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Old 04-06-18, 12:24 PM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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D-2 state tournament retrospective

Now that weíre a few weeks removed from the end of the season. I thought Iíd take a look back at each divisionís state tournament. Iíll make a few notes, convey a few opinions, and list some of my favorite performances. Please feel free to do the same.

106- Jacob Decatur (CVCA)

There wasnít much doubt by anyone sane that Jacob Decatur was going to win his second state title at the end of this tournament. Thereís a reason that heís ranked #1 in the country and that he hasnít lost a match this year. This was by no means a weak weight-class either. Decatur methodically worked his way through a solid field while controlling all 4 of his bouts to earn a second state title.
Woods was impressive, wrestling back for 3rd after falling to Decatur in the quarters. He avenged his district finals loss to Peyten Kellar with a 10-1 win in the consolation finals before beating Lautzenheiser 13-4 for 3rd.

113- Tanner Jordan (Graham)

Jordan won the first of Grahamís 4 titles this year with an overtime win over Cole McComas. Both wrestlers, along with 4th place finisher Wayt are underclassmen, so itís possible that we could run it back again next year at 120. Bracketing could play a factor. McComas beat Wayt in the semis for a second straight year, although Wayt bested McComas earlier in the year at Cambridge. Jordan defeated McComas in the finals after losing to Wayt in the quarterfinals of last yearís state tournament.

120- Nate Keaton (Circleville)

Keaton claimed his second straight state title, in impressive fashion, defeating Ironman placer Alek Martin 8-0 in the finals after Martin upset 4x state placer Cardello in the semifinals. The win came a bout after Keaton bested Carone 4-0 in a rematch of last yearís state finals.
Keaton has been a wrestler like Brendon Fenton in D-1 who has done a masterful job of peaking and being at his best at the most important tournaments. Aside from his two state titles, he also won the Ironman title as a sophomore over a loaded field that included 3x state champ Dylan DíEmilio who he defeated in the finals.

126- David Massey (Woodridge)

Massey has been one of the most improved wrestlers over the last two years, jumping up to state placer as a junior last year and then winning a state title to close out his career. He beat 4x state placer Caleb Brooks 5-3 in the semis before knocking off former middle school state champ Nick Moore 8-4 in the finals. This was one of the more hotly contested weights, with 5-6 wrestlers who could have claimed the title. In the end it was Massey who stood at the top of the podium to finish as the champion.
It was pointed out that 4th place finisher Jake Bartinelli won 4 overtime bouts in this tournament. He also gave Massey his closest bout 2-1 in the quarters. It should also be mentioned that all 4 of the wrestlers that he beat in OT entered the tournament with a state medal.
Bartinelliís run may have overshadowed the impressive performance by Isaiah Wortham. Only a sophomore, he beat state placers Conor McCrone and Dalton Burcher on his way to a state medal.

132- Jordan Decatur (CVCA)

Decatur dominated the field en route to his second straight state title. I was actually surprised that more wrestlers didnít attempt the cut to 126 with a dominant figure like Decatur occupying this weight. There were 6 returning state placers in this weight (Aside from Decatur) to start the tournament.
I underestimated Monebrake when I made my predictions for this tournament. Even though I saw him win Top Gun over Suber and Lasure, I didnít give him his dues. He showed his mettle with a second win over Suber in the quarters before beating 2x state placer Jack Gorman in the semis to reach his first state finals.
Lasure has lost in the first round of the state tournament both of his first two years of high school wrestling. And yet, both years he has come back through to place after avenging previous losses. Lasure defeated Muldrew in the consolation quarters after falling to the same wrestler in the sectional and district finals. His next bout, he beat Jack Gorman in OT to avenge the first round loss. Last year he beat Dalton Burcher in his blood round bout after losing to him in sectional and district finals previously.

