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Old 11-21-14, 12:23 PM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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Join Date: 10-10-05
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McClearn7 is on a distinguished road
Cleveland State D-1 District Preview 2014-2015

Iím going to attach this intro to all the breakdowns. I love the sport of wrestling. I love following it, I love watching it, and I love discussing it. However, these breakdowns are just my opinion, not facts. Enjoy them for what they are, a jumping off point for discussion, or feel free to tell me if Iím wrong or ignorant. To any wrestlers reading this, donít put too much stock in it. Use it to motivate you if you wish, but threads and rankings are generally just the opinions of old guys that are now usually 20+ pounds over our high school weights. Our expectations and opinions do not determine the outcome of the matches, you do. You are the ones doing all the work, and you deserve the credit for the levels of success that you will achieve this year. Good luck to all of the Ohio high school wrestlers during the upcoming season, and enjoy the sport while youíre in it, it goes by fast.
Keep in mind that I have no inside insight into what weights these wrestlers will be occupying this year. I group wrestlers based on a delicate process that combines watching where people on this forum think they will go and guessing based on no real criteria. Will some of the weights be wrong? Definitely. Are some of the wrestlers going to finish the season higher than I have them ranked right now? Of course. Do I sound like a bit of a D answering my own questions? Absolutely.
The first rankings are generally based off of how I think the wrestlers did last season, not how I think theyíll finish this year. There are many results that I donít know about and many that I may interpret differently than someone else reading the same results. Enough about the process. Letís get into it.

* = unsure about participation at this district

1. Alan Hart-St. Edward (7th state)
2. Brandon Randolph-Wadsworth (5th district)
3. Josh Breeding-Elyria (2nd Middle School state)
4. Nick Henneman-Clay (5th District)
5. Justin McNeely-Brunswick
6. Dalton Eagle-Ashland

Always one of the most difficult weights to predict in the off season, 106 will be no different this year at Cleveland State. I have no idea if Alan Hart will be able to make the drop to this weight, but hopefully just for a little dispersion in talent, someone will venture back down to this weight class. I knew almost nothing about Hart going into last season other than the fact that he was being well hyped by the St. Edward fan base, and he certainly did not disappoint placing 7th in the state during his first tour of high school duty. Alan opened a lot of eyes at Ironman as a surprise semifinalist at the nationís top in-season tournament. His most impressive win was likely the 2-0 first round upset he pulled over eventual D-1 state finalist Tommy Genetin (Perry). Also notable was his 5-4 victory over Tanner Smith (Graham) in the fifth place match. Smith was another highly touted freshman coming into the season after winning a middle school state title in 2013. Hart would snag that same placement (5th) at Medina, where both of his two losses were to D-1 state champion Noah Baughman (Wadsworth). He also pulled off an impressive pin over state qualifier Jackson Lakso (Central Crossing) along the way. No one will ever accuse Edís of taking it easy on their schedule, and duals against the likes of Perry, Graham, Toledo C.C., Wadsworth, Claymont, and Clay can attest to the strength of the road that St. Edís travels. Hartís most impressive dual win along this grueling path was an 8-3 triumph over D-2 bronze medalist Josh Venia (Toledo C.C.) who was an overtime match away from being a state finalist. He started off his postseason with a 2nd place finish at the sectional tournament to state bronze medalist, Devione Edwards (Lorain). Alan followed the sectional performance with a 4th place district tournament to make his first state championship. Hartís go-to-state match was a resounding 13-2 win over Nick Henneman, which he earned two rounds after defeating a sturdy Dalton Eagle 13-0. After an opening round loss to 6th place finisher Zack Donathan (Mason) at the state tournament, Hart majored his next two opponents Ben Tate (Mount Vernon) and C.J. Campbell (Bradley) by 13-0 and 11-1 scores. A second loss to Devione Edwards (4-1) sent Hart into the 7th place match, which he won by a 7-2 score over Harry Feuer (Marysville) to close out 2014 on a high note. Hart originally registered for the illustrious Super 32 preseason tournament at 106, but later changed his weight to 113, where he posted an impressive 4-2 record on the tournament. The two wrestlers that Hart lost to were Sebastian Rivera (Christian Brothers Academy) and Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional). Rivera placed 5th at the New Jersey state tournament last year, and Spencer Lee is an all-world talent who was an undefeated Pennsylvania state champ as a freshman last year and won a world freestyle title over the summer. Among Hartís victories at Super 32, we saw a 9-8 win over Matt Landgraff (Springstead) who placed 5th in the state of Florida, a 9-3 win over Kennedy Monday (Arlington Martin) who was a Texas state finalist and former Super 32 place-winner, and a 1-0 triumph over Matteo Devincenzo (Port Jefferson) who won a New York state championship last year. Whether he makes his way back down here or opts to go 113, Hart will be in the mix for even higher placement in 2015.
Brandon Randolph was a shade away from the state tournament last year despite being a freshman and wrestling up a weight-class. He stared the year at 106, finishing 2nd to state placer Zack Donathan (Mason) at Olentangy Liberty and grabbing 5th place at North Canton where he lost a 5-4 match to state placer Hunter Kosco (Northwest) and another decision to state placer Devione Edwards (Lorain). Randolph majored state qualifiers Terrell Grant (Tallmadge) and Brady Toth (Perry) by 9-1 and 11-3 scores during their mid December dual meets. Brandon showed a few growing pains at Medina, wrestling up at 113 after state champ Noah Baughman made the drop to 106. He went a respectable 3-2, pinning another quality freshman in district placer Dylan Mansor (Oak Harbor), but he was pinned by state placer Shakur Laney (Groveport-Madison) and suffered a 10-2 defeat at the hands of Zac McCauley (Mass. Perry) who was also wrestling up in weight. Randolph finished a suitable 4th at his home tournament before winning the Suburban League title at 106 with Baughman bumping up to 113. He would finish 2nd at sectionals to state qualifier Andrew Coghill, losing a 9-1 bout in the championship after defeating a very good Ethan Rivera (Brunswick) 3-1 in the semis. Randolph looked even better at Cleveland State pinning his opening foe and giving 2x state placer Mario Guillen (Perrysburg) a decent match in a 12-7 defeat. After a pin in the consolation rounds, Randolph bested Ethan Rivera a second time in a 3-2 win. He gave Coghill a much better match the second time around before falling 6-5 in the go-to-state bout. Randolph earned a first period pin over Trayvion Scott (Fremont Ross) to close his first season as the state alternate. Down at 106 this season, the ever improving Randolph will be in contention for a district title and a state finals birth.
Josh Breeding was a Middle School state finalist last season, finishing as the runner-up to the tremendous 3x champ Jaden Mattox (Central Crossing). At the middle school state tournament, Breeding drubbed fellow middle school state placer Mason Coleman (Hudson) 16-2 in the quarterfinal and defeated Zach Shupp (Fairfield) 9-2 in the semis before falling to Mattox in the championship bout. He will be one of the top freshmen talents here at Cleveland State along with wrestlers like Ryan Wissel for Highland. Wissel was 5th at 90 pounds last year and may still be a year away from having the size to make a state run. Caleb Yates (Anthony Wayne) is an under the radar wrestler around this weight. Last year as an undersized 106, he still managed to pull a 5-4 win over Khyron Vidales (Perrysburg) in a dual meet. Assuming that heís grown into the weight class a bit more, Yates can compete with just about anyone at this district.
Nick Henneman is in the same boat as Yates in that he put together an impressive season last year despite being at 84 pounds in Middle School the year before. Henneman was 3rd at Solon to start the year, besting Cameron Duvall (Nordonia), another contender around this weight, in the bronze medal match. He finished 7th at his home tournament, trudging through a minefield of a weight where he defeated Khyron Vidales (6-1), Caleb Yates (7-2), and D-2 state qualifier Brady Toth (Perry) by a 10-2 score. Hennemanís only losses at the Clay tournament were to state placers Harry Feuer and Hunter Lucas (L. Shawnee). At Wadsworth, Henneman finished 2nd to state champ Noah Baughman, earning a 3-1 win over fellow middle school state placer Brakan Mead (Liberty) in the pool portion of the tournament. After another win over Vidales (7-1) in the state duals, Henneman finished a respectable 2nd to Josh Venia (7-4) at their TRAC tournament. Henneman was a sectional champion, where he pinned district placer Chris Leffler (Holl. Springfield) for the crown. The next week, Henneman would advance to the semifinals at Cleveland State, pinning a sneaky good D.J. Skiba (Brunswick) in the quarters. After a hard fought 4-3 semifinal loss to state bronze medalist Devione Edwards, Henneman fell into a consolation semi bout with Alan Hart who defeated Henneman and relegated him to the 5th place match. He would once again pin Leffler, this time for state alternate status, closing the season with a win and establishing a platform to build off of in 2015. Henneman is a very talented young wrestler on a first-rate team, leading me to believe that it is simply a matter of time before he ends his season on the podium in Columbus.
Justin McNeely was a back-up 106-pounder last year on a very talented Brunswick team, though he very well could have been a state qualifier on another team at many of the other districts around the state. McNeely finished 2nd at Independence to teammate D.J. Skiba, defeating state qualifier Brady Toth (Perry) 4-3 in their semifinal match. McNeely was the teamís starter at Medina, where he earned a worthy 7th place finish. Despite drawing 2x state champ Tyler Warner (Claymont) in the opening round, McNeely battle back with 4 consolation wins including three in a row. One of the wins was a pin of district placer Eric Bartos (Buckeye) and another was a 9-6 victory over a skilled Coleton Chase (Lancaster). McNeely lost a 5-0 bout with Alan Hart in the consolation rounds to set up a 7th place match with Cody Woods (West Holmes) who McNeely pinned in the second period.
Dalton Eagle is another wrestler that may make his way back down to this weight. After a brief stint at 113, Eagle soon dropped to 106 last year, finishing 3rd at Marion County and 1st at the OCC tournament. Eagle beat a respectable Noah Georgian (Kenston) in OT and state alternate Seth Transue (Jerome) at Marion County. Later in the season, he majored state qualifier Mike Baumberger (Madison Comp.) 8-0 in the finals of the OCC. Eagle lost a 6-0 first round district bout to state placer Jarod Bronstrup, won his first consolation bout, and then fell to Alan Hart in the seconds round of consolation matches.

1. Noah Baughman-Wadsworth (1st state)
2. Mario Guillen-Perrysburg (3rd, 5th state)
3. Devione Edwards-Lorain (3rd state)
4. D.J. Skiba-Brunswick
5. Brandon Fenton-Elyria (3rd Middle School state)
6. C.J. Leffler-H. Springfield (6th district)

