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The Ohio High School Athletic Association

2016 OHSAA State Wrestling Dual Team Tournament Preview

By: Josh Lowe, IntermatWrestle.com

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2016 OHSAA State Wrestling Dual Team Tournament Preview

By Josh Lowe, IntermatWrestle.com

 

Josh Lowe is in his seventh year as the national high school wrestling analyst for InterMat, and also writes a weekly high school wrestling column for JJHuddle. He has also contributed to additional local and national wrestling publications and websites for several years. Lowe is a wrestling tournament coordinator for his alma mater, Beachwood High School, including an OHSAA sectional tournament. Outside of wrestling, Josh is a licensed OHSAA baseball and fast-pitch softball official, as well as a registered slow-pitch softball umpire, and serves as a volunteer assistant soccer coach at Beachwood High School. Lowe graduated from The Ohio State University in 2004 with Bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and Economics, as well as an MBA in Accounting from Baldwin-Wallace College in 2013. He is currently an accounting professional at a nursing home, resides in Mayfield Heights, and was honored with an OHSAA Media Service Award at the 2013 individual state wrestling tournament.

 

OVERVIEW

2016 marks the fourth year of the OHSAA state wrestling dual team tournament. Each year of the event brings a degree of newness to the table. This year the event is being held on a Sunday, as opposed to Saturday, as it was the prior three years. In addition, there are nine teams making a debut appearance in the event – a number that is rather similar to the second and third editions of the event, when nine and 10 teams, respectively, were making state wrestling dual team tournament debuts.

 

Teams making debuts in the state tournament are Dublin Coffman and Fairfield in Division I; Mentor Lake Catholic, Mt. Orab Western Brown, Steubenville and Wauseon in Division II; along with Apple Creek Waynedale, Oak Harbor, and Shadyside in Division III.

 

The Division I tournament has crowned three different champions in the three previous seasons, with all three previous champions in this year’s tournament; St. Paris Graham Local is seeking a fourth straight title in the Division II tournament, and is the top seed for the fourth straight year; while Delta seeks a fourth straight title in Division III.

 

The wrestling dual team tournament continues to crown a state champion solely based on dual meets, fostering a team spirit that further engages fans across the state, and add another set of relevant wrestling dates on the calendar.

 

DIVISION III

Three-time defending champion Delta is the top seed in the Division III tournament for a fourth-straight year. The Panthers are led by five returning individual state tournament finalists: Drew Mattin (120), Jake Spiess (132) and Chance Veller (285) are defending state champions, while Dustin Marteney (138) and Jesse Beverly (152/160) earned runner-up honors. Two others return with state individual tournament experience, Colin Hoffman (138/145) and two-time placer Devin Richard (220). Their quarterfinals opponent is eighth-seed Shadyside, who is making its state team tournament debut. The Tigers are led by two past individual state tournament qualifiers, Brett Kahl (145) and two-time placer Greg Quinn (120).

 

The second seed this year is Mechanicsburg, which is coming off of its best wrestling season in program history last year – a semifinal appearance in the dual team tournament and a fourth place finish in the individual tournament. The Indians feature seven wrestlers with individual state tournament experience, led by two-time champion Kaleb Romero (160) and four others have placed at state as individuals: Tyler Wetzel (113), Alex Rhine (120), Tanner Smith (138) and Wade Smiddy (145), while Nick Miller (132) and Corey Bogan (152) have qualified previously. Their quarterfinal opponent is seventh-seed Amanda-Clearcreek, which is in its third state team tournament appearance and is seeking its first win in the event. The Aces return one qualifier from last year’s Division II state individual tournament, Jordan Leasure (195).

 

Apple Creek Waynedale, the third seed, is making its state team tournament debut. In three previous years, the Bears have been eliminated by a combined 10 points in the regional final or semifinal losses. This year’s team is led by three individual state tournament qualifiers in Christian Wellman (113), Reid Stanley (160) and Tristan Anderson (182). Drawing the Bears in the quarterfinal round is sixth-seed Versailles, which returns to the state team tournament for the first time since a 2013 semifinal appearance. The Tigers are led by returning state individual tournament qualifier Kyle Gigandet (195).

 

Fourth seed Oak Harbor is also in their state team tournament debut after eliminating returning semifinalist Milan Edision 31-29 in the regional semifinal. The Rockets had lost to eventual state champion Delta each of the prior two years at the regional level. They feature three returning qualifiers from the Division II individual state tournament: Dylan Mansor (126), Rhett Petersen (145) and Brandon Garber (285). Oak Harbor draws fifth-seed Rootstown, which is in its second state team tournament, having advanced to the quarterfinal stage in 2014. The Rovers feature six returning individual state tournament qualifiers: Seth Hayes (120), Jason Sadler (145), Luke Sorboro (170) and Patrick Jordan (182) as returning placers, while Dalton Leightner (113) and Tony Paolucci (126) fell one match short of the podium last year; however, the status of Sadler for the team state tournament is uncertain.

