Home|Sports & Tournaments|Wrestling|Wrestling - 2018-19|2019 OHSAA Team Wrestling State Tournament Preview

2019 OHSAA Team Wrestling State Tournament Preview

2019 OHSAA State Wrestling Dual Team Tournament Preview

By Josh Lowe, InterMat
Josh Lowe is in his tenth year as the national high school wrestling analyst for InterMat, while also contributing to addtional local and national wrestling media outlets 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, fast-pitch softball, and soccer official. He also serves as a volunteer assistant soccer coach at Beachwood High School. Lowe has Bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and Economics from The Ohio State University, as well as an MBA in Accounting from Baldwin-Wallace University. 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.

The OHSAA state wrestling dual team tournament is in its seventh year as an event, and it is an ever evolving one. Significant change happened within the tournament series this year as regional tournaments across the state were conducted as a one-day Saturday event. Twenty-four sites hosted regionals to determine the eight qualifying teams in each of the three divisions.
While teams remained able to move up to the Division I classification, even though their enrollment would otherwise place them in a lower division, St. Paris Graham Local did not take that option again this year. As a result, there will be no repeat champion in Division I. Instead the Falcons will be after a sixth Division II dual team state title in seven years, having earned that title in the first five years of the event (2013-2017).
Other past dual team state champions in the state tournament field include Lakewood St. Edward (2013, 2016, and 2017) and Brecksville-Broadview Heights (2015) in Division I, along with Milan Edison (2017) and Genoa Area (2018) in Division III.
Not counting for the initial year of the event in 2013, the 24-team field across three divisions features a tournament record-tying ten teams making their first appearance. It was that same number of teams making initial state tournament appearances in 2015, while there were nine debutants in 2014 and 2016. Wadsworth is the lone debutant in Division I, while an all-divisions record of six teams are making their first appearance at St. John Arena in Division II (Aurora, Gnadenhutten Indian Valley, Lisbon Beaver, London, Millersburg West Holmes and Sandusky Perkins), along with three teams in Division III (Bidwell River Valley, Marion Pleasant and Mantua Crestwood).
Having a dual team state tournament enables the whole of a team’s lineup to experience the opportunity to impact the success of a team in a state tournament setting. The events on Sunday, February 10 at St. John Arena will yet again prove that to be the case.
Division III
Earning the top seed in Division III is Genoa, which won both the dual team and individual state wrestling tournament titles last year. The Comets beat both the second and third seed in this year’s tournament earlier in the season, and also earned victories against those teams on the way to the dual team state title last year. Genoa beat Milan Edison 39-29 on January 26 and earned a 42-27 victory last year in the regional semifinal; while the Comets beat Versailles 43-29 on January 19 and earned a 50-9 victory last year in the state semifinal.
Genoa returns six wrestlers that placed in the top three of last year’s state individual tournament, led by three-time state champion Dylan D’Emilio (138); 2017 state champion Oscar Sanchez (120) and three-time state placer Julian Sanchez (138) placed second; while placing third were Dustin Morgillo (145), 2017 state champion James Limongi (160) and Noah Koch (285); 2017 state placer Kevin Contos (152) is also a key contributor. Their first-round opponent will be Marion Pleasant, the eight seed, and a debut participant in the dual team state tournament. The Spartans had previously reached the regional semifinals in 2016 and 2017. Advancing to state as regional fourth seed, they do not return an individual state qualifier, but are led by impact freshman C.J. Smith (138) and district qualifier Wyatt Wells (145).
Seeded second is 2017 dual team state champion Milan Edison, which also advanced to dual team state in 2015 when they made it to the semifinal round. The Chargers advanced with a 46-27 regional final win over Delta, champions of this tournament in 2013 through 2016. They are led by state champion Casey Barnett (113), two-time state placer Ray Adams (120), state placer Jordan Keegan (138), and impact freshman Shadrick Slone (145). Facing Milan Edison in the first round will be seventh seed Bidwell River Valley, which qualified to state for the first time. Seeded fifth at the regional, the Raiders beat four-time dual team state participant Amanda-Clearcreek 43-31 in the semifinal and 2014 state participant Columbus Bishop Hartley 42-36 in the final. From an individual standpoint, they are led by two-time district placer Jacob Edwards (120), district qualifier Joseph Burns (113), and impact freshman Will Hash (145).
Making its fourth appearance at dual team state, Versailles is the third seed, which is their highest seed position yet at the state tournament. The Tigers were state semifinalists last year and in 2013. They are led by returning state qualifier Jacob Poling (126), while also featuring four other wrestlers that won multiple matches at the district tournament last year, including 2017 state alternate Cael Bey (145). Facing Versailles in the opening round will be sixth seed Mantua Crestwood, which is making its dual team state debut. The Red Devils reached the regional semifinals three times prior when in Division II, including a runner-up finish in 2013. They are led by returning state placer Brett Szuhay (106), along with Dominic Savoca (113) and Josh Ondash (120), who each won two matches at district last year.
