Garfield Heights D-3 District Rankings
*=unsure about participation
Some of the weights are bound to be wrong, especially this early in the year. Feel free to let me know if you have any insight or information.
1. Zach Larue- Manchester (6th state)
2. Jonathon Kumher- Berkshire (SQ)
3. Boot Kuhlins- Tuslaw (SQ)
4. Ben Ruegg- Fairless (6th district 2015)
5. Kyle Keenan- S. Range*
6. Brandt Virden- Columbiana
7. Bailey Lemon- Waynedale
8. Tyler Ewing- W.S. Northwestern
Larue was a late addition to the Manchester line-up last year, but he quickly demonstrated that he was the real deal once he made his debut, placing 3rd at the always respectable Dies.
Among his wins at the event were victories over state qualifier Jake Bartinelli (13-4), state qualifier Ed Suber (6-1) and state placer Dominic Carone (2-1).
After pinning his way through sectionals, only Kumher lasted a whole match with Larue at the district tournament and it was a 13-3 major in the finals.
In Columbus, Larue defeated Jordan Hoselton (3:07), Colton Bethel (4:21), and Klay Reeves (7-2) while placing 6th at his first state tournament.
Kumher earned a CVC title last season after defeating state qualifier Luke Hopkins 8-3 in the finals and he added a sectional title the next week, teching district placer J.P. Hlifka 16-0 for the crown.
At the district tournament, Kumher again defeated Hopkins (12-9) in the quarters and then pinned Steven Ferguson to lock up a spot at the Schott.
He finished a bout shy of placement in Columbus, defeating Colton Bethel 9-6 in the opening round before falling to state champ DíEmilio and 5th place finisher Dylan Burns.
1. Luke Hopkins- Cuyahoga Hts. (SQ)
2. Collin Razo- S. Range
3. Steven Ferguson- Elyria Cath. (5th district)
4. J.P. Hlifka- Hawken (6th district)
5. Zach Lahood- Black River
6. Daniel Forbes- Loudonville
7. Joey Hancock- Mogadore
8. Robert Pinkie- Lutheran W.
Hopkins posted a nice 5-4 win over D-2 state qualifier Jake Bartinelli at the Dies last season and later finished 2nd at the CVC where he beat district placer Nick Began 9-2 in the semis.
After a 2nd place finish at sectionals, Hopkins placed 3rd at Garfield Heights where he was able to earn 2 victories (7-4 and 2:38) over state qualifier Boot Kuhlins while also postings wins over Virden, Lahood, and Hlifka.
Razo made a late season cut down to 106 last year and earned a 4th place finish at the EOWL where he posted a 6-1 victory over Brandt Virden in the consolation semis.
He also looked good at sectionals, winning the title after defeating state qualifier Kuhlins (11-2) in the semis and then downing district placer Ruegg 8-4 for the title.
Iím not sure if he was hurt the next week, but he was forced to default in his quarterfinal bout. Assuming that heís back healthy, I fully expect him to contend for a state spot out of this district.
1. Dalton Leightner- Rootstown (7th state)
2. Alec Bailey- Manchester (SQ)
3. Nick Cianciola- Canton C.C. (6th district)
4. Joe Gabbard- Tuslaw
5. Zack Shaffer- Columbia
6. Anthony Pizzuto- Jackson-Milton
7. Brandon Meade- Cuyahoga Hts.
8. Cael Rowland- W.S. Northwestern
Leightner won an impressive tournament title at the PTC where he bested state qualifier Jake Ondash 2-0 in the title bout.
He also garnered a solid 5-2 win over state placer Cole Mattin in the semifinals of the state duals.
Leightner pinned his way to a sectional title and then looked impressive winning the district championship where he majored state qualifier Brendan Williamson 16-4, defeated 2x state placer Christian Wellman 4-2, and teched Alec Bailey 15-0 in the quarters, semis, and finals sequentially.
In Columbus, Dalton twice defeated Evan Guilford (5-2 and 4-0) and also bested Bailey 10-8 while earning a 7th place finish.
