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2017 OHSAA Team Wrestling State Tournament Preview

2017 OHSAA Dual Team Wrestling State Tournament Preview
By Josh Lowe, InterMat
This is year five of the OHSAA state wrestling dual team tournament. While there is a certain degree of “the usual suspects,” this year’s event has the potential to provide dynamic and competitive dual meets, as well as to see some new teams contend for state tournament victories.
Delta won the first four dual team wrestling state championships in Division III; however, this year they were eliminated in the regional quarterfinal round. As a result, there will be a new champion in the small-school division. On the other hand, four-time defending dual team state champion St. Paris Graham Local is back and strong in Division II; while the Division I state tournament features all three squads to win championships over the four-year history of the event – Brecksville-Broadview Hts., Lakewood St. Edward and Massillon Perry. Those four teams are the only Division I teams to have made it to all five dual team state tournaments.
Eight teams are making their debut appearance in the state tournament: Cincinnati La Salle and Westerville North in Division I; Ashland, Carrollton, Peninsula Woodridge and Washington Court House Miami Trace in Division II; along with Bethel-Tate and Swanton in Division III.
The 24 teams wrestling at St. John Arena Sunday will be competing to become state champions as a team solely based on the dual meet format. All the wrestlers in the lineup will be able to make their impact felt on the state tournament stage. Furthermore, the dual team wrestling state tournament series provides another set of important, attention grabbing dates on the scholastic wrestling calendar.
The top seed in Division III is last year’s runner-up Mechanicsburg, which was also a semifinalist in 2015. The Indians qualified for the tournament with a 42-22 victory over two-time state tournament participant Versailles in the regional final. Their squad is anchored by three-time state champion Kaleb Romero (170) as well as four other returning state placers in Tyler Wetzel (126), Tanner Smith (145), Colt Yinger (152) and Corey Bogan (152). 2015 state placer Alex Rhine (132) qualified for last year’s individual state tournament, as did Dylan Hartley (285). Their quarterfinals opponent is eight-seed Bethel-Tate, which was a regional semifinalist last year and a regional runner-up in 2015. The Tigers do not return a state qualifier, but are led by returning district placer Kermit Beckworth (285).
Oak Harbor, which advanced to the state tournament for the second-straight year, is the second seed. The Rockets are anchored by three returning state placers in Bruce Hrynciw (126/132), Trevor Scherf (138), and Jake Huston (152), along with returning state qualifiers Dylan Mansor (145), Kian Thompson (182) and Dylan Thorp (220). Key to their advancement was an impressive 35-26 win in the regional semifinal over Genoa, which placed sixth in last year’s individual state tournament. Seeded seventh is Shadyside, which also makes its second-straight state tournament appearance. The Tigers feature a trio of state qualifiers, led by three-time state placer and returning state runner-up Greg Quinn (113/120), along with Jackson Muldrew (120/126) and Cody Hawthorne (145).
Seeded third is Massillon Tuslaw, which made it to the state tournament in the first three editions of the event before missing out last year. The Mustangs, dual team state runners-up in 2013, advanced with an impressive 43-17 win over two-time state tournament participant Rootstown in the regional final. They feature a pair of state qualifiers in Jacob Kuhlins (106) and state placer Isaac Elliott (132), as well as a pair of state alternates in Brennan Shirley (138) and Brayden Phillips (285). Also in the lineup are six other wrestlers that have won district tournament matches as individuals. Drawing Tuslaw in the quarterfinal is sixth-seed Amanda-Clearcreek. The Aces are also in their fourth dual team state tournament, but have lost in the quarterfinal round each year. This year’s team features just one returning state qualifier in Jordan Crist (106).
Milan Edison is the fourth seed, advancing to the state tournament for the second time, having lost in the quarterfinal round in 2015. The Chargers are led by four returning state placers in Dylan Burns (113/120), two-time
state runner-up Brady Barnett (138), Alex Neuberger (145) and Sam Stoll (195), along with a pair of state alternates in Ray Adams (106/113) and Dalton Burns (160). First round opponent Swanton makes its state tournament debut as the fifth seed, having never been to even the regional semifinal round before this year. The Bulldogs return three wrestlers with individual state tournament experience: returning state qualifier Trevor Schaller (120), 2015 state qualifier Gage Pachlhofer (132) and 2015 state placer Chase Moore (145).
