience. This includes the 170 pound weight class, led by returning state champion Ryan Harris (Beachwood), which is one of two weights with five such wrestlers. Harris will be joined by state placer Craig Sloan (Garfield Hts.), two-time state qualifier Zach Gibson (Bloom Carroll), as well as single-time state qualifiers in Troy Lang (Brecksville) and Zech Lehman (Revere).
In addition, the 120 pound weight class features five state experience wrestlers, including two that finished second at state last year, two-time state runner-up Austin Assad (Brecksville) and Junior National freestyle All-American Armando Torres (Elyria). Also present is returning state third placer Josh Heil (Brunswick), returning state qualifier Kyle Jenkins (Stow), 2012 state qualifier Korey Frost (Canfield), and Noah Schaub (Green).
The 126 pound weight class features four with state tournament experience, including a pair of returning state placers in Jarrad Lasko (Madison) and Chandler Minnard (Bloom Carroll). They are joined by returning state qualifier Justin Demicco (Brecksville), 2012 state qualifier Nate Frye (Cuyahoga Hts), state alternates Brett Thomas (Brunswick) and Tyler Workman (Parma), as well as Brecksville Holiday Tournament placer Nico O’Dor (Elyria).
The other featured weight class comes at 160 pounds, where there are three returning state placers, led by state runner-up and returning Bill Dies champion Kollin Moore (Norwayne). He is joined by state fifth placer Austin Strnad (Brecksville) and state eighth placer Zach Ladich (Rootstown), as well as district placer Taylor Workman (Elyria).
Additional state placers in this tournament field are Joey Bowen (Manchester) at 106 pounds, three-time state placer and 2012 state champion Sammy Gross (Beachwood) at 132, Sonny Lucas (Brecksville) at 138, state champion Travis Linton (Rootstown) at 182, Josh Murphy (Brecksville) at 195, and Sean Rutherford (Norton) at 220.
Despite missing Danishek, Dayton Christian wins Marion County Invitational
It was a very tight team race between last year’s Division III state runner-up Dayton Christian and perennial Division II top ten contender Sandusky Perkins for the title at this past weekend’s Marion County Invitational. Even without the nation’s No. 2 152 pound wrestler Jacob Danishek, a three-time state champion, Dayton Christian was able to come away with the championship by 2-1/2 points (218.5 to 216).
The champion Eagles won four weight class titles: Hunter Bray (106), Christian Clary (113), Nick Vestal (145), and Nate Jackson (285). Vestal, a state runner-up in Florida’s small-school division last year was named Most Outstanding Wrestler in the lower-weights, as he beat two state placers on the way to the title. In the semifinals, it was a 3-1 victory over state placer Reid Stanley of Waynedale, before a 3-1 overtime victory against returning state runner-up Logan Day of Archbold. Three additional wrestlers placed in the top five: Michael May (120) took second, while Seth Bell (132) and Alex Becker (138) finished fifth.
For the runner-up Pirates, it was a move volume-based approach with only Dylan Hermes (182) winning a weight class title, while seven other wrestlers placed in the top six. Finishing second was Kordell Cheney (220), Nate Boggs (132) and John Workman (195) finished third, Matt Salmon (126) and Alex Tetzloff (170) finished fourth, while Juwan Minnifield (120) finished fifth and Jacob Maslyk (106) was sixth.
A pair of Division III state powers finished in the next two positions. 2012 state champions Waynedale were third with 185.5 points, led by a two weight class champions, Brad Wardell (138) and Tristan Anderson (195). Four additional wrestlers placed in the top six: Christian Wellman (106) was second, Reid Stanley (145) and Dakota Stanley (152) finished third, and Jake Staggs (160) was sixth. Fourth place in the tournament went to Archbold with 160.5 points, as the Blue Streaks were without a champion but placed seven wrestlers in all. Logan Day (145) finished second, returning state qualifiers Damian Short (113) and Travis Jaramillo (220) were third, Zach Meyer (145) and Eli Hammersmith (195) took fourth, Garrett Grime (152) was fifth, while Kenny Price (138) took sixth.
Outstanding wrestler for the upper-weights went to two-time state placer Zach Mays (Nelsonville-York), who won the 152 pound weight class with a semifinal victory over state qualifier Dakota Stanley and an overtime victory in the finals against two-time state qualifier and returning state placer Jamie Baldridge (Galion Northmor).