Bailey capped a quality sophomore season with his first trip to the state tournament.
He placed 8th at Brecksville where he pinned an underrated Mitch Collica in the placement bout.
Bailey would later place 5th at the Gorman and 7th at the Dies, pinning state qualifier Joe Wright at the latter tournament.
He pinned his way to a sectional title and then finished 2nd in the district after defeating Cianciola 8-2 and pinning Burgard in the quarters and semis.
Bailey finished a bout shy of placement at the Schott where he pinned Kobe Cunningham in his first consolation bout before losing to Leightner in the blood round.
1. Niko Chilson- Rootstown
2. Trent Mast- Cardinal (5th district, SQ 2015)
3. Nick Burgard- Ash. St. Johnís (5th district)
4. Brennan Shirley- Tuslaw (5th district)
5. Dalton Abfall- Black River
6. Parker WatsonĖ Lutheran W.
7. Alex French- Kirtland (6th district)
8. Connor Hrubik- Garfield (7th middle school state)
Extra credit to Boro Fan for knowing that Chilson moved to Rootstown.
I have no idea whether or not I have him too high.
He was 2nd in the state of Delaware last year (no idea what that means in a rankings sense), and he recently went 2-2 at Super 32 where his second loss was a 1-0 bout with Tennessee state finalist Brock Herring.
Heíll certainly be in the right room to make strides in improvement with Leightner just below him and Trescott just above him.
Mast was tournament champ at the CVC last year where he defeated a game Zach Berdysz 3-1 in the finals.
He bested district placer Alex French 2-0 for the sectional title and then defeated him 9-0 in the alternate match a week later at the district tournament. His only losses at the district tournament were a 6-1 setback to Isaac Elliott and a 4-1 loss to Gavin Stika, both of whom have placed at state.
Burgard hung tough in some of the stateís most difficult tournaments last year during his freshman campaign, placing 8th at Solon, defeating state alternate Ray Adams 12-11 at Brecksville and downing a quality Darese Sparkman 10-3 at Top Gun.
He also majored state qualifier John Kumher 18-4 in their dual and earned a sectional title once the post season rolled around.
Burgard sectional run contained a 7-5 sudden victory win over state qualifier Brendan Williamson and a pin over district placer Gavin Miglets in the finals.
He fell to Bailey and Williamson at the district tournament but closed out his season with a pin over Nick Cianciola to secure state alternate status.
1. Logan Kissell- Garfield (6th, 7th state)
2. Isaac ElliottĖ Tuslaw (6th state)
3. Brad Trescott- Rootstown (SQ)
4. Michael Yacapraro- Triway (SQ)
5. Josh Newman- Columbia (5th district)
6. Derek Unkefer- Smithville (6th district)
7. Evan Hostetler- Waynedale
8. Brandon Feist- W. S. Northwestern (6th district 2015)
Kissell posted a solid 2nd place finish at Kenston where he defeated state qualifier Ray Porter 13-4 in the semifinals before falling to 3x state placer Charlie Nash.
He looked even better at the Dies where he was 3rd after defeating 3x state placer Garrett Lambert 10-4 and pinning state qualifier Josh Breeding in the consolation finals.
Kissell downed 2x state placer Hunter Deshon 7-3 in the PTC finals and then finished 2nd at sectionals where he defeated 3x state placer Joey Bowen 5-2 in the semifinals.
A week later, Kissell placed 6th at a loaded state tournament where he pinned Noah Mattin in the first round, stuck Luke Coniker, and defeated 2x state placer Caleb Brooks 6-5.
Elliott turned heads at the sectional tournament last year when he won the title after defeating state qualifier Terry Stockton 9-1 in the semis and then downed returning state placer Seth Hayes 2-1 in the finals.
The next week, he finished 2nd to Hayes after defeating returning state qualifier Trent Mast 6-1 in the semis.
He was just as impressive at state reaching the semifinals after pinning eventual bronze medalist Bruce Hrynciw in the opening round and defeating 5th place finisher Ruger Goeltzenleuchter 6-2 in the semifinals.
