Area matmen set for district action
A total of 43 area high school wrestlers passed their first tests on the road to Columbus and the state tournament by placing in the top four of their respective weight classes during sectional tournament action last weekend.
All but one of those individuals will compete in Division III district action at Heath High School, while the other will travel to Claymont High School in Uhrichsville for Division II competition. Both districts run Friday and Saturday, with action beginning at 4 p.m. Friday at both sites.
The top four finishers in each weight class at both venues will advance to the state tournament on the campus of The Ohio State University inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center on Feb. 27-28 and March 1.
Complete pairings can be found on Page B4.
Buckeye Local is the lone area school represented with Tristan Jones (182). The Panthers’ 34-8 sophomore finished second in the Buckeye Local sectional, dropping a 4-2 decision to Carrollton’s John Dunlap.
Other OVAC schools with wrestlers entered include Beaver Local (10), Steubenville (9), East Liverpool (4), Edison (4) and Indian Creek (2). Carrollton, which won the team title, is sending 12.
Steubenville’s Tariq Wilson finished sixth last year at 106. He is a two-time OVAC Tournament champion is at 113 this year. In his bracket is Columbus Whitehall sophomore Ana Abduljelil who was fifth in the state at 113 a year ago and is 43-1 this year.
Of the large local contingent heading to districts, Harrison Central has the most qualifiers with eight. The Huskies of head coach Bill Bryant captured the Sandy Valley sectional in Magnolia with 180.5 points, which was 25.5 ahead of second-place Utica. Steubenville Catholic was third.
“I’m very pleased and happy with how we wrestled last weekend,” Bryant said. “We’ve gradually been moving in the right direction since the OVAC Tournament.
“As far as this week, I’ve told the kids to take each round at a time,” he continued. “I don’t want them looking ahead.”
Leading Harrison Central’s title run were a trio of champions in sophomore Brandon White (113), junior Hunter Pizzino (132) and sophomore Anthony Risley (138).
White, who was seeded No. 2, took out top-seeded Brandon Carbenia, of Sandy Valley, by a 5-1 count in the finals. Pizzino had to work overtime in defeating Garaway’s Jesse Blake, 3-1, while Risley, the top seed, also needed extra time in outscoring East Knox’s Noah Phillips, 11-9. It was the only match of four that Risley didn’t pin his opponent.
“Brandon and Anthony probably wrestled the best they have all season,” Bryant noted. “Hunter was the No. 2 seed and he beat the kid in the finals that had earlier knocked off the No. 1 seed.”
Pizzino was a third-place finisher in the Ron Mauck OVAC Tournament.
Two Huskies were runnersup, those being senior Cyle Reidel (145) and freshman Brenton Stull (285), while seniors David Forrester (126) and Cole Howes (182) finished third. Senior Nico Williams (195) was fourth.
“I would like to think we could get half of our kids to the state,” Bryant allowed. “As a coach, you tell all of them they have a chance, but realistically, I’d like to get 3-4.”
White was fifth at OVACs, while Forrester and Howes were seventh.
In White’s bracket is Columbus Bishop Hartley junior Kristopher Hill who was sixth in the state last year at 113. He is 40-4.
St. Clairsville and Shadyside each have six qualifiers, while Martins Ferry and Union Local have five each. Monroe Central has four entrants; River three; Barnesville and Bellaire two each; and Beallsville one.
The Red Devils are senior Alex Timko (113), freshman Dylan Alwine (138), sophomore Logan Thompson (145), sophomore Cole Skaggs (160), senior Michael Furbee (220) and sophomore Carson Ernest (285). Furbee was the Barnesville sectional titlist, while Timko was a runnerup. Thompson and Skaggs were both third, while Alwine and Ernest were fourth.
Furbee, who is now a fine 41-4, earned a measure of revenge when he decisioned Monroe Central sophomore Tanner Potts, 4-2. Potts pinned Furbee earlier this season in the Beallsville Invitational finals.
The Tigers are led by sectional champions Greg Quinn (106) and Brett Kahl (138). Other qualifiers are senior Jake Duvall (160) who was second, as was freshman Josh Kahl (120). Classmate Billy Johnson (132) was a third-place finisher, while freshman Collin Hunter (113) was fourth.
Quinn, who is now an impressive 38-1, continued his superb freshman season with a dominating sectional tournament performance. He recorded three pins in as many bouts, needing just 2 minutes, 46 seconds. The times included a lightning-quick 42-second flattening of Ridgewood’s Colton Bethel in the finals.
