STATE WRESTLING STORYLINES: 3-4
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.
3. Four times the fun!
A pair of senior wrestlers is seeking their fourth state titles this year, Micah Jordan (145) of St. Paris Graham and Jacob Danishek (152) of Dayton Christian. Should they see their hands raised on the raised mats of The Schott on Saturday night, they would become the 26th and 27th such wrestlers to earn four state titles in Ohio high school wrestling.
4. Fourteen-peat, gets boring after a while, doesn’t it?
St. Paris Graham is a very strong favorite to win their 14th consecutive title in the Division II individual state tournament. The Falcons qualified twelve wrestlers to state, which are joint-most in any division and the highest in Division II. They ran through the Wilmington district, as all their state qualifiers made the finals on Saturday night, with eight winning titles: Justin Stickley (106), Eli Stickley (113), Mario Kastl (120), Brent Moore (132), Kyle Lawson (138), Micah Jordan (145), Alex Marinelli (160), and Josh Couchman (195). Returning state champion Eli Seipel (126), state placer Lane Thomas (170), along with state tournament debutants Garrett Jordan (152) and Hayden Bronne (182) were the runners-up.
They are the strong favorites with projected state champions in Eli Stickley, Moore, Lawson, Micah Jordan, and Marinelli. In addition, Justin Stickley, Kastl, Seipel, and Thomas are all projected to be mid-to-high placers. That should be able to overwhelm the rest of the field.
Two-time state dual meet runner-up Claymont was dominant champions of their own district tournament, as the Mustangs qualified eleven to the state tournament. That includes five district champions: projected state champions Tyler Warner (106) and Dustin Warner (120), Kollin Clark (126), Cody Burcher (138), and Colt Crall (182). Past state qualifier Cade Herron (145) finished second, as did Lane Peters (113) and Kyle Henry (285); Garrett Harding (220) finished third, while Chandler Golec (132) and Nate Gray (195) finished fourth. The other three Claymont wrestlers were state alternates, including past state qualifier Matt Dennis (170). They are the most likely team to finish second to St. Paris Graham, though the term challenger would not be accurate.
Bowling Green DII district champions Toledo Central Catholic have the next most qualifiers with nine, which are led by four district champions: defending state champion Alex Mossing (152), Josh Mossing (138), Chris Norwood (220), and J’Quan Fisher (285). District runners-up included Josh Venia (106), 2012 state placer Nate Hagan (132) and Richard Jackson (145); while Rosendo Beltran (120) and Lucas Beauch (160) qualified from third and fourth place positions respectively.
The other two teams in the hunt for second and third place exited the Alliance district in first and second place. Champion Akron SVSM qualified seven, while second place Perry – last year the Pirates were second at state – advanced six to state.
The Irish are led by a pair of district champions in Drek’ Brumley (220), who upset the projected state champion in the district final, and defending state champion Aaron Adkins (182). Finishing as runners-up were returning state placer Garrett Carter (132) and Ryan Skonieczny (138); Sal Ferrise (120) and Ben Knauss (152) finished third, while Walter Gibson (145) made it from a fourth place position.
The Pirates also are led by a pair of district champions in defending state champion Billy Miller (285) and two-time state placer Aaran Gessic (132). Returning state placers Collin Dees (120) and Alec Schenk (182) exited as runners-up, while Kyle Kremiller (195) and Brady Toth (106) were third and fourth respectively.