138- Luke Wymer (Akron SVSM)

One of the bigger upsets of the tournament was Wymer knocking off Ironman champ J.D. Stickley 5-3 in sudden victory in the semifinals of this weight-class. The bout was not without controversy, but it would be Wymer who emerged as the champion.
He had to have one of the smallest cumulative margins of victory of any state champion in Ohio history. He won two bouts in OT, one by one point, and one by two points. Thatís a combined 3 points in regulation. The only wrestlers who I can remember being closer was Walshís Mikey Kostandaras who won 2 in OT and two by one point.
This weight was full of surprises to me. I didnít see Sherrill knocking off returning placer Rice, and I didnít see Clark beating both Andy Garr and Sherrill to make the finals.
Credit to Stickley for coming back strong for 3rd which shows resolve in the face of adversity.

145- Mitch Moore (Graham)

Mitch Moore ended his career with an illustrious 4th state championship, the second consecutive title over Pasiuk. I assumed that Moore bumped up to 145 for the benefit of the team after wrestling 138 at Super 32 in the preseason. Mooreís greatest strength has always seemed to be his literal strength, which is mitigated a bit when you wrestle larger foes. However, he found a way to win for a 4th consecutive year, and I wish his luck at Virginia Tech as he continues his career.
Beau Smith lost in the opening round and battled all the way back to take 4th, much like his teammate Lasure. Those two wrestlers along with McComas (who took nationally ranked Jordan into OT in the finals) put together an impressive tournament for Beaver Local who will have all 3 wrestlers returning next year.

152- Joey Sanchez (Graham)

I thought it was cool to see Sanchez earn a state title. Itís hard to root for some of the powerhouses like Graham at times, and yet, Sanchez felt like a bit of a Cinderella story. He doesnít get brought up as much with all of the juggernauts at Graham, but heís accomplished impressive things for the Falcons. A few years ago, he locked up the win over Blair by pulling off the upset in their dual.
He was wrestling 182 and 170 as a freshman for the Falcons before cutting to 152 for the benefit of the team as a sophomore. I figured that was a sizable cut, and then he cut to 145 the next year, again for the benefit of the team. Coach Jordan commented in his interview with Zeb Miller that Sanchez weighed 178 as a 6th grader, and that he really made a commitment to becoming an excellent wrestler. It certainly showed over the course of his career.
This season he posted 3 wins over freshman phenom Paddy Gallagher, and then he closed out the year with a state title, beating 2x finalist Sandro Ramirez in the semis and 4x placer Jashon Hubbard in the finals after losing to him in the 3rd place final last year.

160- Kevon Freeman (Lake Catholic)

It may have been the only time that a 2x state champ in Ohio was considered an underdog in the state finals, but it felt that way this year with Freeman taking on returning champ Thomas who had won Ironman to start the season (where Freeman finished 5th).
Freeman proved himself to be clutch once again, winning a 3rd consecutive state title while posting a second career victory over Thomas.
Ethan Hernandez deserves some hype here. The sophomore lost 11-3 in the opening round of the tournament before battling all the way back to take 3rd, avenging his first round loss with a 5-3 tiebreak win over David Johnson in the consolation finals.

170- Rocky Jordan (Graham)

Jordan capped his career with a third consecutive state championship before beginning his collegiate career at Ohio State.
It was reported earlier in the year that Ashton Eyler was making the cut down to 170 in order to challenge Jordan for the state title. He made a match of it, losing 5-4 to the Ironman champ in the finals after defeating 2x state placer DíAlesio in the semis. Jordan jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first before Eyler battled back and threatened Jordan throughout the 3rd period.

182- David Crawford (Canfield)

Crawford ended a second straight season on top of the state podium, while leading a Canfield squad to a third straight runner-up finish at the D-2 individual tournament. He defeated Beast of the East placer Heath for a second straight week to follow his district title with a second gold medal at the Schott.
Heath beat Clary 5-2 in the quarterfinals, and Clary rolled through the consolation bracket to finish 3rd. Claryís 5 wins at the state tournament were by scores of 16-1, 16-0, 13-1, 16-1 and pin at 2:25.
Andrew Shaffer was wrestling at 160 in the preseason before bumping up to 182 to find a spot in the starting line-up at 182 for the Falcons. He won 3 matches and placed 7th despite being undersized at the weight. Watch for him to threaten for a state title next year.

