Eight area grapplers headed to state meet

HEATH, Oh. – Eleven Ohio Valley Athletic Conference wrestlers have punched their tickets to this week’s Ohio Division III state wrestling meet in Columbus.

Caldwell, Harrison Central, Monroe Central and Shadyside each have two qualifers, while Martins Ferry, Steubenville Catholic and Union Local all have one representative.

The state meet begins Thursday and runs through Saturday night’s championship finals. It will be held on the campus of The Ohio State University inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

Although there were no district champions at the Heath High School Activities Center, the Ohio Valley will be well represented at the state meet.

Harrison Central’s Hunter Pizzino (132) and Martins Ferry’s Jon Bodkin (285), both juniors, were Central District runnersup.

Pizzino dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime decision to Garaway senior Jesse Blake. Each wrestler scored on an escape to force overtime at 1-1. Blake, who lost to Pizzino is overtime in the Sandy Valley sectional finals, won in the third OT on an escape.

The Huskies’ junior is now 32-5.

“He just needs to get more offensive,” Harrison Central head coach Bill Bryant said of Pizzino. “We’ll get back in the (wrestling) room and work on a few things.”

Bodkin, meanwhile, was pinned in 1:16 by defending state champion Patrik Garren, of Columbus Bishop Ready. The Purple Riders’ junior is now 40-2.

Garren improved to a very impressive 43-1, with his lone loss to defending Division II state titlist Billy Miller of Massillon Perry.

Jonathan wrestled a good tournament,” Martins Ferry head coach Chas Yoder. “That kid (Garren) is tough.”

The Tigers had a pair of third-place finishers in Greg Quinn (106) and Brett Kahl (138), while the Seminoles’ Tanner Potts (220) finished third and Rodney Richter (120) was fourth.

Harrison Central’s Brandon White (113) and Steubenville Catholic’s Leo Hermann (170) were both third, while Union Local’s Matt McFarland (170) was fourth.

Caldwell’s Rayner brothers – Kolby (126) and Kameron (132) – also placed fourth and third, respectively.

Quinn dropped an 11-10 decision to eventual champion Jake Adkins, of Northridge, in the semifinals, but bounced back to pin Ridgewood’s Colton Bethel in a mere 51 seconds to earn his third-place medal.

“Greg’s semifinal match was a great one,” Shadyside head coach Sean Grinch allowed. “He came up short by one point to a kid who placed in the state last year. Hopefully, we’ll be able to meet up with him again this weekend.”

Adkins placed eighth at the same weight last year as a sophomore.

Kahl was pinned by Newark Catholic’s Evan Hansel in the semis, but defeated Barnesville’s Hobie Howiler in the consolation semifinals before pinning East Knox’s Noah Phillips in 4:46.

“Brett ran into a tough kid in the semis, but he bounced back to get third,” Grinch noted.

Potts will be making his first trip to the states. He lost 5-4 to then-undefeated Columbus Academy’s Dan Jones in the semis, but like Quinn and Kahl, he rebounded with a pair of consolation round wins.

Richter will be making his second straight trip to Columbus. He lost in the championship semifinals before winning a consolation semifinal match.

The Huskies’ White continued his solid second half of the season. After being technical falled by eventual titlist Kristopher Hill of Columbus Bishop Hartley in the semis, White regrouped and took a pair of 2-point decisions for his third-place finish.

McFarland had to work a little longer than the aforementioned grapplers. Losing in the second round to eventual champion Jake Datz of Madison Plains, McFarland has to win three consolation round bouts to punch his ticket. He dropped a 5-2 decision to Steubenville Catholic’s Leo Hermann in the third-place match.

Shadyside’s Josh Kahl (120), Steubenville Catholic’s Blake Kiedrowski (132), Union Local’s Zac Sowers (145), River’s Kole Smith (170), Steubenville Catholic’s Isaac Sanford (195) and Monroe Central’s Justin Kilburn (285) were all fifth-place winners and will serve as alternates should a top 4 wrestler in their district not be able to participate.

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com