In Quinn’s bracket is Johnstown Northridge junior Jake Adkins who was eighth at 106 in the state last year. He is 42-4.
Kahl, who went to 30-11 as a sophomore, decisioned Barnesville’s top-seeded sophomore Hobie Howiler by a 6-3 count. He had two technical falls and a decision among his preliminary matches.
The Purple Riders have three sectional champions among their five entrants. They are senior James Wise (145) and juniors Bryce Coleman (152) and Jon Bodkin (285). Other qualifiers are junior Thomas Campbell (106) and freshman Jerald Jarman (220), both of whom finished third.
Wise and Coleman both had to work a little extra in earning their titles. Wise, the top seed, posted a takedown early in overtime to edge Union Local’s Zac Sowers, 6-4. The top-seeded Coleman, however, had to go into sudden-death overtime before outlasting Beallsville’s third-seeded senior Bruce Sefert, 6-5, with an escape. Bodkin, also the No. 1 seed and OVAC champion, held off Ridgewood’s second-seeded Kelly Barthalow, 2-1. Bodkin is now a superb 37-1.
“We wrestled well last week,” Martins Ferry head coach Chas Yoder allowed. “We worked on some little things this week and hopefully we’ll have a couple of kids moving on.”
The other half of the heavyweight bracket has a pair of real heavyweights in Garaway senior Ben Sexton and Columbus Bishop Ready senior Patrick Garren. Garren is the defending state champion and placed third as a sophomore. He is currently 39-1. Sexton was fourth in the state a year ago.
In addition to the aforementioned Sowers, other Jets headed for the district are junior John Howell (126), sophomore Bobby Stewart (132), senior Mike Paynter (160) and sophomore sectional champion Matt McFarland (170). Howell finished third, Stewart second and Paynter fourth.
McFarland dominated Toronto’s Drew Lowery, 9-1, for his crown and a 35-10 mark. Lowery had knocked off the top-seed in the semifinals.
Stewart dropped a tough, 3-2, nod to Caldwell’s Kameron Rayner.
Qualifying for the Seminoles were junior Rodney Richter (120), senior Hunter Connor (195), Potts (220) and sophomore Justin Kilburn (285).
Richter, who is making his third trip to the districts after a trio of sectional titles, showed why he was the top seed at the Barnesville event when he easily handled Shadyside’s Kahl, 9-1, in the finals. Richter, who improved to 30-6, was a state qualifier last year after finishing second in the district to Newark Catholic’s Caleb Ohl, 18-10, at 113 pounds. Ohl went on to place fifth in the state and is entered in the district at 126 this year.
“I want to get another shot at the state tournament,” Richter said shortly after his sectional tournament victory. “I made it there last year, but I got beat in my first two matches.”
The Pilots trio includes seniors Kole Smith (170), Brandon Reusser (182) and Brett Rosen (195). Reusser and Rosen both won sectional crowns at Barnesville, while Smith was third.
Reusser, who had to defeat Dakota Dunn in a wrestle-off to earn his spot in the sectionals, pinned his way to the finals before decisioning West Muskingum’s Corey Taylor, 9-1. Reusser is now 26-4.
Rosen, also got a bit of revenge on Monroe Central’s Conner. The Pilot won by 8-3 in the finals to improve to 28-6.
Shamrocks headed to Heath are junior Collin Wilson (120) and the aforementioned Howiler (138). Wilson was fourth.
Representing the Big Reds are junior Austin McConville (152) and senior sectional champion Myliek Green (160). McConville finished fourth.
Green, who is now a fine 32-5, outpointed the aforementioned Duvall, 11-4, for his title.
The lone Blue Devil is the aforementioned Sefert (152).
- In Division II, there are two undefeated wrestlers still alive. Those being Brendan Scherer (47-0), of River View, at 160 and Johnstown-Monroe’s Clayton Bullard (47-0) at 195. There is only one in Division III, that being Columbus Academy’s Dan Jones (25-0) at 220.
- There are a total of nine wrestlers with one loss, including Quinn and Bodkin. Six are in D-III.
- Four individuals enter the district tournament with an even .500 record, while 22 – 11 in each division – have sub-.500 marks.
- On the flip side, there are 39 wrestlers with 40-plus victories, with two dozen of them in Division II.
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