The co-favorite at this district and at the state tournament is returning state champion Noah Baughman. The Wadsworth Grizzly was one of the most improved light-weights in D-1 last year, earning his first gold medal as a mere sophomore. Baughman went 2-2 at the Cleveland State District Tournament during his freshman year, being eliminated in the consolation rounds in a 7-1 loss to Mario Guillen. That result is a bit deceptive as Baughman has improved by leaps and bounds since then, and the difference between the two is negligible at this point. Baughman started the year at 113 with a title at Olentangy Liberty over Patrick Kearney (Mason) who finished 6th in the state. Baughman stayed at 113 for the North Canton Holiday Tournament where he earned a 5-3 win in the semifinals over Benny Gomez (Holt) who was 3rd at the Michigan state tournament. In the finals, Baughman suffered his first setback of the season, dropping a 4-3 bout with D-2 state finalist Tariq Wilson (Steubenville). After making the drop to 106, Baughman finished 3rd at Medina, defeating state placer Alan Hart (St. Edward) twice (9-4 and 18-4) with a 5-0 loss to 2x state champ Tyler Warner (Claymont) sandwiched in between. Baughman rolled to victories at Wadsworth and the Suburban League Tournament, wrestling up at 113 for the latter event and pinning state placer Chris Doyle (Green) in the finals. Baughmanís first sectional match was a 10-3 win over state 5th place finisher Jarod Bronstrup and his second, a pin over D. J. Skiba. Despite wrestling at the toughest district tournament for this weight, Baughman rolled to the title, defeating Alan Hart (10-4), pinning Chris Leffler (Holl. Springfield) in the semis and getting the default over Devione Edwards to earn his first district title. After a first round tech fall at state, Baughman defeated 4th place finisher Jarrod Brezovec (Aurora) 15-4 in the quarters and 6th place finisher Zack Donathan (Mason) 14-6 in the semis. Baughman would square off with Perry senior Tommy Genetin for the state title and pull out the 6-3 win to claim his first well earned state crown. Baughman claimed an excellent 2nd place finish at the Super 32 Tournament a few weeks ago. On his way to the finals, Noah knocked off Alec Kelly (St. Peterís Prep) 3-0 in the round of 32, majored Jared Donahue (Parkersburg) 14-5 in the round of 16, shutout Mitch Moore (Graham) 2-0 in the quarterfinals, and defeated Garrett Pepple (E. Noble) in the semis. Alec Kelly placed 3rd at the New Jersey state tournament last year, Jared Donahue was a state runner-up in West Virginia, the freshman Mitch Moore was a 2x Ohio middle school state champion, and Garrett Pepple was a state runner-up in Indiana. It should also be noted that Moore and Pepple are ranked 14th and 15th in the nation by Flo Wrestling respectively. Baughmanís excellent tournament run ended unceremoniously when he was pinned in the finals by Spencer Lee, who may be the best high school wrestler in the country. Despite the final loss, Baughman demonstrated that he can compete with the top wrestlers in the country at his weight and will be a force to be reckoned with over his final two years of varsity wrestling.
Mario Guillenís presence at 113 makes him a state title contender and transforms the weight from phenomenal to potentially absurd. Weíll likely see returning state champ Noah Baughman here, state bronze medalist Devione Edwards, potentially state 7th place finisher Alan Hart, and an amalgamation of other talented wrestlers. Last season, Mario Guillenís first tournament of the year was Ironman, a meat grinder where even state champions can get lost in the shuffle. Mario went 2-2 here but only lost to state champions Dustin Warner (Claymont) and Eli Stickley (Graham) while also defeating state placer Garrett Lambert (Strongsville) 4-1. Guillen looked exceptional the rest of the year, finishing 2nd at Brecksville, 2nd at the NLC tournament and 1st at his home tournament. During his Brecksville finals run, Guillen pinned state alternate Eli Yoho (Woodridge), defeated state qualifier Andrew Coghill (Nordonia) 8-2 and bettered state champion Christian Clary (Dayton Chr.) 3-1 in consecutive matches. Guillenís only loss was a 4-2 finals setback to defending state champion Jake Spiess (Delta) who was undefeated and nationally ranked at the time. At Perrysburg, Guillen won a tight 1-0 finals bout with returning state finalist Seth Beard (Napoleon), though later in the year Mario was defeated by the same wrestler in the championship of their conference tournament. Next the Yellow Jacket would pin his way to a sectional title, stick his first district foe, and defeat state alternate Brandon Randolph (Wadsworth) 12-7 to advance to the district semis. Here, Guillen would suffer a surprising 4-1 setback to Garrett Lambert in a rematch of their Ironman showdown. Guillen closed out his district tournament with a tech fall against Trayvion Scott and a pin of Coghill in the consolation finals. Guillenís greatest challenge frequently seems to be getting over the hump in his first match of the day. He lost the district semi bout to Lambert, a wrestler he had defeated on multiple previous occasions. In 2013 at the state tournament, Guillen suffered a first round loss to a tough Jon Furnas (Liberty) a very good wrestler who ended up placing 7th while Guillen finished 5th. Guillen set up a difficult road for himself at the 2014 state tournament by losing in the opening round to Jake Donahue (Massillon), a very good wrestler, but an opponent that Guillen had defeated multiple times before. I admire Guillenís resolve, as he battled back with 5 straight wins to finish 3rd while Donahue did not place. Mario seemed to gain steam as he won more and more consolation bouts. His first match was a 4-3 win over Sam Roth (Lakota East), his second a 12-2 major of Troy Barklay (Centerville), the third a 17-1 tech of Chris Doyle (Green), the penultimate match a 7-2 victory over district champ Patrick Kearney (Mason), and the climactic bout a lopsided 8-1 win over nationally ranked L.J. Bentley (St. Edward). Surely Guillen can overcome the first match yips and will contend for a state title in 2015.
The jump in performance that Noah Baughman made last year at 106 overshadowed just what an impressive season, Devione Edwards put together for Lorain. Lorain doesnít get a lot of press, but the Titans consistently put quality wrestlers on the mat, and state bronze medalist Edwards was their star last year. Like Baughman, Edwards opened last year at 113, where he finished 2nd to district champ Stan Bleich (Elyria Cath.) at Avon Lake. Down at 106, Edwards won at Hoover in convincing fashion, besting state alternate Brandon Randolph (Wadsworth) 9-3 in the semis and then majoring 2x state placer Shane Johnston (Tuslaw) 13-1 for the title. Edwards finished 3rd at the impressively deep Clay tournament, beating state placer Harry Feuer (Mayfield) twice including a lopsided 13-1 bronze medal bout romp. He also earned a 13-4 major over state qualifier Jackson Lakso (Central Crossing) but fell to superb D-2 state placer Hunter Lucas (L. Shawnee) 5-4 in the semis. A few weeks later, Edwards defeated Alan Hart 6-5 in the sectional finals to exit the sectional as the champion. At Cleveland State, he advanced to the district finals after a 4-2 win over state placer Jarod Bronstrup (Brecksville) in the quarters and a 4-3 win over Nick Henneman in the semis. He began his quest at the state tournament with a 4-1 win over Eric Beck (LaSalle) but was pinned in the late stages of his quarterfinal match with state finalist Tommy Genetin. Edwardís mettle was tested in the consolation rounds, and he demonstrated great perseverance with a second win over Hart, a 3-0 shutout of southwest district champ Zack Donathan in the consolation semis, and a 5-2 triumph over the first-rate freshman Jarrod Brezovec in the consolation finals. Itís hard to imagine the Edwards can improve as much this year as he did last year, but if he does, both Guillen and Baughman will need every bit of talent to fend off his surge for a state crown.
We could see a plethora of other talented wrestlers here at 113 in 2015, D.J. Skiba and Cameron Duvall (Nordonia) were both 2-2 at Cleveland State last year finishing a match away from medaling. Duvall owned a solid win over Khyron Vidales 7-4 in the opening round last year, while Skiba won the Independence tournament, finished 5th at the Dies Tournament, and bested Vidales 11-2 at districts. His biggest win at Independence may have been the 4-0 finals shutout over his teammate Justin McNeely. He picked up a nice 4-3 win at Firestone over the stout senior Tanmay Shah (Copley), who he also defeated 3-2 in the sectional semifinals.
C.J. Leffler is a bit of an enigma. He was a district placer last year at Cleveland State, pinning Duvall in the quarterfinals, but he also lost twice to Vidales who both Duvall and Skiba bested. Leffler also posted a notable tournament win at Scioto, claiming the title and defeating district placer Austin Oberly (Worth. Kilbourne) in the championship.
We could also see former middle school state placer Brandon Fenton (Elyria) at this weight making it all the deeper. Fenton finished 3rd at the middle school state tournament, only losing to the excellent 2x state champ Mitch Moore (Graham) in the semis. He bested a tough Justin Shaw (Carrollton) 8-4 in the quarterfinals, defeated Gunnar Carpenter (Licking Valley) 9-3 in the consolation semis, and majored Jared Ford (Covington) 12-2 in the consolation finals.
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Old 11-21-14, 12:24 PM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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1. L.J. Bentley-St. Edward (4th state)
2. Moises Guillen-Perrysburg (7th state)
3. Ethan Rivera-Brunswick
4. Ray Porter-Strongsville
5. Trayvion Scott-Fremont Ross (6th district)
6. Nick Mayer-Elyria

L.J. Bentley is another kid I’d love to see make the state finals. It will be difficult at this weight, but Bentley has improved by leaps and bounds each year, so it’s certainly not out of the question. Bentley lost his opening bout at Ironman, before racking up 5 straight wrestle-back wins to reach the consolation semis. His most notable win in that span came in the consolation quarters when he defeated D-3 state champ Christian Clary (Dayton Chr.) 3-1. Bentley lost 3-2 to Jack Mueller (Trinity Chr., TX) in the consolation semis but closed out with a 3-2 win over D-2 state champ Dustin Warner (Claymont) to finish 5th. The loss to Mueller was respectable considering the fact that he ended the season ranked #5 in the nation, according to Intermat. Bentley was tournament champion at Medina, where he beat 2x state medalist Shakur Laney (Groveport-Madison) in the quarters, state champ Dustin Warner a second time in the semis, and returning state finalist Seth Beard (Napoleon) in the finals. Bentley’s superb season continued on the dual meet trail where he tallied a 3-0 win over state champ Noah Baughman (Wadsworth), a 19-6 drubbing of state placer Lane Peters (Claymont), and a 2-1 win over D-2 state champ and Wisconsin recruit Eli Stickley (Graham). In the two weeks leading up to state, Bentley won titles at the Lorain Sectional and the Cleveland State District, defeating state placer Garrett Lambert 7-1 in the finals of the latter tournament. He opened his state tournament with an 8-3 victory over Daniel Clement (Solon) and followed up with an 11-3 major over Josh Wimer (Central Crossing) setting up a state semifinal match with returning state champion Jose Rodriguez (Perry). It was not to be for Bentley who fell 8-6 to the formidable Ohio State recruit Rodriguez. He bounced back with a 7-2 win in a rematch with Shakur Laney to advance to the consolation finals, but Bentley’s season ended on a sour note, losing an 8-1 bout with Mario Guillen (Perrysburg). Bentley is an excellent wrestler that will add crazy depth to an already preposterous weight class (especially if Assad and Guillen are here), but he can’t be counted out in any match due to the constant improvements that he’s demonstrated from year to year. It was recently suggested that Bentley could opt for 126 while teammate Mason Daugherty makes the difficult cut to this weight class. If that’s the case, Bentley would be the favorite at that upper weight while Daugherty would likely be around 3 or 4 at this weight if he can indeed make the cut down.
Moises Guillen, like his brother before him, jumped into the Perrysburg line-up as a freshman and made an immediate impact on the state scene. A shining freshman season, culminated in a 7th place finish at the best weight class in Columbus last year. He defeated state qualifier Damian Short (Archbold) 9-4 in an early season dual, and bested state placer Collin Dees (Perry) 9-4 at Ironman, putting the weight on notice that he could wrestle with even the top wrestlers at 120. After a 2-2 Brecksville where he lost the rematch with Dees and a 2-0 bout with state finalist Kyle Keller (Delta), Guillen finished 2nd at his home tournament, pinning a respectable Tanner Ruiz (Syl. Southview) and defeating Michigan state champion Logan Griffin (Erie Mason) 4-2 in the semis before falling to defending state champ Jake Spiess (Delta) 3-2 in the finals. Moises rolled to titles at the NLL and district tournaments, and he’d carry that momentum onto the district tournament defeating Mason Daugherty (St. Edward) 5-3 in the opening round. After a 4-0 loss to 2x state placer Josh Heil (Brunswick), Guillen posted three straight wins over Aaron Henneman (Clay), Tanner Ruiz, and Evan Collier (North Ridgeville) to advance to his first state tournament. He would lose a 5-2 bout with state finalist Armando Torres (Elyria) in the consolation finals to close out the tournament in 4th place. In the opening round of the state tournament, Moises dropped a 14-8 tussle with 2x state placer Jon Furnas (Liberty). After beating Noah Schaub (Green) in the consolation rounds, he emerged from the rematch with Armando Torres with a default victory. Guillen cut the margin in half with Heil but fell 4-2, dropping him into the 7th place match. Moises closed out strong with a 5-1 victory over Cameron Lathem (Teays Valley) to finish his first state tournament with a win. Guillen could make the drop to 120 or wrestle at 126 where he participated at Super 32. Either way, I’m sure that he won’t be intimidated by the competition, but his presence will certainly significantly shape the landscape at either weight.
Ethan Rivera was good from Jump Street last year during his freshman campaign, finishing 3rd at Independence where he beat state qualifier Corbin Post (Madison) 8-7 and majored D-3 state placer Louis DeMarco (Hawken) 9-0. Next, Rivera placed 6th at the MIT, splitting two matches with Michigan state champion Aaron Kilburn (Richmond). He won the Dies tournament over another freshman standout, Eli Yoho, besting the Woodridge wrestler 2-1 for the crown. Later in the year, Rivera finished 3rd at the NOC tournament where he beat district placer Austin Victor (Mentor) and state alternate Andrew Herron (North Royalton). At the sectional tournament, he finished 4th with losses to state placer Garrett Lambert (Strongsville) and state alternate Brandon Randolph (Wadsworth). At Cleveland State, Ethan was stuck by state placer L.J. Bentley (St. Edward) in the opening round before rebounding with a pair of wins. Rivera’s season ended on a narrow 3-2 loss to Brandon Randolph, establishing a sturdy platform of success off of which to build in 2015.
It’s difficult to get a good read on Ray Porter given the fact that he was limited in his starts for Strongsville last year. He got the opportunity to fill in for state placer Garrett Lambert at different points during the year, posting impressive results in his few opportunities. Porter defeated state placer Harry Feuer (Mayfield) 9-4 in their dual meet and then went on to finish 2nd at the NOC tournament where he beat district placer Austin Victor (Mentor) 6-4 in the semifinals. He should get a full opportunity to start this year with Lambert’s move to Brunswick, and we could potentially see both wrestlers making it to state out of this weight in 2015.
Trayvion Scott was a match from Columbus last year as a sophomore, and he has shown steady improvement during his two years of varsity duty. He was the runner-up at Columbian over the Christmas break, beating state placer Blaine Hunter (Elida) 4-3 in the semis before a 1-0 loss to state qualifier Thurston Dyer (Upper Sandusky) in the finals. Scott went on to finish 7th at Clay and 1st at the TRAC tournament. After a 3rd at sectionals, Scott won a 13-1 opening round match at Cleveland State over Evan True (Clay). He dropped his quarterfinal bout with L.J. Bentley, but rebounded with wins over Nick Meyer (Avon Lake), who had beaten him at Clay, and Brandon Bartlome (Lorain). Scott would suffer setbacks at the hands of state placer Mario Guillen and state alternate Brandon Randolph in his final two bouts, but has shown just how close he is to the state level.
I believe that Nick Mayer will be wrestling at Elyria for his senior season after being on the Avon Lake team previously. Mayer finished 3rd at Avon Lake early last December, racking up some solid wins along the way. He earned a 16-1 tech over the quality freshman Kevin Kelly (N. Olmsted) during the pool rounds of the tournament, and he bested another Kelly in the consolation finals, beating state qualifier Aaron Kelly (Rocky River) 7-2. Mayer’s lone loss at Avon Lake was to state placer Devione Edwards in the semis. Mayer finished 2nd at Berea, losing to Aaron Kelly in a rematch of the Avon Lake consolation finals. Nick finished a respectable 5th at a tough Clay tournament, picking up a 7-6 overtime win over district placer Trayvion Scott in the quarterfinals and pinning state alternate Tanner Bey (Versailles) in the 5th place final. Later in the season, Meyer finished 2nd at the Lorain Sectional, defeating a solid Brandon Bartlome (Lorain) 3-0 in the semis and giving state placer L.J. Bentley a quality battle before falling 6-2 in the finals. Mayer lost his first bout at Cleveland State 7-0 to state placer Garrett Lambert, pinned his second foe, and bowed out of the tournament after getting stuck in 23 seconds be Trayvion Scott. Though that final loss was likely discouraging, Mayer should be encouraged by the fact that he beat Scott earlier in the year, and may get another shot at him in 2015.