Seeded fourth is Rootstown, which is in its third appearance at the dual team state tournament, having earned the fifth seed each previous occasion. The Rovers qualified for state with a 53-21 regional final victory over returning dual team state participant Apple Creek Waynedale. They are led by a trio of two-time individual state tournament placers in Niko Chilson (138), Chris Langguth (182) and Ryan Boyle (220); while state placer Caleb Edwards (113), state qualifier Michael Prikryl (120) and state alternate Trent Duvall (132) are also key contributors. In the opening round Rootstown will face fifth-seed Blanchester, which returns to the state tournament for third time after beating Bethel-Tate – a team that had advanced to state the two previous season – by a 58-15 scored in the regional final. Leading the way for the Wildcats is state qualifier Clayton Schirmer (152), while three others won a district tournament match last year.
Division II
In Division II, the top seed is St. Paris Graham, which has won a dual team state title in all six years the event has been held. The Falcons have also won the individual state tournament each of the previous 18 years. As a measure of their dominance in the dual team state tournament, six out of their 18 wins have come by margins of greater than 50 points, which only four have been by less than 20 (the lone win by less than 11 was the 28-23 win in last year’s Division I state final).
Even losing six wrestlers to graduation that had reached the individual state tournament final at least once, the Falcons still feature an excellent squad led by state runners-up Nick Moore (132) and Alek Martin (138). Other key contributors include three-time state placer Johnny Shafer (285), two-time state placer Jeffrey Thomas (152), two-time Arizona state finalist Chris Kelly (126), state placer Isaiah Stickley (160), state qualifier Trace Braun (113), and impact freshman Nolan Gessler (106). Their opening round opponent will be the eighth seed London. The Red Raiders are making their dual team state debut after beating Miami Trace – which had made it to state as the eighth seed the previous two years – by a score of 47-24 in the regional final. They do not return a state qualifier, but are led by impact freshman Antwaun Burns (145) and three other wrestlers that won a district tournament match last year.
The first of two matches in Division II that include teams making their state tournament debut is the one featuring second seed Aurora and seventh seed Millersburg West Holmes. Twice a regional runner-up in Division I, Aurora advanced to state tournament with a 39-27 regional final victory over Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, which had reached the dual team state tournament three of the previous four years. The Greenmen are led by four returning state placers in Jack Gorman (132), Kyle Petersen (138), Andrew Garr (145) and Will McGhee (160); state qualifier Colin McNamara (195); as well as three impact freshmen in Nic Willingham (113), Dylan Fishback (152) and Evan Anderson (182). The Knights were regional runner-up to Akron SVSM last season and are led by three-time state placer Cael Woods (113), while other key wrestlers include state placer Tyler Masters (120) and state alternate Walker Uhl (145).
Seeded third is state tournament debut participant Lisbon Beaver, which had to clear an absolutely loaded regional to advance to this point. The Beavers earned a 39-30 victory over Canfield in the regional semifinal, a team that has been runner-up in the individual tournament the three previous years and made it to the dual team state semifinal last year; while the championship match was a 51-21 victory over Louisville, reversing a 42-24 regional semifinal loss from last year.
From an individual standpoint, Lisbon Beaver is led by two-time state runner-up Cole McComas (126), two-time state placer Skyler Lasure (145), state placer Beau Smith (170), state qualifier Jared Wright (138), district placers Logan Krulik (152) and Daniel Wirth (285), along with impact freshmen Logan Ours (120) and Brenden Severs (160). Their opening round opponent is the sixth seed Hamilton Ross, which is in their fifth appearance at the dual team state tournament, going 2-2 in the opening round despite being the lower seed on all four occasions (wins coming in 2013 and 2018). From an individual standpoint, their anchors are 2016 state qualifier Brayden Ploehs (138/145) along with state alternates Logan Iams (182), Tom Coleman (220), and Alex Coleman (285).
The other clash of debut teams comes in the match between fourth seed Indian Valley and fifth seed Sandusky Perkins. Indian Valley’s previous furthest advancement was the regional quarterfinal, which they accomplished the previous three years, with their most notable win of this tournament run coming in the regional semifinal when they beat two-time state participant New Lexington 60-20. The Braves are led by state placer Brady O’Connor (132); three state qualifiers including 2016 state placer Dalton Burcher (138), Adam Lenhoff (145) and Brodey Parsons (195); along with state alternate Jake Armstrong (170). After five straight regional final defeats, the Pirates make their state tournament debut as they reversed the last three of those losses in a 29-27 victory over defending state champion Wauseon. It should be noted that Wauseon beat Sandusky Perkins 62-7 last year in the regional final. Key individuals for the Pirates include state qualifiers Logan Schoen (132) and Lucas Salmon (170), district placer Max Orpzadek (106) and district qualifier Sam McNulty (220).