St. Paris Graham is again positioned to be the kings of Division II. They are the top seed for the fifth straight year and seek to win a fifth title. Next month, the Falcons are also well-positioned to win a 17th straight individual state tournament title. They feature nine returning state placers, including a pair of two-time state champions in Mitch Moore (132) and Rocky Jordan (152), though the status of Moore for this tournament is uncertain. Other medalists include Jordan Crace (120), state runner-up Jeffrey Thomas (126), Joey Sanchez (145), two-time placer Ryan Thomas (160), Gage Braun (182), Kavan Sarver (195) and Johnny Shafer (220). Miami Trace – in its state tournament debut after a regional runner-up finish in 2015 along with regional semifinal defeats in 2013, 2014, and 2016 – is the eighth seed. Leading the Panthers are a pair of returning state qualifiers, Coby Hughes (132) and Jared Fenner (195).
Wauseon is the second seed after earning a dual team runner-up finish last year in their debut appearance at the state tournament. The Indians are led by a pair of state runners-up, Sandro Ramirez (145) and Tony Banister (195). Mauricio Barajas (132) and Hunter Yackee (138) have also qualified for the individual state tournament in previous years, while Gavin Ritter (106) and Alex Slattman (120) were state alternates last year. Seventh seed Woodridge, which is another of the four debut participants in Division II, advanced with a 46-27 regional finals win over 2014 and 2015 team state participant Parma Padua Franciscan. The Bulldogs were regional runners-up to Padua in 2015 and lost in the regional semifinal round last year. This year’s team is led by three state qualifiers: David Massey (126), Eli Yoho (138) and Isaac Yoho (152). David Genovese (132) and Nick Loprinzi (145) were district placers last year, while Spencer Robinson (170/182) was a state alternate.
Seeded third is Carrollton, which had lost in the regional semifinal round each of the previous four years. The Warriors cleared that hurdle with a 38-24 victory over 2013 and 2014 dual team runner-up Urichsville Claymont last week, while clearing the state’s toughest regional with a 35-30 finals victory over last year’s individual state tournament runner-up Canfield. Anchoring their squad are returning state runners-up Ben (132) and Aidan (182) Pasiuk, along with state qualifiers Justin Shaw (138) and Brenton Miller (160/170), while Adam Shaw (145) and Brandon Daniels (152) have missed the individual state tournament by a single match in previous years. The fourth debut team in this division is sixth-seed Ashland, which was a regional semifinalst last year. The Arrows feature a pair of state placers in Matthew Taylor (126) and Sid Ohl (152), state alternates Landon Plank (132) and Ricky Maffett (145), along with district placer Devin Goschinski (170).
Mentor Lake Catholic and Mt. Orab Western Brown meet as the fourth and fifth seeds for a second straight year. In each squad’s first appearance at the dual team state tournament, Lake Catholic won last year’s opening round dual meet 47-24. The Cougars feature five returning state qualifiers, led by state champion Kevon Freeman (145) and state placer Connor McCrone (113). Others include state placer Hunter Ryan (120), two-time state qualifier Mitch Skleres (132) and Luke McKeon (138), while Collin Langer (152) was a state alternate last year, but did not participate in either week of regional competition. The Broncos of Western Brown also feature five wrestlers with state experience, including a pair of state medalists: 2015 state placer Brandon Lucas (113) and returning state placer Jake Henderson (152). Returning state qualifiers are Jordan Hamblin (132), Derek Spears (145) and Eric Altman (170), while Seth Taylor (120) and Tanner Donathan (126) were district placers last year.