1. Garrett Lambert-Brunswick (8th state)
2. Justin Jolliff-Findlay (SQ)
3. Mitch Hannan-Cuyahoga Falls (6th district)
4. Jeremy Rezabek-Strongsville
5. Zack Klima- Lorain
6. Mason Daugherty-St. Edward

Garrett Lambert ads depth to an already crazy deep Brunswick team with his transfer from Strongsville. He kicked off the 2013-2014 season with a title at Solon where he beat state qualifier Mitch Tikkanen (Jackson-Milton), Iowa state champ Josh Portillo (Toledo C.C.), and state qualifier Daniel Clement (Solon) in his final three matches. After a 2-2 Ironman, where he was eliminated in a 4-1 loss to 2x state placer Mario Guillen, Lambert cruised to the title at Kenston with 3 pins and a tech. He would finish 3rd at sectionals after being tripped up by state qualifier Andrew Coghill (Nordonia) in the semis, but surged to the district finals a week later with three wins including a 4-1 defeat of state bronze medalist Mario Guillen in their rematch. Lambert won his opening bout at state 4-2 over Chris Doyle who would go on to finish 7th, but Garrett suffered a pin at the hands of southwest district champ Patrick Kearney (Mason) in the quarterfinals. After a 2-1 win over Gage Branson (Glen Este) to secure placement, Lambert defaulted his last two matches to closeout in 8th place. Lambert has tremendous upside though he seemed to have some injury issues last year. If he can maximize his potential and stay healthy, we could easily see a top five finish at state.
Justin Jolliff highlighted a Findlay squad that was solid top to bottom last year. Despite losing several respectable seniors, they’ll still have a cluster of quality wrestlers in contention for state qualification. Jolliff started off last year with a notable 2nd place finish to 2x state finalist Zack Durbin (Mapleton) at Marion Harding, a match after the Findlay wrestler defeated state qualifier C.J. Ball (Rossford) in overtime. He placed 3rd at Clay, losing 2-0 to state placer Jared Davis (Clay) before majoring a solid Bailey Mezinger (Fremont Ross) in the consolation semis and besting state placer Matt Mangen (Versailles) 10-4 in the consolation finals. Jolliff was 3rd at Wadsworth and 2nd at the TRAC tournament, losing to state placer Giuseppe Penzone at the former tournament and rival Bailey Mezinger at the latter. He would best Mezinger in the sectional semis, albeit by default and then surge to an 8-2 victory over Brock Jones (Perrysburg) for the sectional title. Jolliff started off his district tournament on a high note, pinning in the first round and defeating fellow state qualifier Derrin Gilkerson (Wadsworth) 10-4 in the quarters. He would lose a bit of momentum in the semis, falling 6-0 to Jared Davis, but he was able to pull out the pivotal 7-6 win over Isaac Collier (St. Edward) to push through to the state tournament. His second tilt with Gilkerson was not as fortunate as the first as the Wadsworth Grizzly defeated Jolliff 6-2 for third place at the district. This set up a first round match-up with 2x state champ David Bavery (Perry), to whom Jolliff would suffer a 10-0 setback. He showed respectable perseverance in his Thursday night consolation bout with state placer Greg Brusco, pinning the Hayes wrestler in 1:29. Jolliff finished just a match shy of placing, dropping the second round consolation bout to Alec Benedetti (North Royalton) 7-4. It’s possible that Jolliff could continue his previous growth pattern and end up at 132 for the season, but he will be a qualification favorite and a potential placer at either weight.
Mitch Hannan got a late start last year, making his return for the Dies Tournament where he was an adequate 3-2. He climbed to 3rd place at the NOC tournament, where he defeated the first-rate Jeremy Rezabek 7-6 in the consolation finals. A week later, Hannan was 4th at the Medina Sectional, defeating Connor Gray (Wadsworth) 1-0 before losing the rematch with Rezabek in a 14-12 overtime shootout. He started off with a 6-4 win over sectional champ Aaron Henneman (Clay) at Cleveland State. Hannan lost his quarterfinal bout with state alternate Evan Collier by a 6-4 score, but bounced back with a 9-5 win over Mason Daugherty and a 10-6 victory over Rezabek in the rubber match. Though he ended with losses to Armando Torres and Evan Collier, Hannan demonstrated great poise in claiming his first district medal after missing the start of the season.
Jeremy Rezabek looked outstanding last year in his own right, finishing a match shy of placement at Cleveland State. He was 3rd at Solon, besting state alternate Isaac Hendershot (South) 7-4 along the way. Rezabek hammered his way to the title at Kenston, pinning state qualifier Kenny Hoberney (North) in the semis and David Brunner (North Olmsted) in the finals. He won 4 straight consolation bouts at Top Gun after losing in the opening round to state finalist Jake Newhouse (Perry), ultimately finishing 7th after a loss to California state qualifier Julian Gaytan (Clovis). Rezabek finished 4th at the NOC and 3rd sectionals where he hung tough with state placer Josh Heil in an 8-7 defeat before besting Hannan for 3rd. Rezabek went 2-2 at Cleveland State, posting a 6-3 win over Zack Klima in the consolation rounds before being eliminated by Hannan.
Early last year, Zack Klima started off with a 6th place finish at Avon Lake which was his home tournament. Klima was the runner-up at Lorain, defeating D-2 state placer Markus Cruz (Clearview) 9-4 in the semis and falling to Antwon Pugh in the finals. He would claim the title at Berea while defeating state qualifier Kyle Jenkins (Stow) and Markus Cruz a second time. After a rough 2-2 at Clay, Klima was 2nd at the Lorain Sectional where he defeated Christian Lough (Steele) 4-3 in OT after losing to the same wrestler 13-2 at Clay. Klima won his opening district bout before falling to state finalist Austin Assad and Jeremy Rezabek in his next two matches.
Mason Daugherty (St. Edward) and Connor Gray (Wadsworth) should be followed closely at this weight. Daugherty won a district bout last year, defeated Gray in their dual meet, and strung together several solid wins while placing 6th at Medina. At the MIT, Daugherty beat state alternate Nick Bergman (Oak Harbor) 10-2, state qualifier Tony Paulucci (Rootstown) 6-0 and Michigan state qualifier Parker O’Brien (Detroit C.C.).
I’m not sure if Khyron Vidales will wrestle at 113, 120, or 126, but he could certainly help maximize the Perrysburg line-up and potentially earn his first state trip for the Yellow Jackets if he finds the right weight. Though he was 1-2 at Cleveland State, Vidales pinned Dalton Eagle in the sectional finals, stuck district placer Chris Leffler in their conference tournament final, and posted wins over Caleb Yates and Nick Henneman over the course of last year. With the report that teammate Mario Guillen will wrestle at 113 again, and the possibility that Mario’s brother Moises could go 120, Vidales is faced with the task of potentially making the jump from 106 to 126. I’m sure Perrysburg will work it out and have everyone at the weights that the want by the time sectionals rolls around, and if Vidales can make it to state and score, it will go a long way towards helping the overall team effort for the Yellow Jackets.
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Old 11-21-14, 12:24 PM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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1. Josh Heil-Brunswick (6th, 3rd state)
2. Nico O’Dor-Elyria
3. Darrin Gilkerson-Wadsworth (SQ)
4. David Erdelac-Strongsville
5. Isaac Collier-St. Edward (5th district)
6. Xavier Edwards-Lorain (6th district)