195- Stone Day (Valley View)

Day bounced back well from his lone loss of the year to defeat returning state finalist Braun 3-2 in an exciting rubber match for the state title. The 3x state placer Day bested Ironman placer Braun for the second time this season to close out the year with a state title after falling to another Graham wrestler, Kavan Sarver, in the finals last year.
Fargo finalist Cover finished 3rd at the weight and will be the highest returning placer for next year, ahead of sophomore Nick Crawford who he defeated 3-0 in the consolation semis.

220- Tyler Stein (Canfield)

I remember hearing some of the Canfield coaches say before the season that they thought Stein had made some great strides in improvement over the off season. As the season wore on, those improvements became more and more evident. Itís always hard to know what a coach means by ďimprovementĒ because plenty of wrestlers improve by donít make the jump to state champion that Stein did.
220 felt like one of the more open weights entering the year with state placers Shafer and Phillips returning as well as state placer Matlock moving down from heavyweight.
As it turned out, Stein was the best D-2 220 throughout the year. Not only did he not lose to any D-2 wrestlers, but he also defeated state placers Meaney, Matlock (4x), Ramage, Addis, and Phillips over the course of the year.

285- Jack DelGarbino (Girard)

DelGarbino was one of the more dominant wrestlers at the D-2 state tournament this year. He beat returning state placer Sam Mitchell 6-3 in the semis, but other than that, he posted two pins and a 13-0 major. DelGarbino hit a spectacular Jap Whizzer to pull out a 38 second pin in the finals.
Only a junior, DelGarbino closed out the year with an undefeated record of 49-0 while making the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League 3 out of the last 4 champions in D-2.
Only 2 of the other wrestlers at heavyweight were underclassmen, and none of the placers, so he may put forth an even more dominant performance next season.
The Claymont district represented well at this weight, placing 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

Team: Graham

Graham rolled to another title. No surprise there. Theyíll graduate 2017 champ Stickley, 4x state champ Moore, state champ Sanchez, 2017 state champ Thomas, 3x state champ Jordan, 2x state finalist Braun, and their heavyweight Van Hoose. Graham will still win another state title next year, but itís possible that we could see their margins of victory at the state tournament dwindle in the next few years.
I happy to see Canfield come away with another runner-up trophy, but it was tough to see Wauseon have such a rough state tournament.
It didnít help that their heavyweight Sosa sustained an injury at the sectional tournament. He had the potential to be a state placer, had he qualified. Davis defaulted in his first consolation bout, Grunden defaulted out of his 5th place bout, and the team lost Ramirezís points due to the disqualification. Fortunately, this talented squad did end the season with a state dual meet title to hang in their rafters, so itís not all bad.

Other Notes:

-I totally low-balled the number of placers from the Wilmington District in my predictions. I whiffed on guys like Addis, Williams, Shaffer, Marshall, Wortham, and Sherrill just to name a few. Credit to these wrestlers and all of the other competitors that I overlooked or undervalued.

-Graham had 4 champs, 4 other finalists, 4 other state placers, and another qualifier. Not bad.

-Only 5 of this yearís state champs will return next year, and 4 of those are from the Alliance District.

-7 freshman placed (according to my count), two of whom made the finals (Alek Martin and Nick Moore both of Graham).

-Beau Smith and Lyle Clark both placed 4th in the state after finishing 4th at the Claymont District the previous week. They were the highest state placers of the wrestlers who finished 4th at their district tournament the prior week.

-The Alliance District turned in the best state performance of the four D-2 Districts (8 state champs in 14 weights.
However, Justin Shaw who placed 3rd at 152, defeated all 4 of the state qualifiers from the Alliance district in his weight, including 2 wins over 4th place finisher Yoho.

-Jacob Decatur, Rocky Jordan, and Jack DelGarbino all finished the season undefeated.

-Kevon Freeman broke a streak of 7 consecutive seasons where a Graham wrestler won the title at the 160-pound weight-class. It would have been 9 consecutive years, but Brad Wukie knocked off defending state champ Kyle Ryan in the 2010 finals.