Elliott eventually finished 6th but gave a match to Hunter Lucas (10-8), Hrynciw (3-2), and Goeltzenleuchter (11-9).
1. Stan Bleich- Elyria Cath. (3rd, 6th state)
2. Gavin Stika- Norwayne (SQ, 8th state 2015)
3. Trey Combs- Cuyahoga Hts. (SQ)
4. Bryce Rowland- W.S. Northwestern (6th district)
5. Stephen Skeens- Tuslaw
6. Tyler Jenkins- Rootstown
7. Austin Smiley- Hillsdale
8. Cameron Yeary- Pymatuning Valley
Bleich will look to cap his impressive high school career with a state title.
Last season, he won a tournament tile at Hudson last year after defeating state qualifier Isaac Yoho 5-4 in the semis and besting 2x state placer Andrew Stowers 3-1 in the championship.
Bleich beat Combs 17-3 to win the sectional title and then won a district title the next week, beating Michael Yacapraro and Brad Trescott along the way.
He bettered his state placement from 6th to 3rd after defeating Zane Strubler, Dylan Mansor, Conan Becker, and Chase Sumner.
His only setback was a 3-0 semifinal defeat at the hands of 2x state finalist Brady Barnett who will likely be his greatest competition for a state title this year.
Stika placed 4th at the Dies last season where he defeated state qualifier Addison Fogle 7-5 in overtime.
He later won WCAL and sectional titles, defeating Graham Hostetler in the finals of both events.
Stika placed 3rd at the district tournament where he lost a 1-0 bout to 2x state placer Seth Hayes before defeating Hostetler, Abfall, Mast, and Stockton consecutively.
1. Brian Persinger- Triway (SQ)
2. Riley Smucker- Smithville (5th state)
3. Cody Rhoads- Grand Valley (6th state)
4. Mason Wright- Wellington
5. Kyle Ryder- Tuslaw
6. Ryan Finney- Garfield
7. Christian Blank- A. St. Johnís
8. Kaden Kidd- Norwayne (6th middle school state)
Persinger had an awesome season, but unfortunately, he was unable to participate in the state tournament.
He won a tournament title at Northwestern where he pinned state qualifier Pierre Savage in the semis and then downed Riley Smucker 11-9 in the finals.
Smucker avenged the loss at sectionals, but Persinger won the rubber match a week later at the district tournament where he defeated Smucker 4-3 in the championship bout to finish with the gold.
Smucker posted a 17-12 win over Persinger to claim the sectional title last year and then finished 2nd at the district tournament the next week where he downed Cody Rhoades 4-3 in the semifinals.
At the state tournament, Smucker bested Hugo Villerreal (5-4), J.D. McNett (9-0), Trevor Scherf (4-2 SV), and Rhoads (10-4) to finish 5th.
Rhoads won a title at the Perry Pin City Invitational, besting state qualifier Adam Kirresh 8-6 in the finals.
He later won a sectional and placed 3rd at the district tournament where he defeated Pierre Savage 6-0 in the consolation finals.
Rhoads defeated Hunter Stoffer (4:06), Henry Danishek (10-5), and Hugo Villerreal (2:34) en route to earning his first state medal.
1. Luke Sorboro- Rootstown (3rd, 5th state)
2. Ian Maund- Mapleton (SQ)
3. David Cumberledge- A. St. Johnís (1st middle school state)
4. Derek Duvall- W.S. Northwestern (5th district)
5. Kevin Clymer- Independence (6th district)
6. Nathan Rasmussen- Grand Valley
7. Thomas Forbes- Loudonville
8. Trenton Mathew- Smithville
It looks like Sorboro will be making the cut down to 152 to pursue a state title after placing 5th and 3rd in the state last two years.
He finished 3rd at the Dies last year where he beat district champ Brendan Price 2-1 and pinned state placer Joey Andrassy.