Josh Heil has carved out his own nice little niche in the wrestling world, placing at state in both of his first two years in high school while following in the footsteps of his 4x state champion brother. This season, he’ll be a state title contender for an excellent Brunswick squad that is looking to finish with a team trophy at both Cleveland State and Columbus. Heil rolled to a title at Independence at the start of last season, majoring state alternate Andre Herron (North Royalton) 16-3 for the title. He marched to the finals at Medina, defeating state qualifiers Mike Stewart (Sp. Highland) and Damian Short (Archbold) along the way. Josh ran into a hammer in the finals in freestyle All-American Jake Newhouse who defeated Heil 11-4 as they renewed a family rivalry that their brothers engaged in three years before. Heil looked even better at Firestone, finishing 2nd at the Dies to now national champion Austin Assad (Brecksville) 3-1 in the finals. He earned an impressive win in the semis over state finalist Armando Torres (Elyria), defeating the senior 6-4 in overtime. Heil posted two solid wins over Mitchell Hannan (Cuyahoga Falls) and Jeremy Rezabek (Strongsville) at the NOC tournament, but was defeated by Armando Torres 1-0 in the rematch. He would finish 2nd to Assad at the Medina sectional, posting another win over Rezabek in the semis. For a fifth consecutive tournament, Heil would finish 2nd, earning the silver medal to Assad at the Cleveland State District. He earned a 4-0 shutout of freshman state placer Moises Guillen (Perrysburg) in the quarters, and then bested Armando Torres 3-1 in the semis to claim the season series between the two. Wrestling at possibly the most difficult weight in any of the three divisions, Heil squared off against state placer Santino DiSabato (Westerville N.) in the first round. Heil looked sound earning the 5-0 victory and moving on to the quarterfinals. This round would be far less desirable for Heil as he suffered a severe 17-1 setback to eventual state champ Alex Mackall (Walsh). In the consolation rounds, Heil would earn his second state medal with an 8-1 win over Slade Tyson (Tri-Valley) and then moved on to the consolation semis with a 4-2 win over Moises Guillen in a rematch of the district quarterfinal bout. Heil would closeout with a loss to 2x state placer Jon Furnas (Liberty) and another to freshman powerhouse Corey Shie (LaSalle) ending in 6th place. A great finish for many, 6th place was likely a disappointment for the Brunswick wrestler, and it will surely be a motivating factor as Josh Heil seeks his first state title to extend the family count to five.
Nico O’Dor made a jump in both performance and weight last year but was unable to participate in the postseason process at the end of last season. He anchors a strong Elyria middle weight contingent that could see multiple wrestlers advance to the state tournament. O’Dor wrestled very well in the consolation rounds at Brecksville last year, losing an opening bout to state qualifier Noah Mattin (Delta) before claiming 5 of 6 consolation bouts to finish 7th. Three of the wins were over wrestlers who would end the season as state placers. The first was a 3-2 victory over Justin DeMicco at his home tournament, the second was a 2-0 shutout of 3x state placer Chandler Minnard (Bloom Carroll), and the third was a 5-0 closeout victory over freshman state placer Andrew Sams (LaSalle) in the 7th place final. In the midst of those wins was a second defeat at the hands of Noah Mattin. O’Dor post a few other notable dual meet wins over Mark Molder (Mentor) and Peter Vuyk (Loveland) to further his resume, before ending his season early. This year, O’Dor has the tools to make it to state, we’ll just have to wait and see if he can make a run at the district title.
Darrin Gilkerson is at the heart of a Wadsworth line-up that will be deep from top to bottom. The sophomore was a match away from placement last year in his first state tournament, and will have to play a crucial role if the Grizzlies hope to maintain serve in the state title hunt. Early last season, Gilkerson won the Olentangy Liberty Tournament while beating home town state qualifier Trey Grenier (Liberty) in the semis. The next week he finished 2nd to state qualifier Justyn Bostic (Mass. Jackson) at North Canton after posting a 2-1 win over district placer Michael Nagy (Lake) in the semis. Gilkerson once again finished 2nd at Medina, this time to 2x state champ David Bavery (Perry). He continued the trend of finishing a tournament with only one loss at Wadsworth, where he finished 5th, losing a single 7-4 pool match to Trey Grenier in the rematch of their early season bout. Gilkerson won the Suburban League title with ease, and finished 3rd at the Medina Sectional two weeks later. His first sectional match was a 4-2 win over a very good David Erdelac (Strongsville), but the next round he would be pinned by state placer Justin DeMicco (Brecksville). Gilkerson battled back with two impressive wins over top-flight freshman. First he defeated Alex Defraine (Medina) 14-6 to secure a spot in the district tournament, and then he bested middle school state champ Antwon Pugh (Copley) 2-0. Gilkerson would advance to the quarterfinals at Cleveland State, but his progress was halted by Justin Jolliff (Findlay) in a 10-4 loss. The Wadsworth wrestler climbed back through the consolation bracket with a tech, a 2-1 win over district placer Brett Thomas (Brunswick), an 11-9 overtime win over Xavier Edwards to punch his ticket to state, and a 6-2 victory over Justin Jolliff to avenge the earlier loss and lock up 3rd place. Gilkerson battled valiantly at state, losing an 8-4 match with bronze medalist Alec Cotton (Lake) in the first round but battling back to a 17-4 win over Tyler Hogue (Pickerington C.) in the consolation rounds. He hung tough with district champ Justin DeMicco, who had pinned Gilkerson at sectionals, but was ultimately defeated 2-1 in the placement match coming up a bout shy of placement.
David Erdelac was excellent last year as a junior, but faltered a bit late in the year at a difficult sectional tournament and found himself on the outside looking in at Cleveland State. He was 2nd at Solon to kick off last season, falling only 3-2 to state placer Jared Davis in the finals. Erdelac was a quick 1-2 at Ironman, but the one win was a convincing 13-6 victory over state alternate Isaac Collier (St. Edward) in their opening bout. Over the holidays, he powered to 5 straight wins to claim the title at Kenston. The first was a 7-6 win over state qualifier Walker Chieffe (University) and the final one was a 6-3 defeat of freshman district placer Matt Steer (West Branch). His Top Gun tournament was even more impressive despite the fact that he finished 3rd. Erdelac won his opening match over freshman state placer Adam Sams 4-3, and closed out with wins over state placers Kollin Clark (Claymont) and Alec Cotton (Lake). After falling 12-3 to state qualifier Tyler Workman (Parma) in their state duals match, Erdelac won their rematch 5-2 in the quarters of the NOC tournament, finishing 2nd to district placer Brett Thomas (Brunswick). The frustrating sectional tournament started with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of state qualifier Darrin Gilkerson and was further muddled by middle school state champ Antwon Pugh (Copley), who defeated Erdelac 6-4 in the consolation semis. David has already demonstrated that he is a state caliber wrestler, with his multiple victories over state qualifiers and placers. Now he has to be at his best for the postseason process in 2015, in order to exit this most difficult of district climates.
Isaac Collier seems to constantly climb to new plateaus. He made significant improvements from his freshman to his sophomore year, took his wrestling to a new level for the district tournament at the end of last year, and only seems to be getting better over the summer. After a 2-2 Ironman to start last season, Collier finished a respectable 7th at Medina, defeating hometown product Alex Defraine twice throughout the course of the tournament. He also beat Michigan state qualifier Evan Toth (Detroit C.C.) 5-1 in the wrestle-backs. Collier posted a pair of nice wins in dual meets against Toledo C.C. and Clay, defeating state qualifier Rosendo Beltran 6-2 in the former dual and besting state placer Jared Davis 2-1 in the latter. Collier was 3rd at sectionals, dropping a 3-2 bout to solid but unheralded freshman Brendan Price (Elyria). He had an ominous start to his district tournament, getting pinned by district placer Brett Thomas in the first round. Undaunted, Collier rebounded with a tech, a 6-5 win over a good Brock Jones (Perrysburg), and a 7-4 win in the rematch with Branden Price. Collier put forth a commendable effort against Justin Jolliff in the consolation semis, but it was not to be as the Findlay wrestler secured a 7-6 victory to lock up a spot in the state tournament. Collier earned state alternate status in impressive fashion, pinning Xavier Edwards who had won the sectional tournament that Collier finished 3rd at the week before. I inevitably underrate at least a few St. Edward wrestlers each year going into the season, due to the fact that the coaching staff has helps them progress so much throughout the course of the year making it difficult to see just how good they will be at tournament time. I’m excited to see just how improved this Ed’s squad can be with all of the young talent that they have, and Collier typifies the potential of the team and that sense of the unknown as to how good they can truly be.
Xavier Edwards entered last year with a bang, winning the Avon Lake tournament and defeating state qualifier Dominic Meehan (Brooklyn) en route. He finished 3-2 at North Canton missing out on placement, but this result is a bit deceptive as his only losses were to state 3rd place finisher Alec Cotton and West Virginia state champ Lucas Simpkins (Ripley) by a respectable 5-1 score. After missing the middle of the season, Edwards returned and won the sectional title in his home gym, defeating the freshman Brendan Price 5-4 for the gold. He started off his district tournament with a pair of solid wins in the densely populated 126 weight, defeating middle school state champ Antwon Pugh 6-4 and pinning Brock Jones. Edwards had a rough go of it in the semifinals, losing 20-4 to state placer Justin DeMicco. He would follow up with a heartbreaking 11-9 OT loss to Darrin Gilkerson in their advancement match, and closed out with the loss to Collier. Fortunately, Edwards has another shot at qualification this year. These lower and middle weights will be absolutely stacked at Cleveland State, but the Lorain wrestlers is certainly good enough to emerge from the district scrum with a birth in the state tournament.
Brendan Price certainly deserves a mention here. As I’ve noted before, many wrestlers make their greatest improvement between their freshman and sophomore years, and if that’s the case, Price could be punching a ticket to state in 2015. The Elyria wrestler split two matches with state alternate Collier last season, only lost by one point to district placer Xavier Edwards in the sectional final, and wrestled state qualifier Gilkerson tough in the first round at Cleveland State losing a 4-1 bout.
Brock Jones is another of the host of solid wrestlers in the Perrysburg line-up. The biggest question surrounding Jones will be in regards to which weight he wrestles. He could end up residing at 132 or 138 after wrestling at 126 last season. Brock defeated state bronze medalist Devon Dunbar (Northwood) and state qualifier Luke Leonard (Fostoria) on his way to finishing 4th at Perrysburg.

1. Richie Screptock-Clay (1st, 4th, 7th state)
2. Nick Kiussis-Brunswick (2nd state)
3. Hunter Ladnier-St. Edward (5th district)
4. Joey Bernosky-Avon Lake (SQ)
5. Antwon Pugh-Copley
6. Cody Surratt/Joey Baughman-Wadsworth

