Ohio Lowedown: Ohio HS Wrestling State Duals Regional Preview…Favorites, Challengers and Storylines

The fourth edition of the OHSAA Team State Wrestling Tournament (aka, state duals) will take place over three weeks in late January and early-to-mid February. Voting for seeds to determine the regional draws has been completed, after the OHSAA assigned the teams into regionals (and sub-regions) in the month of December. Each region is split into two pods (aka, sub-regions), and each sub-region is split into two parts with the top two seeds in each sub-region as the anchoring team.

Timetable for the tournament:

Wednesday 1/27 – sub-region quarterfinals and semifinals are contested
Wednesday 2/3 – regional semifinal and finals are contested (highest remaining seed is eligible to host, this year team in sub-region “B” is the tiebreaker)
Friday 2/5 (unofficial) – state tournament quarterfinal pairings are released (seeding done by committee)
Sunday 2/14 – state tournament at St. John Arena (Ohio State University, Columbus)

Notable Items:

Three different schools have won the title in Division I, and each of those schools has also finished runner-up on one occasion. St. Edward was champion in 2013 and runner-up in 2015, Massillon Perry was runner-up in 2013 and champion in 2014, while Brecksville was runner-up in 2014 and champion in 2015. These three schools also lost in the semifinal round in the year they didn’t make the finals, while Cincinnati Moeller (2013/2014) and Elyria (2015) have also earned semifinal appearance.

JJH-LoweMarysville joins St. Edward, Massillon Perry, and Brecksville as the only school to qualify for the Division I state dual meet tournament in each of the three editions; Oregon Clay (2013/2014), Moeller (2013/2014), and Mason (2014/2015) are the schools with two appearances; those with single appearances are Centerville (2013), Pickerington Central (2013), Delaware Hayes (2014), Elder (2015), Elyria (2015), and Lancaster (2015).

St. Paris Graham has won the Division II title in all three seasons, while Claymont was runner-up the first two years and a semifinal loser last year; Toledo Central Catholic was runner-up last year, and a semifinal loser to St. Paris Graham the previous two years. The fourth semifinalist in each year as been Hamilton Ross (2013), Perry (2014), and Lexington (2015).

Lexington joins St. Paris Graham, Claymont, and Toledo Central Catholic as the only school to qualify for the Division II tournament in each of the three editions; Hamilton Ross (2013/2015), Perry (2013/2014), and Padua (2014/2015) are the schools with two apperances; those with single appearances are CVCA (2013), The Plains Athens (2013), Wilmington (2014), Akron SVSM (2015), and New Lexington (2015).

Amanda-Clearcreek has appearances in both the Division III (2013) and Division II (2014) state dual meet tournaments.

Delta has won the Division III title in all three seasons. Tuslaw was the runner-up in 2013 and a semifinal loser in 2014, while Dayton Christian has earned runner-up finishes each of the last two years. Other semifinal losers include Johnstown Northridge (2013), Versailles (2013), West Salem Northwestern (2014), Mechanicsburg (2015), and Milan Edison (2015).

Delta and Tuslaw are the lone teams to qualify for state in all three editions of the event. Those with a pair of state tournament appearances are Blanchester (2013/2014) and Dayton Christian (2014/2015). Single state tournament appearances for Keystone (2013), Upper Sandusky (2013), Versailles (2013), Johnstown Northridge (2013), Rootstown (2014), West Salem Northwestern (2014), Lima Bath (2014), Bishop Hartley (2014), Mohawk (2015), Milan Edison (2015), Mechanicsburg (2015), Kirtland (2015), and West Laffayette Ridgewood (2015).

Division I Regional Overview

Region 1: Elyria (Sub-region B) is the strong favorite to advance to the state quarterfinals, as they are probably the second best team overall in Division I at the moment. The second seed in this sub-region is Avon, with Lorain and Midview the next two seeds. In terms of sub-region A, it’s wide open with each of the top four seeds having some degree of chance of facing Elyria in the regional final (teams listed in order of seeding): Perrysburg, Oregon Clay, Anthony Wayne, and Fremont Ross.

Region 2: St. Edward (Sub-region B) is the favorite to advance to the state quarterfinals, they are the top team in the state. The Eagles face no true challenger at the sub-region level. However, sub-region A features a pair teams ranked in the top five-to-end of Division I in Wadsworth (the top seed) and Brunswick (second seed). Olmsted Falls is a team that is very balanced, and could easily upset Brunswick on January 27th if the Bulldogs get the matchups they want.