Rounding out the weight class champions were Evan Cheek (Milan Edison) at 120, defending state champion Garrett Hancock (Troy Christian) at 126, Antonio Mitchell (Willoughby South) at 132, Dain Steffeny (Granville) at 160, Jesse Palser (Mansfield) at 170, and Troy Caldwell (Jonathan Alder) at 220.
Another great Northwest Ohio battle at Maumee Bay Tournament this weekend
After last weekend’s two-team tussle between Perrysburg and Delta for the Perrysburg Invitational Tournament title, those two teams will be part of the Maumee Bay-Michael Casey Memorial Tournament this coming Friday and Saturday. However, Perrysburg will be short-handed as state placers Mario Guillen (113) and J.P. Newton (152) will be absent from the lineup along with state qualifier Rocco Caywood (182), district placer Kadin Llewelyn (195), and freshman Moises Guillen (113). Each is being held out since they competed in the Ironman and both other three-point events for the Yellow Jackets season to date. Instead, Delta’s primary challengers will be solid squads from Oregon Clay and Perry, who made the final eight of the dual meet state tournament last year in Divisions I and II.
Close to 40 wrestlers in this field bring state tournament experience to the table, which includes a tournament high of five in the 160 pound weight class led by returning state placers Tyler Fahrer (Delta) and Nick Stencel (Oregon Clay). Additional state qualifiers potentially in the weight class include Mike Wearsch (Amherst), Payton Geary (Fremont Ross), and Rob Mickey (Johnstown Northridge).
Four wrestlers with state experience are present at 126 and 285 pounds. At 126, that group is led by two-time state placer Kyle Keller (Delta). He is joined by 2012 state placers Josh Wimer (Grove City Central Crossing) and Jared Davis (Oregon Clay), along with returning state qualifier Matt Mangen (Versailles). Billy Miller (Perry), one of two state champions in the field, leads the way at 285 pounds; as he is joined by returning state placers Cale Bonner (Perrysburg) and T.J. Lawrence (Oak Harbor), along with returning state qualifier Antonio Zapata (Oregon Clay) and state alternate Chance Vellor (Delta).
Three additional weight classes are likely to have three state placers: 120, 132, and 170 pounds. Defending state champion Jacob Spiess (Delta) is joined by returning state placers Colin Dees (Perry) and Colin Ingram (Lima Bath) at 120 pounds, with freshman Moises Guillen (Perrysburg) also looming in that field. It is a trio of two-time state placers at 132 pounds with senior Aaran Gessic (Perry) joined by juniors Richie Screptock (Oregon Clay) and Wade Hodges (Wauseon), with freshman Noah Mattin (Delta) also meriting attention in the weight class. The 170 pound weight class features a pair of returning state runners-up in Seth Williams (Tiffin Columbian) and Aaron Schuette (Wauseon), along with state fourth place finishes L.J. Henderson (Indian Lake) and state alternate Dylan Hefner (Lima Shawnee).
Rounding out the state placers in the tournament are Jake Adkins (Johnstown Northridge) at 106 pounds, Dustin Marteney (Delta) at 138, a pair of fourth placers in Heath Lange (Indian Lake) and Trey Grine (Fremont Ross) at 145, Alec Schenk (Perry) at 182, and state runner-up Isaiah Margheim (Sandusky) at 195.
Quick bits for the upcoming week
In between major tournament competitions at Perrysburg and Oregon Clay, defending Division III dual meet state champion Delta will travel to No. 20 Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.) for an intriguing dual meet at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday night.
Cincinnati Moeller is the strong favorite to win yet another title at the Catholic Invitational Tournament this coming weekend. Competition will be held at the Wolstein Center on the campus of Cleveland State University on Saturday and Sunday. Padua serves as the host team, while additional notable squads include Lake Catholic, St. Ignatius, Cincinnati Elder, and Cincinnati St. Xavier.
A staple of the small and medium-school schedule in southwest Ohio is the Hammer and Anvil Tournament, which will be this Saturday at Western Brown. It is a pool-to-bracket format involving sixteen teams. Four pools of four start the competition with semifinals and finals out to eight placers (champions go for 1st-4th, runners-up for 5th-8th).
Teams in east and southeast Ohio will be joined by some from West Virginia in their big conference tournament this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Wheeling, W. Va. The OVAC Championships are viewed as the major tournament of the season for those schools.