It was a long and winding road of a season for Richie Screptock with many highs and lows, but when all was said and done, he was standing on the top of the podium in Columbus with the gold medal around his neck. Screptock started off the year with a 4th place at Solon which is always a competitive tournament, but the result was a little surprising given the fact that Richie had finished 4th in the state at the end of the previous year. He defeated state qualifier Chris Wymer (Solon) 3-1 in the quarters, but lost a 4-3 bout with eventual D-2 state champ Nate Hagan (Toledo C.C.) in the semis. Hagan would prove to be a bane throughout the course of the year for Screptock. After a consolation win, Screptock unexpectedly lost a 1-0 rematch with Chris Wymer in the consolation finals. A week later, Screptock was wrestling at the Ironman where he was once again defeated by Nate Hagan 5-4 in a first round bout. Screptock soldiered back with a string of five straight consolation wins that included a 6-4 win over Juilian Flores (San Marino) who was 5th at the California state tournament, a 4-1 win over Zack Edwards (Broken Arrow) who finished 3rd at the Oklahoma state tournament, and another 4-1 win over John Erneste (Park Hill) who was a Missouri state finalist. Just to demonstrate the dense competition at the Ironman, those matches were consecutive, and they were followed by matches with Brent Moore (Graham) and Sammy Gross (Beachwood). State finalist Moore defeated Screptock 5-0, but he persevered with a 7-5 win over 2x state champion Sammy Gross to finish 7th at the ludicrous Ironman. There was no rest for the weary, as Screptock’s next tournament was Brecksville where he finished 6th and posted wins over state qualifier Bobby Bowen (Manchester), state placer Alec Benedetti (North Royalton), and state placer Dustin Marteney (Delta). His three losses were by a combined 3 points as he fell 1-0 to state qualifier Austin Hiles (Brecksville), 3-2 to 3x state placer Aaran Gessic (Perry) and 3-2 to Nate Hagan (once again). Screptock looked at home while winning the title at Clay where he again defeated state placer Dustin Marteney in the semis and reversed the earlier loss to Aaran Gessic with a solid 7-1 victory in the finals. He won the Grizzly Invitational, before finishing 2nd at the TRAC Tournament to none other than Nate Hagan. He rolled to a sectional title with three pins and advanced to the district semis before dropping a second match to Austin Hiles in overtime, sending him into a do-or die match with Hunter Ladnier (St. Edward). Screptock fought through with a 3-2 victory and closed out the tournament with an 8-2 defeat of Joey Bernosky to finish 3rd. Richie saved his best for last, mastering the extremely competitive 132 weight class with great aplomb. After an opening round pin, Screptock defeated 2x state placer Jacoby Ward (Moeller) 4-2 in the quarterfinals, a very impressive victory given the Ward family’s history of peaking for the state tournament. Next, Screptock met 2x state placer Nolan Whitely (Walsh), maybe the most difficult wrestlers to score on in the bracket. Richie emerged with an impressive 7-2 win over the stalwart senior, placing Screptock one win away from his state title goal. For the championship, Screptock would square off against the freshman sensation Nick Kiussis who had won the Cleveland State District Tournament that Screptock finished 3rd at. Not even a Blue Devil could separate Richie from his goal as he defeated the Brunswick wrestler 4-3 to claim the crown. A few weeks ago, Screptock placed 8th at an impressively loaded Super 32 Tournament. He was able to snap the string of four straight losses to Nate Hagan with a 3-2 win over the Toledo C.C. wrestler in the early rounds. Richie also snared a 3-2 win over Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield) who placed 4th at the New York state tournament and a 9-7 victory over Michigan state champ Austin Thompson (Marysville) who is ranked 20th in the nation by Flo Wrestling. His only losses at the tournament were to the wrestlers ranked 9th, 7th, and 2nd in the nation. This year won’t be any easier for Screptock, with the schedule that Clay wrestles and the amount of talent at the D-1 middle weights, repeating will be no small task. However, none of that stopped the Clay Eagle from earning the gold medal last year, and I’m sure he won’t be deterred by the obstacles he will face in 2015.
Screptock’s greatest threat to a repeat title could be at his own district in the wrestler that he squared off against in the state finals, Nick Kiussis. As good as Kiussis looked early last year, I still never would have thought that he would end his season in the state championship match, but that’s why they wrestle the matches. He flew under the radar a bit at the early stages of 2014, despite the fact that he was coming off a middle school state title over one of the more heralded freshmen in the state in Corey Shie (LaSalle). Kiussis had his first major action at Independence, where he finished 3rd and split two matches with state placer Jarrad Lasko (Madison). He marched on to a 4th place finish at Medina where he defeated state qualifier Nick Durieux (Westerville N.) handily, bested district placer Jared Ferguson (Pickerington N.) 11-5, and defeated a respectable Chris Motter (Hudson) 8-6. Kiussis won the NOC in a 12-10 shootout with the dangerous Chayse Csongedi (Parma), defeating Motter for a second time in the semis. He pinned district placer Nick Collica (Nordonia) in the sectional semis, before falling 9-5 to Austin Hiles in the championship bout. At Cleveland State, Kiussis reversed an earlier loss at the MIT to Hunter Ladnier with a 3-2 quarterfinal win. Next, he handled Collica a second time by a 10-0 score, setting up a rematch with Austin Hiles for the district title. This time the Brunswick freshman emerged with a 2-1 win and his first district championship. Kiussis battled valiantly at state, wrestling a different state placer in every match. First, he bested Andrew Lieb (Watkins Mem.) by a convincing 8-1 score. Second on the docket was a match with Jason Spencer (Perry), who is a master of winning close bouts. No one told Kiussis that, as he defeated the more experienced Perry wrestler by a 1-0 score. Next was 3x state placer Bobby Smith (Davidson), a senior looking to make it back to the state finals for a second straight season. Kiussis again came away with the 1-0 victory. Though Richie Screptock defeated Kiussis for the title, Nick still had one of the more impressive freshman campaigns in the state, and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t end his high school career with at least one state title. Will the first come this year?
Joey Bernosky’s accomplishments and development may get a bit overshadowed by the presence of two returning state finalists, but he strung together a fine sophomore season that culminated in a trip to the Schott. He started off the year with a tournament title at Avon lake, pinning state alternate Nick Foster (Holy Name) for the crown. Next, Bernosky finished 2nd at Lorain, pinning Foster again in the semis, before losing a tight 1-0 bout with state qualifier Joey Baitt (Jefferson Area) for the title. Another title at Berea was followed by a 4th place finish at Clay where Bernosky teched state qualifier Rhett Petersen (Oak harbor) and defeated 2x state placer Dustin Marteney (Delta) 5-1, but was defeated twice by 3x state placer Wade Hodges (Wauseon). Bernosky finished 2nd to Hunter Ladnier at the Lorain sectional before posting 4 wins at Cleveland State to punch his first ticket to state. He won the decisive match 3-0 over Nick Collica (Nordonia) before falling to state champ Screptock in the consolation finals. Bernosky wrestled well at state but fell to 0-2 at the dense 132 weight, losing a 3-1 match with returning state finalist Bobby Smith and a 5-2 bout with former Kentucky state placer Jon Shirkey (LaSalle).
Hunter Ladnier made a splash in his first full year of varsity duty for St. Edward. At Ironman, he defeated 2x state placer Jacoby Ward (Moeller) and lost a 6-5 match with 2x state champ Sammy Gross (Beachwood). A few weeks later, Ladnier finished a strong 3rd place at Medina, losing to state qualifier Justyn Bostic (Mass. Jackson) prior to beating state finalist Nick Kiussis (Brunswick) 7-4 in the consolation finals. In an 8 day span, Ladnier earned his two greatest wins of the year beating D-2 state champion Nate Hagan (Toledo C.C.) 6-2 and then defeating state finalist Brent Moore (Graham) 12-9. The latter win was especially dramatic as Moore surged to a 7-0 lead, only to have Ladnier explode back into the match and nearly pin Moore, a wrestler who enters the season ranked 9th in the nation by Flo Wrestling. During the state duals, Ladnier was on the wrong end of a 16-3 defeat of state champion Richie Screptock, but he also majored state qualifier Darrin Gilkerson (Wadsworth) 18-8 and shut out state placer Jason Spencer (Perry) 4-0. Ladnier was the champion at the Lorain Sectional, defeating Joey Bernosky (Avon lake) 7-4 in the finals. A week later, Hunter had a hellacious draw at the district tournament, losing two 3-2 matches and finishing 5th as the state alternate while Joey Bernosky, who he defeated for the sectional title, qualified for the state tournament after taking an easier route. It needs to be noted that the two wrestlers that Ladnier lost two were Richie Screptock and Nick Kiussis who finished 1st and 2nd in the state. Ladnier got the opportunity to wrestle in the state tournament due to the fact that Austin Hiles was unable to participate. However, Ladnier seemed a bit out of sorts and did not wrestle his best tournament finishing 0-2. I fully expect that Ladnier will significantly outperform his finish from last year.
Antwon Pugh spent most of last year down at 120 but made the jump to 126 for the postseason. I’m not sure if this was a growth move or a strategic move. Pugh won the Lorain tournament over a skilled Zack Klima 7-4 last December and ended up knocking off state qualifier Noah Schaub (Green) 5-2 a few weeks later in their dual. Pugh staked his claim as a legitimate state caliber wrestler at the Dies Tournament, finishing 3rd with his only loss coming to now national champ Austin Assad (Brecksville). Wrestling back through the consolation bracket, Pugh posted a huge 2-0 win over returning state finalist Armando Torres and followed up with an 8-3 win over senior state placer Korey Frost (Canfield) in his final two bouts. Pugh won the Suburban League title while defeating both Noah Schaub and Connor Gray for the second time on the year. Despite a 4th place finish at the Medina Sectional, Pugh won a huge 6-4 bout over an exemplary David Erdelac in the consolation semis. His two losses were a 4-3 bout with district placer Brett Thomas (Brunswick) and a 2-0 defeat at the hands of state qualifier Darrin Gilkerson. Pugh would finish 1-2 at Cleveland State losing 6-4 to district placer Xavier Edwards (Lorain) and 9-7 in the rematch with Brett Thomas. He seemed a little off his game at 126 after making the jump, but Pugh was only a freshman wrestling at arguably the best district in the state. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t drastically exceed that result this season.
Wadsworth should have an excellent wrestler at 138, whether it’s middle school state finalist Joey Baughman, stellar sophomore Cody Surratt, or senior Corey Riggenbaugh. Riggenbaugh split two matches with state alternate Isaac Collier and took Justin Jolliff to the limit in a 1-0 defeat last season. Surratt pulled out an 11-6 win over state placer Colin Dees (Perry) in their dual meet and later pinned another state placer, Santino DiSabato (Westerville N.), in another dual. Cody also knocked off Aaron Henneman (Clay) 6-4 and split two matches with a solid Marko Vilimonovic (M. Highland).
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Old 11-21-14, 12:25 PM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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Posts: 1,196
McClearn7 is on a distinguished road
1. Christian Camacho-Brunswick (SQ)
2. Mikah Price-Elyria (6th district)
3. Jack Conway-St. Edward
4. Xavier Wasco-North Royalton
5. Nick Collica-Nordonia (6th district)
6. Josh Herhold-Perrysburg