 

DIVISION II

In Division II, three-time defending champion St. Paris Graham Local is again the top seed and a clear favorite. The Falcons have also won the individual state tournament in 15 consecutive seasons. They are led by three-time state individual champion Alex Marinelli (170); three other champions in Mitch Moore (126), Brent Moore (138) and Rocky Jordan (145); three other state placers Justin Stickley (120), Ryan Thomas (132) and Garrett Jordan (160); along with qualifier Kanan Sarver (195). In the quarterfinal round, the Falcons draw eighth-seed New Lexington. The Panthers are in this round for a second time, having fallen to St. Paris Graham 66-6 at this stage last year. They are led by returning state individual tournament qualifier Matt Adams (285), while Andrew Spicer (132) qualified in 2014, and returning qualifier Dmitri Williams has not competed since December due to injury.

 

One of four debut participants in Division II, Steubenville has earned the second seed after upending dual team tournament regular Urichsville Claymont 34-31 in the regional final. The Big Red are led by three returning state individual tournament placers: two-time runner-up Tariq Wilson (126), Jashon Hubbard (132) and Shawn Livingston (170); while Dakota Goff (145) and Tim Albertson (195) have also qualified. Their opponent is seventh-seed Hamilton Ross, which is in its third state team tournament appearance, including advancement to the semifinals in 2013. The Rams, however, feature just one returning state individual tournament qualifier, Jake Gentry (113).

 

Yet another debutant in Division II is third-seed Wauseon, who had been eliminated by three-time state tournament semifinalist (also 2015 runner-up) Toledo Central Catholic the previous three seasons. In each season, the Indians were top ten in the state individual tournament, including fifth last year. Wauseon is led by three returning state individual tournament placers: Sandro Ramirez (145), Tre Campbell (182), and Tony Bannister (195); while Mauricio Barajas (126) and Hunter Yackee (132) also qualified for state as individuals. Their opponent is sixth-seed Akron SVSM, who is in the tournament for a second straight year after beating two-time team state participant Padua 37-34 in the regional final. The Irish are led by state individual tournament placer Ben Knaus (170) and returning qualifier Luke Wymer (120).

 

Rounding out the quarterfinal matches is a pairing of teams in their initial state team tournament, as fourth-seed Mentor Lake Catholic takes on fifth-seed Mt. Orab Western Brown. Lake Catholic is led by returning state individual tournament placer Kevon Freeman (132), along with three other returning qualifiers in Hunter Ryan (113), John Szep (182) and Justin Sanders (195); while Mitch Skleres (126) qualified for the 2014 state individual tournament in Division III. The fifth-seeded Broncos feature just a pair of returning state individual tournament qualifiers in returning placer Brandon Lucas (106/113) and Malachi Marlow (152).

 

DIVISION I

2013 team state champion Lakewood St. Edward is the top seed in Division I for a third time in four editions of this event. Last year the Eagles finished as runners-up, being upset by Brecksville-Broadview Heights, 32-30, in the final. However, they bounced back to win the state individual tournament for the 17th time in 19 years. This year’s St. Edward team is led by five wrestlers who have appeared in the state individual tournament: champion Allan Hart (126), runners-up Hunter Ladnier (138) and Jared Campbell (220), placer Jack Conway (152) and qualifier Matt Kazimir (113). Four others placed at the district tournament last year. They draw eighth-seed Cincinnati Elder in the quarterfinal round, which also qualified for the state team tournament last year, losing to eventual champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights, 51-10, in the opening round. The Panthers are led by three returning state qualifiers: Austin Murphy (126), Connor Craig (145/152) and Ti’Ric Evans (170), while Samuel Williams (145/152) also qualified for state in 2013.

 

The second seed is Elyria, which was runner-up in last year’s state individual tournament after losing 34-24 to Lakewood St. Edward in the semifinal of its debut state team tournament appearance. The Pioneers return seven with state individual tournament experience, including champions in Ben Darmstadt (195) and Kevin Vough (285). Placing last year as individuals were Brandon Fenton (113/120), Nico O’Dor (152), Mikah Price (160) and J.T. Brown (182), while Josh Breeding (120/126) was a qualifier. Their quarterfinal opponent is seventh-seed Delaware Hayes, which returns for its second state dual team tournament appearance (2014). The Pacers are led by a pair of state qualifiers in two-time state placer Greg Brusco (152) and Chris Martinez (195).

 

Returning state team tournament champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights is the third seed this year. Last year’s path to the championship included a 27-21 semifinal victory over Massillon Perry, which avenged a 2014 state final loss, before upsetting Lakewood St. Edward in the final. This year’s team is led by three two-time state individual tournament placers: Jarrod Bronstrup (113), Harry Feuer (120) and Justin Demicco (145). Three others qualified for state last year: Austin HIles (152), who placed third, Luke Strnad (182/195) and Eddie Strnad (220), though the status of Sternad is uncertain. The Bees draw state team tournament debutant Dublin Coffman, the sixth seed in the opening round. The Shamrocks have shown improvement each year: regional second round, regional quarterfinal, and regional semifinal the previous three years. They are anchored by returning state champion Dominick Demas (145), along with two other district placers.

 

The other Division I state tournament debutant is fourth seed Fairfield. The Indians are led by three returning state individual tournament qualifiers: Zach Shupp (106), Austin Sper (132) and Andrew Sams (152); Sams also having placed at state as an individual in 2014. Their opponent is 2014 state team and individual tournament champion Massillon Perry, which drew the fifth seed. The Panthers were also team state runners-up in 2013 and semifinalists in 2015. This year’s team is anchored by state individual champion David Carr (145), placer Joseph Koontz (138) and qualifier Emil Soehnlen (152).