STATE WRESTLING REVISITED: BIGGEST STORIES
As we all know, this past weekend was the OHSAA state wrestling tournament, which means that the scholastic wrestling season is “officially” over. However, that does not mean the end to the Ohio Lowedown until next November. While this article will wrap up the just completed state tournament, upcoming articles will address a wide range of topics: Ohio wrestlers in the NCAA tournament, Ohio wrestlers in the post-season national tournaments, et al.
First and foremost, let’s take this moment to congratulate the 42 individuals that were crowned state champions. It is the culmination of much dedication and hard work for them as individuals, as well as their coaches, friends, and families. Each young man should take time to reflect upon what they have accomplished, as they will have it as something to cherish going forward. The same can be said for all of our state placers and qualifiers.
My late January state tournament prediction rankings held up relatively in line with how they have in previous years. There were nine correct champions in each division, for a total of 27 in all. The other champions were all projected to finish within the top four of their weight classes: seven in second, four were rated third, and the other four were positioned in fourth.
Looking in the other direction, eleven of the projected champions who did not win either finished second (four) or third (seven). The other four projected champions that did not win, however did place, one each in fourth, fifth, sixth, and seven. Even though there was a swarm of upsets earlier in the tournament, quarterfinals in particular, it was a relatively normal year in terms of prognostication
Wrestlers that won the first ever state title for their school include Kade Kowalski (Tri-Valley) at 145 pounds, who was also his school’s first ever state finalist; Richie Screptock (Oregon Clay) at 132; Logan Lacure (Greeneview) at 145; Seth Williams (Tiffin Columbian) at 170; and Kyle Conel (Ashtabula Lakeside) at 195.
The longest drought without a state champion ended this weekend was by Perrysburg, with the title won by Caywood. Their most recent previous state champion came 40 years ago in 1974 from Robin Rayfield, who was the head coach at Delta for their previous four titles won in the individual state wrestling tournament (1989, 1996, 1998, and 1999).
Jonathan Alder saw a 28 year drought ended when junior Troy Caldwell scored a pin in the final at 220 pounds. Ron Thomas won that title in Class AA in 1986 at 175 pounds, and is the head coach at his alma mater, shepherding Caldwell to that gold medal this year.
Only six wrestlers ended the season as undefeated state champions this past weekend, which is the lowest number since 2007 when six also accomplished the feat. Those wrestlers were Joey Heyob (St. Xavier), Kyle Conel (Ashtabula Lakeside), Micah Jordan (St. Paris Graham), Seth Williams (Tiffin Columbian), Billy Miller (Perry), and Jacob Danishek (Dayton Christian). The other seven to enter the state tournament undefeated finishes in the following placements: three as runners-up, three in third, and one in seventh.