STATE WRESTLING STORYLINES: 7-8
After what was (as always) a drama-filled weekend of district tournament wrestling, the 672 participants have been determined for the 2014 OHSAA State Wrestling Individual Tournament. This 77th edition of the championships has its set of narratives that will keep fans intrigued. Here are a couple intriguing items to eye ball this weekend.
7. More madness in Division II
The 138 pound weight class in Division II is arguably the most stacked weight bracket of the 42 being contested in Columbus this weekend with six past state tournament placers lined up in pairs within three of the quarter brackets.
The first quarter of the draw features Alliance district champion Kyle Kaminski of Padua and three-time state placer Preston Bowshier, last year a state runner-up and this year runner-up at Wilmington. The most likely winner in terms of gambling may be one of those two, even though they might be the fourth and fifth rated wrestlers, just because of how barren the other quarter is in the top half. Josh Mossing of Toledo Central Catholic was champion at Bowling Green DII, and is the likely semifinalist.
In the third quarter of the draw, it is a pair of three-time state placers: Cody Burcher of Claymont, a runner-up in 2011 and 2012, and returning state runner-up Ryan Skonieczny of Akron SVSM; Burcher was champion at Claymont, while Skonieczny has lost to Kamsinki in both the sectional and district finals. Lastly, the fourth quarter of the draw features freshman Kyle Lawson of St. Paris Graham, a runner-up in Kentucky last year, and 2012 state placer Jake Zemaitis of Crestwood; Lawson has beaten Bowshier four times this year, including three of the last four weekends (league, sectional, district).
8. 120 pounds of pain
The 120 pound weight class in Division I features nine wrestlers who have either earned Fargo All-American honors in freestyle or placed at the state tournament already in their careers. The nine wrestlers in question have accrued eight state medals and seven Fargo AA honors between them. Going through the draw by quarter, it is the following.
Alex Mackall of Walsh Jesuit, seventh at state last year and a Cadet freestyle fifth place finisher last summer, was champion at the Mentor district. Runner-up at Top Gun, and a placer at Ironman and Powerade, he will likely face the winner of a first round bout between state placers Santino DiSabato of Westerville North (state 7th) and Josh Heil of Brunswick (state 3rd).
Freshman Corey Shie of LaSalle was seventh in Cadet freestyle last summer and champion of the Kettering Fairmont district. He finished runner-up to Assad at Brecksville, with a win over a Michigan state champion in the semis, and beat Mackall to win the title at Top Gun. He is looking at a quarterfinal date with Armando Torres of Elyria, a returning state runner-up and a two-time Fargo All-American (seventh in Junior freestyle last summer).
Jonathan Furnas was champion of the Hilliard Darby and placed seventh at state last year. This season, he split matches with Torres on the way to a third place finish at Brecksville (lost quarterfinal, won consolation final). Most likely he will be facing Conner Ziegler of Cincinnati Moeller, runner-up to Shie at Kettering Fairmont, who placed sixth at state last year.
Projected state champion Austin Assad of Brecksville finished as runner-up at state each of the last two years, and was a Cadet freestyle All-American in both 2011 and 2012. He placed third at both the Ironman and Beast of the East, beat Torres and Shie to win the title at Brecksville, and beat Heil to win the Bill Dies (along with wins by default in both the sectional and Cleveland State district finals). His likely quarterfinal is against Jake Newhouse of Massillon Perry, who placed eighth in Cadet freestyle last summer, and lost a one-point match to Mackall for the second time this year in the district final. Newhouse also beat Heil to win the title at Medina, and lost to Assad 3-1 in the state dual final.