Christian Camacho took a big step last year qualifying for state as only a junior. He’s in the midst of a great Brunswick team that’ll contend for a trophy at any tournament that they enter this year. Camacho finished 3rd at Independence early in the year posting a 5-2 win over state placer Ryan Montgomery (Madison). He hit a bit of a mid season lull, going 1-2 at Medina and 3-2 at Firestone, losing to Micah Price 6-1 and Adam Salti 9-1 at the latter tournament. Camacho started to round into form finishing 2nd at the NOC tournament (again to Micah Price) and 2nd at the Medina Sectional to Sonny Lucas. Christian fully emerged from the mid season languor with a 3rd place finish at the district tournament earning his first state championship appearance. Not only did Camacho place ahead of sectional champ and state placer Sonny Lucas (Brecksville), but he beat both Micah Price and Adam Salti who had beaten him convincingly in prior matches. Camacho beat Austin Kozma (Cloverleaf) 4-2 in the first round and followed up the win with a 3-2 win over state placer Adam Salti. He kept it close with state bronze medalist Gavin Nelson in a 3-2 semifinal defeat and looked even better with a 5-3 overtime win over Mikah Price to qualify for state. Camacho would close out at Cleveland State with a second win over Salti, beating him 11-9 to finish 3rd. The state tournament would not be as kind, and Camacho went 0-2 with his first consolation bout being against 2x state placer Tim Rooney (St. Charles). You gotta love the gamers who can peak at the prime moment, and Camacho certainly did that at Cleveland State last year. We’ll see if he can pull of the same magic but a week later in Columbus during his senior campaign.
I felt for Micah Price last year. He was exceptionally close to state qualification as a sophomore, losing a close match in the consolation semis to a wrestler that he had beaten before. I was in the same boat my sophomore year, and I can still remember the pain in my stomach. I was fortunate enough to qualify for state later in my career, and I’m really pulling for Micah to do the same. With the talent he has and the coaching staff at Elyria, it’ll only be a matter of time. Price had an up and down tournament at Brecksville where he finished 3-2 with wins over rising freshman Cal Miller (St. Ignatius) and a 14-1 blowout of district placer Nick Collica. His losses were a pin by state qualifier Lane Hinkle (Mount Vernon) and a 5-1 setback to Gavin Nelson who finished 3rd at state. His 4th place finish at the Dies contained the win over Christian Camacho and a 13-4 drubbing of state qualifier C.J. Frost (Canfield), as well as a loss by pin at the hands of Adam Salti. Price avenged the earlier loss to Lane Hinkle with a pin over the Mount Vernon wrestler in their dual meet. Price rolled to the NOC title, besting Camacho 9-2 for the title. Two weeks later, he finished 3rd at the Lorain sectional, beating Jack Conway (St. Edward) twice and losing 3-1 to Adam Salti. After a quarterfinal loss to Sonny Lucas at Cleveland State, Price knocked off Anthony Kozma 5-1 and Jordan Schleigh (Wadsworth) 7-0 to reach that fateful match with Camacho. Even a slight improvement by Price this season could well land him on the podium in Columbus, as the junior will be a valuable centerpiece for a very good, very young Elyria team.
Nick Collica was also a match away from state last year, and like Price, he’s on a good team with a quality coaching staff. Collica was consistent at major tournaments last year, going 2-2 at Solon, Brecksville, and Top Gun over the course of the season. His most notable win at those tourneys was likely the 3-2 defeat of state alternate Connor Thomas (Olentangy Liberty) at Brecksville, though it should be noted that Thomas was wrestling well above his normal weight. Collica won the Suburban League tournament in tidy fashion with two pins and an 11-2 major over Devon Gilkerson (Wadsworth) in the finals. After a third place finish at sectionals, Collica was a district semifinalist, besting freshman Josh Herhold (Perrysburg) 4-3 in the quarterfinals. He suffered three straight losses to finish 6th at Cleveland State, setting up a springboard off of which he will seek new heights in 2015.
Joshua Herhold finished a match from district placement last year, which is a quality feat, especially for a freshman. Josh endured some crazy good competition throughout the course of last year, and you could see the steady improvement in his results. Early in the season, he wrestled 3x state placer Wade Hodges (Wauseon), Michigan state champ Lincoln Olson (Davison), state qualifier Brandon Leynaud (Lexington), and 2x state placer Colton Ullman (Loudonville) at the Archbold duals. Those matches were right out of the gate, and though he didn’t beat those foes, he did earn valuable experience. He lost to Leynaud at Brecksville, but closed the gap from a first period pin earlier in the year, to a 7-1 defeat at the latter tournament. He went 1-2 at Perrysburg, but continued to show improvement, losing only 6-4 to state placer Trent Soto (Otsego) and taking district placer Maverick Meeks (New Philadelphia) to the danger zone before falling 5-4. Herhold would earn placement at Clay, finishing 8th at the tournament while continuing to face high quality competition. He would be sent into the consolation rounds after a second round setback to state champ Richie Screptock, but battled back with three straight consolation wins, including an 11-8 triumph over state qualifier Matteo Lybarger (Mt. Vernon). Josh marched on to win the NLL conference tournament with a 12-4 major over Reese Isenberg (A. Wayne) and claimed a sectional title two weeks later with a first period pin of Tyler Grine (F. Ross). After majoring Clarence Norris (Lakewood) in the opening round of the district tournament, Herhold lost a tight 4-3 bout with Nick Collica (Nordonia) in the quarterfinals. He picked up an 11-4 consolation win over Brandon Grimes (Copley) before being defeated by Hunter Ladnier 10-2 in the consolation quarters. It was a fine first season for a young wrestler with a lot of potential. I respect Perrysburg’s program enough to think that Herhold will continue to climb the rankings in 2015, and could well end his sophomore season in Columbus.
I like Jack Conway’s chances of making the state tournament as he continues to improve in the excellent St. Edward wrestling room. I also like the name Jack Conway which sounds like a Hemingway protagonist. Conway earned an 8-4 victory over Trent Soto (Otsego) early in the year at Oak Harbor, before that wrestler went on to finish 6th at the D-3 state tournament. Later, he would claim 2nd at Marion Harding while defeating state alternate Noah Messerall (Thomas Worthington) 9-8 in the semis. He lost a 7-2 bout to 2x state placer Tim Rooney (St. Charles) in the finals, and Jack later pulled off a pin over state qualifier Nick Durieux (Westerville N.) in their dual meet. Conway finished 4th at sectionals, dropping two bouts to Micah Price (Elyria) and eliminating a solid Bryce Williams (Steele) in their consolation semifinal bout. He closed out his district tournament at 1-2, but kept his bout with Gavin Nelson (Clay) to a 6-3 match a week before Nelson finished 3rd at state. I realize that keeping matches with top competition close doesn’t necessarily translate into being able to beat good wrestler, but Conway wrestled enough quality competition to warrant lofty future expectations.
Xavier Wasco is another very good wrestler around this weight although he could end up much higher after making the jump from 132 to 152 over the course of the previous year. He has the impressive quality of being able to keep matches close with even state medal caliber opponents. If he can keep improving and use that to his advantage, he could walk away with his own state medal this season. Wasco got a bit of a late start last year, but finished 5th at Perrysburg after going 2-2 at the brutal Brecksville Tournament. During the state duals, Wasco lost a close 1-0 tussle with state placer Robbie Bosley (Wadsworth). Wasco was 3rd at NOC suffering his only lopsided loss of the year to state finalist Ben Darmstadt, but defeating a good Raymond Floyd twice while finishing ahead of state qualifier Noah Edwards. He dropped his opening round match at sectionals but battled all the way back to take 3rd while defeating Shamiko Samidan (Garfield Hts.), the wrestler he lost to in the first round. Wasco lost by the closest of margins to state placer Andrew McNally (Lake) in the opening round of the Mentor District Tournament, falling by a 1-0 score. He would rally with consecutive close wins over solid opponents in Alex Goodman (Solon) and Anthony Mancini (Boardman) but eventually bowed out after the previously mentioned loss to Arslanian. I’ve been informed that Wasco will likely reside around this weight, and North Royalton looks to be switching districts next year which would place Wasco here.

1 Zach Defraine-Medina (SQ)
2. Jordan Weissinger-Fremont Ross
3. D.J. Williamson-St. Edward (5th district)
4. Brice Locklear-Olmsted Falls (5th district)
5. Matt Waltermeyer-Perrysburg (6th district)
6. Jimmy Staschiak-Findlay

Zach Defraine was a good young wrestler with a great deal of potential when he began wrestling for the Medina High School team during his freshman year. He was 5th at the Middle School state tournament during his 8th grade season, but it frequently takes young wrestlers a few seasons to settle into their comfort zone and start to realize their potential. Defraine jumped from 2-2 at sectionals as a freshman to his first state tournament as a sophomore last year, finishing a match shy of the medal stand. Zach started the season with a 4th place finish at Beachwood and runner-up placement at Sparta Highland. Defraine would lose his opening match at the MIT to state placer Tanner Miller (Lancaster) 10-4, but came back with four straight consolation wins, the last coming against state alternate Garrett Poling (Jackson). He would then suffer a 2-0 setback to state qualifier Austin Phillips (Perry) but pick up a nice pin over state alternate Nick Notestine (Pickerington N.) to close out in 7th place. Defraine would finish 3rd at the NOC and sectional tournaments, losing only to state qualifier Austin Tomoletz (Mentor) and state placer Mike Decesare (Nordonia) in the semis of each tournament. Defraine further demonstrated his resolve at the district tournament, suffering a pin at the hands of Matt Waltermeyer in the opening round of Cleveland State, before hammering out four straight consolation wins to qualify for Columbus. The final two wins were an emphatic 12-1 victory over district placer Darrion Overall (Elyria), and an 8-7 grudge match with Waltermeyer the sent the Medina Bee through to state. Defraine fell to Grayson Davis (Brecksville) in the consolation finals and suffered a tech at the hands of returning state finalist Zac Carson (Lake) in the opening round of the state tournament. Undeterred, Defraine defeated Moeller senior Stuart Morton 8-7 in their Thursday night elimination bout to setup a placement match with senior Bo Ransom (Madison). Ransom would emerge victorious, grabbing a 3-1 win and ending the sophomore’s season. Few wrestlers at this weight improved as much as Defraine did over the course of last year. He’ll surely be a state placer sooner rather than later if he continued to climb the ladder of progress that he has scaled over his first two high school seasons.
Jordan Weissinger wrestled 160 at the end of last season, despite spending most of the year at 152. State qualifier Peyton Geary made the drop to 152 for Fremont Ross, and state finalist Trey Grine occupied the 145 weight class leaving Weissinger few options but to wrestle at 160. With Geary and Grine graduated, Weissinger will have free reign of weight-class, and should be one of the favorites for state qualification at his chosen classification. Weissinger finished 2nd at Tiffin Columbian and defeated state placer Kristian Jackson (Alliance) 9-4 at the Oak Harbor duals early last year while down at 152. He finished 4th at Clay , where he split two matches with D-2 state bronze medalist Reyse Wallbrown (Indian Lake) and pinned Andrew Howard (Clay). Weissinger also snuck in a pin over Matt Waltermeyer (Perrysburg) onto his resume, sticking the district placer at their state duals match. After finishing 2nd to 2x state champ Alex Mossing (Toledo C.C.) at the TRAC tournament, Weissinger made the jump to 160 for the tournament process. He was 2nd at the Mansfield sectional, majoring Colin Keil (Anthony Wayne) in the semis. Weissinger was a respectable 2-2 at Cleveland State, losing to 2x state placer Austin Strnad (Brecksville) and 2x district placer Taylor Workman (Elyria) despite being undersized for the weight.
It’s difficult to prognosticate the St. Edward line-up at this point, especially in these middle weights. There’s no doubt that the Eagles will be deep and talented, but the question can they develop their young talent enough this year to win a state title. State alternate D.J. Williamson can be a senior leader for this squad, but he’ll have to make the dense staring line-up in order to leave his mark on the district and state title pictures. Williamson was 3-2 at Medina last year, losing to state placers Jairod James (Bedford) and Robbie Bosley (Wadsworth). D.J. later defeated Bosley 5-3 in a dual meet between the two teams and then hammered Bosley 19-9 in their state duals match. Williamson finished 4th at the Lorain Sectional, and suffered a pin at the hands of Robbie Bosley in the first round of the district tournament. However, he would reel off three straight wins in the consolation rounds including a 6-4 victory over the first-rate freshman Luke Strnad. This set up a rubber match with Robbie Bosley, Which Williamson would lose 7-2 to the state placer and drop into the 5th place final. The junior closed out strong with a 10-7 win over 2013 state qualifier Peyton Geary (Fremont Ross) in the fifth place final.
Despite the other talented wrestlers at this weight, Brice Locklear can’t be overlooked. He was a mere match away from Columbus last year, finishing as the alternate after cobbling together a worthy all around season. Before the start of the New Year, Locklear was wrestling at 152, where he finished 2-2 at Medina and was 2nd at Willoughby South to state qualifier Clayton Davidson (Kirtland). Still at 152, Locklear finished 4th at the Dies tournament where he beat state alternate Luke Sorboro (Rootstown) twice. Soon after, he made the drop to 145, where he won his first sectional title over district placer Darrion Overall by a commanding 10-0 score. Locklear also walloped Ray Barr (St. Edward) 14-5 in the semis of the same tournament, just a few weeks after Barr had pinned him. After a first round victory, Locklear’s run of success was interrupted by state placer Mike Decesare, who beat the sophomore 8-5. Following two consolation wins, Locklear was the victim of a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Grayson Davis in their go-to-state bout, but he was able to muster up a 6-2 overtime win over Matt Waltermeyer in the alternate match.
Matt Waltermeyer was so close to a state birth last year, losing that 8-7 bout to Defraine after pinning him earlier in the tournament. It’ll be up to Waltermeyer to use that loss as motivation and take his wrestling to the state level. Waltermeyer finished 3rd at Perrysburg, losing an 8-4 OT bout to state qualifier Sean Vasquez (Fremont St. Joseph) but pinning a respectable Christian Valentine (Delta) in the consolation semis. He went on to win the NLL tournament and finish 2nd at sectionals to state finalist Trey Grine. After the pin of Defraine, Waltermeyer bested Austin Williams (Steele) 6-3 to make the semis, avenging an earlier loss to that wrestler. Unfortunately for Waltermeyer, he dropped matches to state placer Decesare, Zach Defraine, and Brice Locklear to end the year.
Jimmy Staschiak was solid last year, with a sectional title and a win at the district level. He finished 4th at Marion Harding early in the year where he bested state alternate Noah Messerall (Thomas Worthington) in the consolation semis. Staschiak finished 6th at Clay, defeating James Wingate (Whitmer) in overtime to reach the semis. Next, he would finish 4th at both the Wadsworth and TRAC tournaments before earning that sectional title while posting a 13-8 win over a solid Anthony Kozma (another wrestler to watch at this weight) in the semis. His district losses were razor thin, losing one match in OT and another 1-0 match.
Sam Delashmitt (Berea) and Darrion Overall (Elyria) shouldn’t be overlooked at this weight. Overall was a district placer in 2013 as a sophomore, and Delashmitt pinned Overall in the finals at Berea but had to default out of the district tournament last year. Delashmitt finished 4th at the Medina sectional, where he majored Danny Cromleigh (Strongsville) 11-3, lost by pin to state qualifier Grayson Davis (Brecksville), and fell 10-0 in the consolation finals to Zach Defraine.
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Old 11-21-14, 12:26 PM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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1. Dan Waltermeyer-Perrysburg (SQ)
2. Jake Paul-Westlake
3. Alex Jones-Wadsworth
4. Andy Howard-Clay
5. Collin Keil-Anthony Wayne
6. Travis Leopold-Avon