Sorboro continued to rack up big wins, defeating state qualifiers Kian Thompson (5-3) and Dylan Rogers (5-2) while bumping up a weight at the state duals.
He finished 3rd at the district tournament but followed up that placement with a 3rd place finish at state where he pinned 5th place finisher David Bell and defeated 4th place finisher Sam Stoll 7-1 in his final 2 bouts.
Maund placed 3rd at Marion Harding last season where he downed state qualifier Jake Farley 3-1 in the consolation finals.
He later claimed a runner-up finish to 3x state placer Derek Gross at Northwestern where he bested state qualifier Brandon Neikirk 6-2 in the semifinals.
After winning a sectional title, Maund defeated Neikirk 5-0 in the sectional semis and then downed state placer Josh Tompkins 3-1 to win the district crown.
A week later he defeated Bobby Stewart 6-4 in his first consolation bout at the state tournament before falling a bout shy of placement with a 3-2 loss to Tompkins.
1. Logan Stanley- Waynedale (SQ)
2. Anthony Scurry- Warrensville Hts. (SQ)
3. Manny Garza- Rittman (SQ)
4. Bruce George- Rootstown
5. Chris Miller- Wellington
6. Jacob Lagoa- A. St. Johnís (2nd middle school state 2015)
7. Elvis Conkle- Tuslaw
8. Nick Frye- Cuyahoga Hts.
Stanley racked up dual meet wins over state placer Garrett Hall (2-1), state placer Corey Bogan (11-7), and state qualifier Dylan Hall (8-6) before finishing 2nd to Hall at the WCAL and sectionals, defeating state placer Hunter Flinner 2-1 in the semis of the latter tournament.
Stanley suffered a pin at the hands of Anthony Scurry in the district quarterfinals but rumbled back with 4 straight wins including a 13-4 victory over Scurry in the consolation finals.
He finished a bout shy of placement at the state tournament the next week, pinning Brett Kahl in his first consolation bout.
Scurry pinned Derek Duvall to win a title at Northwestern last year and later pinned his way to a sectional title at the Independence Sectional.
He split two bouts with Stanley at the district tournament while placing 4th after besting Clymer by default in his go to state bout a week after defeating him for the sectional title.
1. Kyle Ice- Waynedale (6th state)
2. Chris Langguth- Rootstown
3. Tom McHale- Newbury (5th district)
4. Bailey Blair- Smithville (5th district)
5. Chad McDaniel- Cuyahoga Hts. (6th district)
6. Mike Jacobucci- Columbia
7. Nick Mroczynski- Independence
8. Frank Rupert- Columbiana
Ice made an impressive jump from state alternate to state placer last season, finishing 2nd to state champ Zach Steiner at the WCAL, sectional and district tournaments.
During his run to the finals of the district tournament, Ice majored a tough Paul Dies 18-5 in the quarterfinals an then knocked off 2x state placer Luke Sorboro 6-4 in the semifinals.
At the state tournament, Ice reached the semifinals on the merit of a pin over 8th place finisher Teagan McFadden and a 7-4 win over previously undefeated Jacob Thompson who went on to finish 7th.
Langguth was 2nd at Hudson and the PTC tournament last year as a freshman while also racking up impressive wins over state placer Jake Huston (9-6) and state qualifier Colin Hoffman (3:28) in the quarters and semis of the state duals.
Langguth pinned Elvis Conkle in the sectional finals but was pinned by Derek Duvall in the first round of the district tournament the next week. He battled back with a pair of major decisions before falling 4-2 to Logan Stanley in the consolation quarterfinals.
1. James Handwerk- Lutheran W. (1st, 1st state)
2. Zach Steiner- Norwayne (1st, 6th state)
3. Joshua Bialosky- Beachwood (6th state)
4. Logan Hall- Tuslaw
5. Nick Shephard- Fairless (5th district)
6. Jason Newlan- Smithville (6th district)
7. Nathan Whitehead- Columbiana
8. Nick Fox- Wellington
We could see an awesome showdown between two state champs both here in the district finals and a week later in the state finals if Handwerk and Steiner both opt for this weight class.