Seeking a third state title, Lakewood St. Edward is the top seed in the Division I state tournament for a fourth time in five years. Winning state last year and back in 2013, the Eagles are anchored by a pair of senior stars in three-time state placer Allan Hart (132), a 2015 state champion, and two-time state runner-up Jared Campbell (220). Other returning medalists include state champion Bryce Andonian (120), Matt Kazimir (126), Michael Carpenter (160) and Tyler Stepic (182). Cody Howard (195) qualified for the individual state tournament last year, while Angelo Rini (106) was a Cadet freestyle All-American this past summer, despite being in reserve behind Andonian during the scholastic season. They open with eighth-seed Dublin Coffman, which advanced with a 33-31 victory
over Marysville in the regional final via a last match pin from returning state placer Ben Frye (285). It was a second straight year for the Shamrocks to beat 2013-2015 state tournament participant Marysville in that round. Other key wrestlers include three-time state placer Dom Demas (145), a 2015 state champion, returning state qualifier Jokaria Hossan (120) and district placer Ben Yost (138).
Seeded second is Elyria, which has lost to St. Edward in each of its previous two state tournament appearances; 34-24 in the 2015 semifinal and 43-28 in last year’s final, with the Pioneers winning six of 14 bouts both times. Their advancement to this stage was keyed by an impressive 38-25 win over Wadsworth in the regional semifinal. Three-time state placer Kevin Vough (285), a 2015 state champion, is their best wrestler. Other notables include a pair of two-time state placers in state champion Brandon Fenton (120) and J.T. Brown (182), impact freshmen Mick Burnett (106) and Dylan Shawver (113), 2015 state qualifier Josh Breeding (126/132), returning state qualifiers Matt Zuckerman (126/132) and Brendan Price (160/170), along with state alternate Tristan Brady (152/160) and district placer Cameron King (195). Their quarterfinal opponent, seventh-seed Westerville North, is making its dual team state tournament debut. The Warriors had lost in the regional semifinal round the previous three years by a combined 14 points. A pair of returning state qualifiers, Josh Grant (132) and Cameron Jenkins (152) lead the way, while other notable wrestlers include district placer Lucas Seibert (106), impact freshman Blake Wright (126) and state alternate Mason Hay (220).
Third seed Cincinnati La Salle is arguably the state’s hottest team in recent weeks, as the Lancers come off a 37-30 upset victory over St. Edward on the last Saturday in January. Their first dual team state tournament appearance was keyed by a 36-24 regional semifinal victory over Cincinnati Elder, which had qualified for dual team state the previous two years. Three returning state placers anchor the lineup: Lucas Byrd (106), two-time placer Corey Shie (138) and Eric Beck (152). In addition, Hunter Perdue (152), Michael Baker (170) and Blake Wilson (182) qualified for the state tournament last year, while Elan Heard (126/132) is an impact freshman. A very dangerous first round opponent looms in sixth-seed Massillon Perry, which is in its fifth straight dual team state tournament. The Panthers won this event in 2014, finished as runners-up in 2013, and advanced to the semifinals each of the last two years. Two-time state champion David Carr (152) is the anchor wrestler, while other notable wrestlers include state placer Zach Blackiston (182), 2015 state placers Joe Koontz (160) and Matt Carrick (285), state qualifiers Gary Define (138) and Emil Soehnlen (170), along with district placer Malachi Strickland (145).
Mason is seeded fourth, and returns to the state tournament seeking its first victory after losing in the quarterfinal round in both 2014 and 2015. The Comets feature six returning state qualifiers, including a pair of two-time state placers in Colin Schuster (120) and Zack Donathan (132). Others with experience in the individual state tournament include Jack Stein (160), Marcus Nasdusak (113), Jamien Hood (126) and Sam Glassco (120/126), while Chris Donathan (138) and Eric Vermillion (170) placed at the district tournament last year. Their quarterfinal opponent is fifth seed Brecksville-Broadview Hts., which has made it to the state tournament each year of its existence, including earning the 2015 state title. On the way to their runner-up finish in 2014, the Bees beat Mason 36-25 in the opening round. This year’s team features a pair of returning state qualifiers in state runner-up Gabe Tagg (113) and Marco Regalbuto (132), Jason Bronstrup (145) is a two-time state alternate, and freshman Julian Tagg (106) was a Cadet National freestyle champion this past summer.