Dan Waltermeyer may not get the recognition of some of the other stars that Perrysburg has had, but he’s still been an animal for the Yellow Jackets. The senior was a match away from placing in Columbus last year, and will have to step into the senior leadership roll for the talented Perrysburg squad that will be looking to get half (or more) of their wrestlers to state. Waltermeyer finished 3rd at his home tournament, losing a 5-2 match to 4x state placer Tyler Fahrer (Delta) and shutting out state placer Jordan Hendrix (Otsego) 7-0 in the consolation final. He would finish 7th at Clay, pinning a solid Collin Keil (Anthony Wayne) in the first round. Waltermeyer powered to a league title over state alternate Anthony Arroyo (Maumee) with a 5-2 win over the impressive junior. From there, he earned a sectional title with a pin over the good but undersized Jordan Weissinger (Fremont Ross). Waltermeyer advanced to the district semis with a 6-0 shutout of Travis Leopold (Avon) and a pin of Andrew Jewel (St. John’s Jesuit), but was beaten by Wadsworth junior Shane Mast in a 5-3 bout. He drew Taylor Workman (Elyria) in the consolation semis, a wrestler who had been in a go-to-state match the year before. Waltermeyer earned his first trip to state in emphatic fashion, pinning the Elyria senior and punching through to Columbus. He would drop the consolation final to state bronze medalist Nick Stencil 10-5 setting up a first round match-up with district champ Cody Pollitt (Olentangy) at state. The high scoring Pollitt posted a 9-0 victory over the junior Waltermeyer, sending him into an elimination match with David Celinski (Garfield Hts.). The Perrysburg wrestler gutted out a 9-7 overtime victory over Celinski, but subsequently fell to Stencil again in his next match to finish just shy of placement.
Jake Paul actually finished ahead of D.J. Williamson at sectionals, taking 2nd and defeating Colin Riley (North Ridgeville) who bested Williamson in the consolation finals. However, Paul lost an OT bout with Luke Strnad in the opening round of the district tournament, won a consolation bout, and was bested by state qualifier Peyton Geary in the wrestle-backs. He also won the title at Beachwood earlier in the year and finished 5th at Lorain.
Alex Jones had a great freshman year of wrestling, but unfortunately he was squeezed out of the year end line-up with state placer Robbie Bosley at 152, state qualifier Shane Mast at 160, and state placer Tim Knipl at 170. When you’re on a team as deep as Wadsworth’s squad, this type of event can happen from time to time, but I’m sure they’ll find a spot for the sophomore Jones this season. Early last year he finished 4th at Olentangy Liberty and North Canton Hoover, beating Nathan Bills (Springfield Northwestern) and Austin Kinzel (Clear Fork) at the latter tournament. Jones placed 5th at his home tournament and won the Suburban League Tournament over Jacob Bostic (Green) to end his season. I’d be surprised if Alex Jones wasn’t further up the rankings by the end of the year due to the talent he has and the teammates that he trains with on a daily basis.
Like Jones Andrew Howard could very well end the season significantly higher in the rankings than where he starts. He was shuffled up and down the line-up at times last year, wrestling from 152 to 170. He closed out the year at 152, where he won the sectional title but did not participate in the district tournament for whatever reason. Howard finished 6th at his home tourney, losing in the first round but storming back with 4 wins including a pin over the wrestler Tyler Mayer (Avon Lake) that pinned him in the first round. Howard also put up a solid 5-2 win over quality freshman Evan Schenk (Perry) in the wrestle-backs. Howard also finished 8th at Wadsworth and 3rd at the TRAC tournament, defeating Kyle Walsh and Steven Welling at the latter event.
Collin Keil had a fine season last year, but alas, only a few can make it to state each year and he finished 1-2 at Cleveland State. Keil won the J.C. Gorman Tournament, besting state placer Drew Brasiel (Manchester) 11-5 in the quarterfinals and finished 3rd at the NLL tournament where his only loss was to state alternate Anthony Arroyo (Maumee) 10-7.
Travis Leopold finished 2nd at Avon Lake early last December, knocking off Thomas Wendling (N. Ridgeville) 8-6 in the semis before falling 8-3 to Derrick Foster (Clearview) in the championship. Leopold earned a solid 9-7 victory over Andrew Jewel (ST. John’s Jesuit) at the BG Duals and then grabbed a 2nd place finish at Perry a few weeks alter. At the latter event, Leopold majored a solid Nick Farnsworth (Madison) 16-5, defeated Michael Carpenter (St. Edward) 7-2 and knocked off a respectable Luke Baldwin (Grand Valley) 6-4 before falling 9-3 to state placer Alonzo Turner (Harvey) in the championship. Travis trekked to a 7th place finish at the Dies Tournament in mid January while posting wins over Zach Collins (Jefferson) and Kyle Woods (Streetsboro). He also hung tough with Braden Bryant (Brunswick) in an 8-7 loss and fell 7-0 to state finalist Zack Ladich (Rootstown). Leopold finished 4th at his sectional, losing 6-4 and 4-2 in OT to Tony Caraffi (Olmsted Falls) while sandwiching pins over Thomas Wendling and Adam Wukie (St. Edward) in between the two losses. At the district tournament, Leopold lost his first round bout 6-0 to state qualifier Dan Waltermeyer before bouncing back with a 7-6 win over Ryan Taylor (Nordonia) in his first consolation bout. Travis was pinned by Jordan Weissinger (Fremont Ross) in his next match to close out at 1-2.

1. Jesse Palser-Mansfield Senior (2nd state)
2. Shane Mast-Wadsworth (SQ)
3. Branden Bryant-Brunswick
4. J.T. Brown-Elyria
*5. Aaron Neal-Lorain*
6. Tony Caraffi-Olmsted Falls

Jesse Palser had a spectacular junior campaign, losing only two matches all year and finishing his season up on the big stage on Saturday night. Palser grabbed our attention right off the bat last year, winning the tournament title at Hoover while majoring state alternate Kyle Myers (Northwest) 14-5 and besting state qualifier Shane Mast 3-2 for the crown. He continued to roll at the J.C. Gorman Tournament, majoring state placer Hayden Miller (St. Paul) 9-1 in the semis and beating state qualifier Brock Nagel (Bryan) for the title. Palser won four more tournament titles at Pickerington North, Marion County, the OCC tournament, and at sectionals. He steamrolled all three foes at the OCC, beat state qualifier Zach Donatelli (Darby) for the title at Pickerington North, hammering Nagel 18-8 and beat state placer Jake Datz (Madison Plains) at Marion County. Palser defeated freshmen studs Aaron Naples (Brunswick) and J.T. Brown 16-5 and 12-6 respectively to advance to the district semifinals before losing a razor thin OT bout with Knipl. After beating a third freshman (Anthony Perrine) to qualify for state, Palser conquered Kevin Khoma (St. Edward) 3-1 to finish 3rd. Palser’s solid district tournament was overshadowed by his glorious run at state. He started with a first round bout against 2013 state finalist Quinton Rosser (Moeller), a wrestler who was on a team making a state title push. Undaunted, Palser defeated the 2x state placer Rosser 6-4. The next match wasn’t any easier as Palser squared off against 3x state placer Isaac Bast (Perry) but once again emerged victorious in a 3-1 OT win over the bronze medalist. The Mansfield wrestler bested Jake Stratton (Bradley) 5-3 to advance to his first state finals against undefeated senior Joe Heyob. Despite a valiant effort, Palser would fall 3-2 in overtime to the St. Xavier wrestler, ending his season a match shy of his ultimate goal. 2015 will not be any easier, but Palser doesn’t seem like one who would be intimidated by a challenge. How good can he be in 2015, only Jesse Palser knows.
Shane Mast was about as close as you can get to a state medal last year without actually taking home the hardware. He took 2x state placer Austin Strnad (Brecksville) into overtime before losing 3-1. The performance by Mast was even grittier given the fact that Mast had lost to Strnad 10-1 the week before. Mast will be a favorite for a state medal heading into 2015, as the Wadsworth senior can scrap with anyone at this district. He started last season at this weight, winning the Olentangy Liberty tournament and finishing 2nd to Jesse Palser at North Canton by a 3-2 score. Mast won his dual meet bout with D-2 state bronze medalist Zeck Lehman (Revere) 2-1 before making the drop to 160 for the MIT. At Medina, Mast opened the tournament with a wrestler who would finish 3rd in the state in D-2 Reyse Wallbrown (Indian Lake), but Mast would be ready for the challenge besting Wallbrown 7-1. After losing to 2x state placer Michael Coleman (Hudson) in the quarters, Mast posted another win before falling to Wallbrown and Branden Bryant in consecutive matches to finish 8th. Mast wrestled his dual meets at 170 before cutting back down to 160 for his home tournament. At Wadsworth, he would finish 4th, dropping matches to state placer Nick Stencil (Clay) and state qualifier Jordan Radich (Howland). Mast earned a 5-2 win over Kevin Khoma in their state duals bout, avenging an earlier loss to the St. Edward wrestler. He beat state qualifier Jake Gladwell (Green) 5-3 in the semis of the Suburban League Tournament, but in the finals he was defeated by Zeck Lehman in a rematch of their dual. Mast finished 2nd to Austin Strnad at the sectional tournament, and advanced to the district final with consecutive wins over state qualifiers Mike Wearsch (Steele) and Dan Waltermeyer (Perrysburg) before falling to Strand in the 10-1 bout. Mast’s trip to state started with a 5-3 defeat at the hands of 2x state placer Scott Deluse (Lancaster). Mast was able to stay alive in the tournament on Thursday night with a 9-4 win over Russell Porter (South) before losing the overtime match with Strnad. Mast appears to be the greatest threat to Palser at this weight, but he’ll certainly have his hands full with the likes of Bryant and Strnad at both the sectional and district levels.
Branden Bryant was good enough to be a state qualifier last year, but suffered a loss at the most inopportune time and failed to make the district tournament. I don’t expect that to happen again in 2015. Bryant will be in contention for state qualification, and if he can punch through to Columbus, a state medal could well be in his future. Bryant finished 3rd at Independence and 7th at Medina early in the year. The win over Mast was his most impressive win of the two tournaments and it showed that he is on par with the contenders at this weight. Bryant ended up an exemplary 4th place at a tough Dies tournament. Despite two lopsided losses to Austin Strnad, Bryant defeated all others including a 12-3 trouncing of state placer Drew Brasiel (Manchester). Bryant’s only loss at the NOC tournament was an 8-4 match with state qualifier David Celinski (Garfield Hts.), and the Brunswick grappler defeated district placer Taylor Workman (Elyria) twice while finishing 3rd. The ill-fated sectional tournament started off with a nice 12-7 win over Ryan Taylor (Nordonia) who went on to place 3rd at the sectional, but a 3rd one-sided loss to Austin Strand (14-2) sent Bryant into the consolation semis. Here, he would lose a 10-4 bout to D.J. Heap (Copley), a solid wrestler in his own right, and finish 5th at the sectional. With the talent and buzz around the Brunswick team in 2015, I expect that we’ll see a team full of motivated wrestlers on a quest to exceed expectations and bring home state glory. With that in mind, Bryant will be an essential part of the Brunswick machine as they soldier through another tenacious wrestling season.
J.T. Brown has also shown glimpses of future greatness. Brown was 4-2 at Brecksville and 5th at the Dies tournament where he beat Aaron Naples 3-2 in the 5th place bout. He went on to finish 2nd at the NOC to state placer Craig Sloan (Garfield Hts.) by a 3-2 score and 2nd at sectionals to district placer Michael Hansinger (Olmsted Falls) by a 6-5 score. Brown majored the freshman Kyle Walsh (Whitmer) 9-1 to start his district run but lost a 12-6 decision to state finalist Jesse Palser and a 5-2 bout with senior Dejon Vaughan (Holl. Springfield) to close out at 1-2 at Cleveland State.
Aaron Neal is an unknown factor at this weight. He finished 2nd to district placer Dom Ruma (Bay) at the Lorain tournament, losing a respectable 11-7 bout with the district medalist in the finals, but Neal was not a part of the team at sectional tournament time. The year before, Neal was 1-2 at the district tournament and won the Riverside Rumble over state alternate Chad Ely (Riverside).
Tony Caraffi finished 2nd at Willoughby South where he defeated Alex Mervar (South) 10-2 in the semis of his home tournament before losing to Taevin Bellamy (Perkins) in the finals. He had a rough Medina, going 1-2 and falling 5-1 to Adam Wukie (St. Edward) in the consolation rounds but went a respectable 4-2 at the Dies tournament a few weeks later. Tony tightened up his game even more for sectionals, where he finished 3rd while besting Travis Leopold (Avon) twice and pinning Aaron Huff (Lorain) along the way. His only loss was a 7-4 setback to district placer Taylor Workman (Elyria) in the semis. He was pinned by Jordan Weissinger (F. Ross) in the opening round at Cleveland State, but rolled back with a pair of consolation wins that included a 6-2 defeat of a solid Andrew Jewel (St. John’s Jes.). Caraffi’s season ended in a match with state qualifier Mike Wearsch (Steele) who pinned the Olmsted Falls wrestler in the consolation quarters.
170 feels like a weight that will have a state qualification contender emerge from the St. Edward squad, I’m just not in the know enough to determine who Ed’s will put on the mat at this weight. However, like any good sports fan, not knowing the facts won’t stop me from voicing my opinion. Adam Wukie was the team’s starter at 160, last year and could certainly fill the weight. He defeated Caraffi at Medina as I previously mentioned, but he placed 6th at sectionals while Caraffi was 3rd. Michael Carpenter is another quality option for the Eagles around this weight. He, like Wukie, owned an in-season win over Tony Caraffi in the regional semifinals of the state duals tournament. Carpenter was only a freshman last year, and is just one of the plethora of talented youths that St. Edward had on their squad last year.
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Old 11-21-14, 12:26 PM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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McClearn7 is on a distinguished road
1. Ben Darmstadt-Elyria (2nd state)
2. Tim Knipl-Wadsworth (5th state)
3. Anthony Perrine-Nordonia (5th district)
4. Kevin Witt-Clay
5. Cameron Mayell-North Royalton
6. Kyle Walsh-Whitmer