Region 3: Defending state dual meet champions Brecksville (Sub-region A) have had an uneven season to date, from not wrestling well at the Ironman or the dual meet against Wadsworth to a most excellent performance in winning their own holiday tournament. None the less, the Bees should still make the regional final Solon is the next best team in the sub-region. However, Aurora in sub-region B could pose some challenge to Brecksville in terms of state qualification; nominal threats to the Greenmen in their sub-region include Kenston, Willoughby South, and Mentor (seeded second through fourth)

Region 4: As a team in transition, Massillon Perry (sub-region B) could be very susceptible to missing out on the state tournament if the regional assignments were different. However, in this composition, the Panthers (whom have improved vastly with each week of the season), are favored to clear to the state tournament. Within the sub-region, Austintown Fitch is the second seed; while it’s wide open in sub-region A. Listed in seed order, it goes Copley, Uniontown Lake, Hudson, and Walsh Jesuit; with anyone’s guess for whom advances.

Region 5: Since Olentangy Liberty, which is probably the third best team in Division I, chose not to participate, this state tournament spot is open to any number of teams. However, the likely favorite is Delaware Hayes (top seeds in sub-region A). From sub-region B, the top two seeds are Lancaster and Westerville North, though it is my prediction that Westerville North will be the team to face the Pacers for a state spot.

Region 6: Marysville (sub-region B) has made it to state in each of the previous three years, and like last year will be underdogs in their endeavor; within the sub-region, the Monarchs are the top seed and will face nominal – at best – threat form the three Hilliard schools (listed in seed order: Davidson, Bradley, and Daby). While in sub-region A, it’s a battle between potentially top ten ranked teams in Dublin Coffman (top seed) and Central Crossing (second seed); the higher seeded Shamrocks being the much more balanced roster, while the Comets are the stronger individual bracket team.

Region 7: Along with region 5, this is the overall weakest region in Division I. The strong favorite here is Fairfield (sub-region B), which has won tournament titles at SWOWCA, Kenston, and their own tournament. From an underwhelming sub-region A the top four seeds are Centerville, Northmont, Beavercreek, and Kettering Fairmont.

Region 8: On the other hand, this Southwest Ohio region is loaded, with Mason the slightest of favorites. The Comets have qualified for the state duals the last two years from Region 7, and earned a dual meet victory over fellow top ten squad Moeller on Thursday night. These two teams are looking at a rematch in the sub-region A final (i.e. regional semifinal), one that could go in either direction. While in sub-region B, returning state tournament participant Elder is the slight favorite over (in seed order) LaSalle, Harrison, and Oak Hills.

Division II Regional Overview

Region 9: With Toledo Central Catholic significantly down this year as a top-to-bottom roster, it looks like either Wauseon (sub-region A) or Perkins (sub-region B) will be making their state quarterfinal debut. Both the Indians and Pirates are the top seeds in their sub-region, and possess formidably balanced squads. The likely regional final dual meet between the two should be intriguing. Napoleon and Defiance are the second and third seed in sub-region A, while Bellevue and Sandusky are the second and third seed in sub-region B.

Region 10: A pair of returning state tournament participants, Padua (sub-region A) and Akron SVSM (sub-region B), populate this region; while the Irish from SVSM should be the favored team to make a second straight trip to Columbus. Woodridge is the second seed to SVSM in their sub-region, and could pose a nominal threat; while Bay and Buckeye are the second and third seeds in sub-region A.

Region 11: It would be a shock if Lake Catholic (sub-region B) does not make its state quarterfinals debut. Perry is the second seed behind the Cougars, while in sub-region A, Ravenna Southeast and Ravenna are the top two seeds (Crestwood and West Branch the next two seeds).

Region 12: This region is absolutely loaded full of talented teams, with four teams ranked inside the top five-to-ten in Division II, including three-time state tournament participant Claymont (sub-region B). Within the Mustangs’ sub-region is another three-time participant in Lexington, though the Minutemen are a non-factor this year; even so, Ashland (though not top ten at the moment) has a very solid top-to-bottom squad, and would have a state qualification shot from a different region. Sub-region A is a monster with Steubenville, Canfield, and Carrollton (listed in seed order) all seeking one spot in the regional final; credible Alliance, Beaver Local, Minerva, and Marlington teams are the next teams in the seed ladder within the sub-region.