I ranked Handwerk higher based off of his Ironman tournament and freestyle national accolades, though Steiner owns a head-to-head win.
Handwerk placed 4th at Ironman last year where he pinned D-2 state bronze medalist Ben Knaus and shutout D-2 state champ Garrett Jordan 5-0.
He bested state placer Brandon Goldsmith (4-3) and state qualifier Josiah Harrell (11-3) to reach the Medina finals. He seemed to get frustrated with the refereeing in the finals with Steiner and he gave up the late takedown which ultimately decided the bout.
Handwerk won the district title over Bialosky with a first period pin after he bested state runner-up Gaige Willis 3-1 in the semifinals.
A week later he claimed his second state title pinning 3x state placer Tristan Anderson in the semifinals before besting Gaige Willis 7-1 in the championship bout.
Steiner picked up his first state title last year after placing 6th as a sophomore the prior season.
His aforementioned win over Handwerk was not the only impressive victory that he posted at Medina where he knocked off state placer Tony Caraffi 5-1 in the quarters and then downed state qualifier Zach Defraine 5-3 in the semifinals.
Steiner placed 5th at the Dies where he rebounded from losses to Caraffi and state placer Joey Andrassy to defeat district champ Brendan Price 5-3 in sudden victory in his final bout.
He racked up three more impressive victories at St. Maryís when he bested 2x state placer Damion Vitt (5-3), state placer Sam Stoll (4-3), and state finalist Cole Draper (14-5).
Steiner downed state placer Kyle Ice in three straight tournament finals to win the WCAL, sectional, and district titles.
A week later, Steiner defeated Stoll 11-1 in the state quarters, bettered 5th place finisher David Bell 7-3 in the semis, and closed out his year with a 6-2 win over Cole Draper to earn the gold.
1. Will Bolanz- Waterloo (1st, 6th state)
2. Gaige Willis- Pymatuning Valley (2nd, 8th state)
3. John Kelbly- Smithville (5th, 8th state)
4. Caleb Rupert- Columbiana (5th district)
5. Kade Marker- Newbury (SQ)
6. Ty Straits- Waynedale
7. Bryce Randall- Brookfield
8. Cole Geiser- Dalton
This is a second straight weight class that we could see the district finals be a precursor to the state finals.
Bolanzís steep learning curve has seen him climb from state qualifier to 6th place finisher to state champion in 3 short years.
He won the PTC title over D-2 state placer Chris Cook 7-6 last year and followed that title up with a 9-0 win over Caleb Rupert to claim the sectional crown.
In the district semifinals, Bolanz avenged an earlier loss to Kelbly with a 4-1 win which he followed up with a 5-1 win over state placer Paul Skye to win the district gold.
After downing Jeff Botts (8-2) in the first round of the state tournament, Bolanz pinned 7th place finisher Caide Bunfill to reach the semifinals for a second straight year. This time he punched through to the finals with a 4-2 win over the previously unbeaten Jordan Leasure, and he capped his glorious run with a 3-2 win over Dalton Hoover to earn the championship.
Willis is a wrestler who may be at an even sharper end of the learning curve, placing 8th in the state as a freshman and then following that up with a runner-up finish to 2x state champ Handwerk as a sophomore.
He split his first two bouts with state placer Josh Bialosky last season, winning the KIT final 2-1 before falling 4-0 in the sectional finals.
Willis showed his mettle at the district tournament, placing 3rd after twice defeating 3x state placer Tristan Anderson while only falling 3-1 to Handwerk.
He was equally impressive at state starting off his run with a 9-1 major over Brandon MaGee, and following it up with a 1-0 victory over a very tough Kian Thompson in the quarterfinals.
Willis would not be denied in the semis, winning the rubber match with Bialosky 3-1 to reach his first state finals.