-Zero state champs and only one state finalist (Ben Pasiuk) return next year from the 138-195 weight range.

-Jaden Abas, who J.D. Stickley defeated in the Ironman finals, finished 1st at the California state tournament.

-Ethan Hernandez came all the way back through to finish 3rd after losing in the first round. He was the only D-2 wrestler to accomplish that.

-106 returns all 8 placers next year, while 152 returns only one (Will McGhee).

D-2 Nationally ranked wrestlers (Flo Wrestling):

Jacob Decatur (1st)

Tanner Jordan (14th)

Jordan Decatur (8th)

J.D. Stickley (13th)

Mitch Moore (17th)

Ryan Thomas (3rd)
Kevon Freeman (10th)

Rocky Jordan (4th)

D-2 Wrestler of the year: Jacob Decatur
Decatur finished undefeated and ranked #1 in the country. You canít do much better than that. The CVCA junior won a title at Ironman to open the season, and never looked back. Among his wins at Ironman was a semifinal win over California state champ Richard Figueroa who finished the year ranked 2nd in the nation (Flo Wrestling).

Best Finals Bout: 160-Kevon Freeman vs. Ryan Thomas.
There were several close, exciting finals bouts in D-2, but this one contained the most hype with a 2x state champ against another state champ who won an Ironman title earlier in the year.

Best weight: 126
I loved all of the plotlines at this weight. There were a handful of tough seniors seeking their first title, 6 returning state placers, a former middle school state champ, and Bartinelli who posted 4 overtime wins. In the end it was the senior Massey who stole the show winning a title to put a cap on a sterling career.

Freshman of the year: Alek Martin
Not too many wrestlers place at Ironman, and even fewer freshmen accomplish the feat. Martin reached the state finals in his first season of high school wrestling after knocking off 4x state placer Matt Cardello in the semifinals. Cardello has been nationally ranked at points in his career and will continue wrestling at the Naval Academy next season.

Most entertaining wrestler: Jashon Hubbard
I remember seeing Hubbard storm back through the consolation rounds to finish 3rd at the state tournament as a freshman after losing his first round bout. He never lost that tenacity and that propensity to constantly look for the fall as he racked up points. I wish him the best as he continues his career as a Buckeye.

Surprise wrestler of the state tournament: Luke Wymer
Itís no small feat to knock off a returning state champ who also won an Ironman title top start the season. Early in his career, I wondered if Wymer wrestled too many close matches, and if it may hurt him in the post season. However, his penchant for close bouts helped spur the upset of Stickley in the semis, and it proved useful again in the finals where he won in OT to claim the title.
Jake Bartinelli and Ethan Hernandez deserve honorable mentions here.

Surprise Wrestler of the season: Tyler Stein
Stein was one of the most improved wrestlers in D-2 (If not the most improved), and all his hard work paid off with his first state title as a junior. 4 state placers returned to this weight for the state tournament, and Stein defeated 3 of those wrestlers and went a combined 6-0 against them during the year.
Wade Monebrake and Mike Clark should also be mentioned after emerging as state finalists in very deep weight-classes.

Congratulations to all of the competitors on another phenomenal high school wrestling season. Weíre truly blessed to live in one of the best high school wrestling states in our country. It is theses exceptional young men and women that make it so special.

-Max Pearce
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Old 04-07-18, 07:01 AM
tarl tarl is offline
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Nice Read !!! Thank You
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Old 04-07-18, 09:10 AM
severs0801 severs0801 is offline
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Thanks a ton appreciate your time and effort
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Old 04-07-18, 11:53 AM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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Originally Posted by severs0801 View Post
Thanks a ton appreciate your time and effort
It's my pleasure. I love the sport, and I always appreciate the kind words from other wrestling fans. Its great to have a place where fans can find other people who enjoy the sport as much as they do.
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Old 04-07-18, 02:13 PM
Lambeau Fields Lambeau Fields is offline
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You had me at #japwhizzer.

Well done.
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