Division I
Earning the top seed in Division I is Cincinnati La Salle. Of main significance is the Lancers’ 35-27 victory over second seed St. Edward on December 15, when the teams split the 14 weight classes seven-apiece in Cincinnati. This will mark La Salle’s the third consecutive appearance at dual team state, their further advancement coming last year when they lost 43-16 to St. Paris Graham in the semifinal round. To reach the state tournament, La Salle beat two-time state participant (2015 and 2016) Cincinnati Elder 54-15 in the regional final. The Lancers are led individually by state champion Lucas Byrd (120); state runner-up Dustin Norris (113); state placers Antoine Allen (126), Casey Wiles (132), Trey Sizemore (182) and Michael Baker (195); state alternate Robert Brown (285); along with Cadet World team member Cole Skinner (106) and impact freshman Jake Niffenegger (138). Their first-round opponent will be eighth seed Lancaster, which returns to the state tournament after three straight losses in the regional final (the Golden Gales lost to St. Edward 58-15 in the 2015 quarterfinal round). Lancaster is led individually by two-time state placer Logan Agin (113), state qualifier Jacob Reed (126) and impact freshman Aiden Agin (120).
Seeded second is three-time dual team state champion St. Edward, which is one of three teams to make it to the dual team state tournament in each of the seven years the event has been conducted. The Eagles have also won the individual state tournament four straight years and 20 of the last 22. They are led by two-time state champion Bryce Andonian (145) and three-time state placer Sam Dover (152). Other key wrestlers include state champion Bryce Hepner (138); two-time state placer Angelo Rini (126); state placers Richard Delsanter (113), Padraic Gallagher (160), and Seamus O’Malley (220), along with Cadet freestyle All-Americans Sean Seefeldt (106) and Luke Geog (backup 145).
Their first-round opponent will be seventh seed Dublin Coffman, which has advanced to the quarterfinal round for the third time in the last four years with a 40-16 regional final win over four-time state participant Marysville. The Shamrocks have eliminated the Monarchs in all three of their regional final victories. Individually, Dublin Coffman is led by state placer Lenox Wolak (182), state alternate James Baumann (120) and a trio of impact freshmen in Ismael Ayoub (126), Seth Shumate (195) and Riley Ucker (220). This is a rematch of a 2017 state quarterfinal when St. Edward eliminated Dublin Coffman 57-16.
Another rematch from a previous year state quarterfinal comes in the match between third seed Brecksville-Broadview Heights and sixth seed Mason. On the way to a runner-up finish in 2014, the Bees eliminated Mason 36-25 in the quarterfinal round, while the Comets knocked off Brecksville 39-21 in the 2017 quarterfinal, the only time Brecksville has not made it to the state semifinal. Brecksville, the 2014 dual team state champion, joins St. Edward and St. Paris Graham as the only teams to make it to state on each occasion the event has been held. They are led by state champion Victor Voinovich (152), two-time state placer Marco Regalbuto (138), state placers Jack Stanley (113) and Jimmy Carmany (126), two-time state qualifier Ethan Hatcher (195), state qualifier Ben Vanadia (182) and impact freshman Pito Castro (106). Mason has advanced to dual team state for the third straight year, and fifth time in the last six. The Comets are led by state runner-up Chris Donathan (145), state placer Pacey Nasdusak (106), state qualifier Dominic Ditullio (113), along with state alternates in 2016 state qualifier Sam Glassco (132) and Kamal Adewumi (170).
Seeded fourth is Elyria, which is making its fifth consecutive appearance at the state duals. The Pioneers were runners-up in 2016, while making it to the semifinal round in both 2015 and 2017. They advanced to state with a 42-16 finals win over 2013 state tournament participant Oregon Clay, the second-straight year they eliminated the Eagles at that stage. Anchoring their team individually are state runners-up Dylan Shawver (126) and Mick Burnett (132), state placer Matt Zuckerman (138), state qualifier Jake Evans (170), along with impact freshmen Peyton Fenton (106) and Nate Burnett (120).
Making its state tournament debut is Wadsworth, which is the fifth seed this year, and has been eliminated each of the previous six years by a team that made it to the state semifinal round or further. In fact, the only time the Grizzlies did not reach the regional final was in 2017 when they lost 38-25 to Elyria at the regional semifinal stage. They are a staple of success at the individual state tournament, finishing inside the top five the previous four years and 10 times in the last 18 years, including the 2010 state title. Key individual contributors include state runner-up Luke Baughman (138); two-time state placer Michael North (145); additional state placers Landon Hacker (120) and Logan Messer (152); state qualifiers Mikey Lewarchik (113), Dominic Loparo (170), and Jonathan List (182); as well as impact freshman Jonathan List (182).