1. Paul Skye- Mogadore (6th state)
2. Jacob Campbell- Black River (6th district, 5th district 2015)
3. Dedric Isaac- Rittman (SQ)
4. Crawford Hamrick- Tuslaw
5. Ryan Boyle- Rootstown (5th district)
6. Ben Farrar- Waynedale (6th district)
7. Landon Talbert- Crestview
8. Steven Dodge- Pymatuning Valley
Skye placed 7th at the Dies, and 3rd at the PTC last season before winning a sectional title over 2x state placer Jacob Campbell (7-3).
He advanced to his first state tournament on the merit of a 9-2 district quarterfinal win over Caleb Rupert and a 5-4 semifinal victory over Kade Marker.
The next week, Skye reached the state semifinals after pinning his first two foes, Kyle Gigandet and returning state placer Jack Staggs.
Campbell started last year at 182 where he was tournament champion at Marion Harding, pinning a quality Sean King in the finals.
He was runner-up to state placer John Szep at the Gorman where he earned an impressive 20-11 semifinal win over state alternate Ben Smith.
After bumping up to 195 for the post season, He finished 2nd to Skye at the sectional tournament and picked up his second district medal at the district tournament while claiming victories over Ty Straits (8-2) and Heath Snyder (7-4).
1. Austin Mathis- Grand Valley (SQ)
2. Brayden Phillips- Tuslaw (5th district, 6th district 2015)
3. Tim Davin- Columbiana (6th district)
4. Tyson Miller-Waynedale
5. Vince Ballard- A. St. Johnís
6. D.P. Shranko- Black River*
7. Tyler Briggs- Brookfield (2nd middle school state)
8. Dauson Hammer- Wellington
Mathis returns as the district champ at this weight, besting Jonah Ours 3-2 in the finals after defeating Jacob Hochstetler 2-1 in overtime in the semis.
The prior week, Mathis pinned Ballard to earn the sectional title after claiming a 3rd place finish at Perry, as well as a 5th at the EOWL where he pinned Kaleb Messersmith in his final bout.
Phillips took some lumps earlier in the year but settled in by seasonís end and bettered his previous district placement from 6th to 5th as a sophomore.
He finished 2nd to Davin at the sectional tournament, but earned a 7-5 win over Davin a week later in their state alternate bout. Phillips also claimed an impressive pin over Charlie Draucker in the consolation quarterfinals to guarantee placement.
5. Cuyahoga Hts.
6. Ashtabula St. Johnís
7. Black River
8. Columbiana/Grand Valley
Rootstown lost a handful of excellent seniors, but still boasts a very good squad led by 2x state placer Luke Sorboro who will be looking to end his career with a state title.
I was really impressed by the freshman Boyle who started last year at 182 before wrestling up at 220 for the district tournament. He and George should be able to pick their weight class after a year of wrestling out of weight to fit into an excellent line-up, and either or both could end their season at the state tournament.
Also, the addition of Chilson is a huge one, although itíll be difficult to know just how good he is until the season begins.
Tuslaw has an impressive amount of depth which is even more impressive considering how many of their wrestlers are underclassmen.
Hopefully everyone can fit in at their ideal weights with Shirley, Elliott,, Skeens, and Ryder all around the same classification.
The addition of another state caliber wrestler like Logan Hall, adds another excellent scorer to a team that could land over half of their squad in the state tournament.
Iím interested to see how theyíll score at some of their big tournaments throughout the year. They certainly have enough talent to make some noise even against big school foes.
Waynedale graduate a fair number of talented grapplers as well, but they return top level talent like Stanley and Ice who could both make a run at the state finals. Add in tough competitors like Straits and Miller, and the team has the potential to claim another district trophy.
Ashtabula St. Johnís will be a fun team to follow. Itís didnít take them long to start building a good young core.
Middle school state finalists Cumberledge and Lagoa add depth to a squad that already had a few potential state qualifiers with the likes of Burgard and Ballard among others.
A special thanks to Boro Fan for all the insight into the weights of the wrestlers, Baumís Page and Jakeís Wrestling for all of the results that they provide, and to any of the other wrestling nerds that actually read these things.