Region 13: The two top-seeded teams in this region are looking at a rematch of last year’s regional final rematch, one that New Lexington (sub-region B) won by a 43-21 score over Licking Valley. However, the best wrestler on the New Lexington roster from last year, state qualifier Dmitri Williams, is out for the season. Gallia, Fairfield Union, and Sheridan are the next three seeds in sub-region B; while West Holmes is the second seed to Licking Valley in sub-region A.

Region 14: St. Paris Graham (sub-region B) is a top five team in the country, and prohibitively favored to make the state quarterfinal round, and of course win it all. Second best to the Falcons in their sub-region is Wapakoneta, while Whitehall, Buckeye Valley, Circleville, and Bishop Hartley are the top seeds in sub-region A.

Region 15: Western Brown (sub-region B) is after an elusive state dual meet tournament appearance; the Broncos are the top seed in their sub-region, while the next two seeds are New Richmond and Franklin. The top three seeds in sub-region A are Miami Trace, Washington C.H., and Wilmington.

Region 16: This is without doubt the weakest sub-region within Division II. Two-time dual state participant Hamilton Ross (sub-region B) would have to be considered the favorite, and are the top seed in their sub-region ahead of Reading. Within the other sub-region, the top four seeds are Eaton, Valley View, Middletown Madison, and Tippecanoe.

Division III Regional Overview

Region 17: Three-time state champion Delta (sub-region B) is the strong favorite to advance to the state quarterfinals. The next four seeds in this sub-region are solid teams, though none is a threat to the Panthers: Eastwood, Swanton, Elmwood, and Archbold. Defiance Tinora and Wayne Trace are the top two seeds within a relatively weak sub-region A.

Region 18: Sub-region B features the best two teams in this region, Milan Edison (state tournament participant last year) and Oak Harbor (DII individual last year, but denied by Delta in the DIII team regional tournament). In addition, third seed Genoa is a potential top ten to twenty team state wide. Either team is favored over the sub-region A champion, which would most likely be returning state dual meet tournament participant Mohawk, the top seed in that sub-region.

Region 19: Rootstown (sub-region B) qualified for state in 2014 and was upset last year in the regional final, but this year has a pretty loaded team; the Rovers are the top seed in their sub-region and strong favorites to advance to the state quarterfinal round. Cardinal, Pymatuning Valley, and Newbury are the next three seeds in this sub-region; while was tabbed as the top seed in the very weak sub-region A.

Region 20: In something of a surprise, Waynedale (sub-region B) has yet to make a state tournament appearance, as the Bears have been denied in close dual meets at the regional level each season. However, they may be the slight favorites for the trip to Columbus this year. Seeded directly behind Waynedale at the sub-region level are fellow WCAL squads Smithville and West Salem Northwestern; three-time state tournament participant Tuslaw is the top seed in sub-region A, with Manchester as the second seed.

Region 21: Along with sub-region 22, these seem to be the weakest overall regions in Division III. Ridgewood (sub-region B) made the state tournament last year, but is the third seed in their sub-region this year, as Caldwell and Coshocton hold the top two seed positions. However, the overall favorite in this region is probably Shadyside, which holds the top seed in sub-region A, with Barnesville and Harrison Central holding the next two seed positions.

Region 22: Amanda-Clearcreek (sub-region A) returns to Division III after two years in the Division II process, and might be the favorite to make the state quarterfinal; however, the Aces are the second seed behind Nelsonville-York at the sub-regional level. From sub-region B, Northmor is the top seed, and seek a debut state tournament appearance

Region 23: In an “interesting” vote process, two-time state runner-up Dayton Christian was voted the seventh seed in sub-region B. The over-arching question is if the Warriors can survive the vulnerability within the back third of their lineup. The top three teams in the sub-region are Versailles, Miami East, and Covington; each is a solid team, and can pose challenge to Dayton Christian, especially if they can line the matchups optimally. Williamsburg, Bethel Tate, and Blanchester are the top three seeds in sub-region A, though it would be shocking if they threaten the sub-region B champions.

Region 24: Mechanicsburg (top seeds in sub-region A) participated at state last year, and are prohibitively favored to make a repeat appearance at St. John Arena. Second seed West Jefferson is a nominal threat to the Indians within the sub-region, while Coldwater has been tabbed as the top seed in sub-region B.

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