Ben Darmstadt seems to improve by leaps and bounds each year. Darmstadt jumped from middle school state placer to high school state qualifier right off the bat, earning 2 convincing wins over state champion Sammy Gross (Beachwood) during his rookie season. Last year, Darmstadt moved up in weight and placement, jumping from 120 to 152 and jumping from state qualifier to state finalist with a 2nd place finish to nationally ranked Casey Sparkman. This summer, the Elyria wrestler took it a step further with a 3rd place finish in the Cadet Freestyle national championships. He’ll be the state title favorite at this weight going into the year, and will certainly be on the radar of several D-1 colleges going forward. Darmstadt showed improvement with each tournament last year. He finished 2-2 at Ironman and 5th at Brecksville before the New Year, earning an 8-2 win over state 5th place finisher Bo Ransom (Madison) at the latter tournament. Darmstadt rolled to the Dies title, pinning state qualifier Noah Edwards (Twinsburg), teching state alternate Brice Locklear (Olmsted Falls), and pinning sensational freshman Luke Strnad in his final three bouts. Darmstadt pinned or teched every opponent that he faced on the way to titles at the NOC and sectional tournaments. At Cleveland State, the sophomore would defeat state qualifier Peyton Geary (Fremont Ross) in the quarters and pin state placer Robbie Bosley (Wadsworth) in the semis. However, Darmstadt was pinned by explosive state bronze medalist J.P. Newton (Perrysburg) in the district final. His state run would be even more impressive as Darmstadt was involved in one of the better first round match-ups regardless of division when he took on 2x state placer Jairod James (Bedford) and defeated him by a 7-3 count. In the next round, Darmstadt shut out state placer Aaron Yarger (Pickerington C.) 8-0, only to outdo that result with an 11-2 major of fellow stalwart sophomore Andrew McNally (Lake) in the semis. Darmstadt was involved in an entertaining finals match with Sparkman, but ultimately fell 11-8 to the Perry wrestler and Kent State recruit. Darmstadt recently competed at the excellent Super 32 Tournament where he placed an impressive 4th while navigating through the brutal weight. His two losses at the tournament were to California state champ Zahid Valencia (St John’s Bosco) who is ranked #1 in the nation at this weight and Indiana state finalist Blake Rypel (Cathedral) who is ranked #11 in the country by Flow Wrestling. Ben also earned an 11-7 win over Rypel earlier in the tournament, posted an 8-2 win over Iowa bronze medalist Evan Hansen, and pinned state finalist Jack Harris (Urbana0 over the course of the tournament. I love the fact that Darmstadt is constantly improving himself, and I’m excited to see just how good he can be in his final two years of high school wrestling as he seeks a pair of state titles.
Tim Knipl racked up all kinds of quality wins last season on his way to a 5th place finish at state. He certainly put in his dues over his high school career, and now he could be a crucial component to a team making a push for a state title. It remains to be seen which weight Knipl will reside at and who else will be there, but I have to imagine that he can go toe-to-toe with anyone in D-1 at either 170 or 182. He won the title at Olentangy Liberty last year starting up at 182, and beat state qualifier Ahmad Khatib (Revere) and state placer Kyle Kremiller (Perry) in early season dual meets. After making the cut to 171, he finished 5th at Medina with all 5 matches being against state quality opponents. Knipl defeated state qualifier Jakob Hinz (Westerville N.) 11-4 in the opening round and then bested Tyler Maloy (Hoover) 5-4 who would finish 3rd at the tournament. He dropped an 8-4 semifinal match against nationally ranked Drew Garcia (Detroit C.C.) and a 7-5 consolation semi against state qualifier Blake Reid (Upper Arlington). However, he closed out with a 7-5 win over 2x state placer L.J. Henderson (Indian Lake). After a rigorous dual meet schedule that included wins over state placers Trevor Parker (Darby) and Colt Crall (Claymont), a win at his home tournament provided a stern test before the postseason tournament process began. Knipl won the Suburban League title with his second win over state qualifier Ahmad Khatib, and claimed a sectional title by majoring Anthony Perrine 9-1 in the semis and defeating state placer Troy Lang (Brecksville) 7-3 in the finals. Knipl earned his district title the hard way, beating the wrestlers that finished 4th, 3rd, and 2nd in the district consecutively. The quarterfinal win was a 10-5 victory over St. Ed’s Eagle Kevin Khoma, and the semis saw Knipl defeat eventual state runner-up Jesse Palser (Mansfield Senior) in a 4-3 OT bout. Those two could well meet again at Cleveland State and potentially in the state finals in 2015. The Wadsworth Grizzly would claim his first district title over long time rival Troy Lang with a methodical 4-2 win. Knipl got started on the right track in Columbus, earning a 17-6 major over Garrick Ginter (Sidney) in the opening match and a 3-1 OT win over Jakob Hinz, but he lost a pair of tough matches to state champ Joe Heyob (St. Xavier) and bronze medalist Isaac Bast (Perry) to drop him into the 5th place final. Knipl pulled out one more victory to end the year, besting Jake Stratton (Bradley) 3-2 to finish with a win. This year will be huge for Knipl. It’s his senior season, and he’s got the opportunity to provide senior leadership to a team that has lofty goals. Time will show just how good Knipl and this talented Grizzly squad can be.
Anthony Perrine typifies a Nordonia squad that was very talented but didn’t receive a great deal of fanfare throughout the course of the year. He started the year with a 3rd place finish at Solon, never an easy task, especially for a freshman upper-weight. Perrine’s final two wins at the tournament were a pin over Julius Henderson (Shaw) and 3-1 win over Rick Kollman (Crestwood) both of whom will be in state contention this year. He finished a respectable 3-2 at both Brecksville and Top Gun, with all four losses coming to state qualifying wrestlers. Perrine pulled off a win over state placer Troy Lang by disqualification in their state duals match. I’m not sure what the story was behind that DQ, but it’s a win regardless. Next, the Nordonia freshman finished 3rd at the Medina Sectional, besting fellow freshman standout Aaron Naples twice in the process. Perrine started his district run with a pin over Trent Newlan (Ashland) before an 8-6 loss to senior Michael Hansinger (Olmsted Falls). He rebounded with a 6-2 win over Steven Welling (Tol. St. Francis) and a 13-5 major of Kyle Walsh, but unfortunately, Perrine’s go-to-state match was with state finalist Jesse Palser. Perrine was relegated to the 5th place bout after a respectable 5-2 defeat at the hands of Palser, but avenged the earlier loss to Hansinger with a 10-3 defeat of the same wrestler in their 5th place final. It’s difficult to see a scenario where Perrine doesn’t make it to state this year, but matches are won on the mat and not by my expectations.
Kevin Witt went 0-2 at Cleveland State last year, but that was while wrestling up to fill the spot above state finalist Matt Stencil. With Stencil up at 195 this year, and the fact that Witt wrestled down at 182 during parts of last season, I think we’ll see Witt make a push for state at this lower weight. Up at 195, Witt placed 5th at Solon last year, but finished a tough 0-2 at Brecksville losing decisions to Michael Gregory (Toledo C.C.) and Dennis Breeding (Steele). Down at 182, Witt finished 2nd at the TRAC tournament, hanging tough with district placer Zach Uram in a 7-6 finals loss. Back up at 195, Witt finished a satisfactory 3rd at his home sectional tournament before going 0-2 at Cleveland State. If he make 182 and demonstrates improvement while training with cadet national champ Stencil, we could see Witt as a state qualifier in 2015.
Kyle Walsh was a match away from placement at this district as a freshman, losing only to fellow rookies Anthony Perrine and J.T. Brown. He had an up and down season, as many freshmen do, but looks very impressive by the end of the year defeating Aaron Naples 6-2 and majoring Ricky Godri (North Ridgeville) 11-2 at the district tournament. Walsh was 0-2 at his conference tournament, but won the Rossford Tournament showing that potential that he displayed at Cleveland State. If Walsh continues to improve, the sky’s the limit.
This district is such a wonderful amalgamation of young and experience talent, and we see that highlighted at this weight with seniors like Knipl, Darmstadt, and Witt, as well as talented sophomores to be like Perrine, Walsh and Aaron Naples. Naples finished 6th at the Dies tournament as a freshman last year, losing 2 decisions to state qualifiers and one to fellow freshman standout J.T. Brown. Naples also was 4th at both the NOC and sectional tournaments before finishing 0-2 sat Cleveland State. His development will be integral to the success of this fine Brunswick squad with sky high team aspirations.
Cameron Mayell is another consistent performer who could reside at this weight for this coming year. Mayell finished 2-2 at the Mentor District Tournament where he defeated a solid Chris Head (Mass. Jackson) 7-5 in their consolation bout to reach the consy quarterfinals. Earlier in the year, Mayell finished 5th at Independence while wrestling up at 170, and then he grabbed the same placement at the NOC tournament where he defeated Trevor Bruce (Twinsburg) twice. During the NOC Tournament, Mayell also lost a 1-point match to 2x district placer Tyler Workman (Elyria) and a 3-point match to 2x state placer Michael Coleman (Hudson). Cameron finished 2nd to state qualifier David Celinski (Garfield Hts.) at the North Royalton Sectional where he defeated state alternate Amier Cobb-Bradley 4-1 in the semis. A week later, Mayell would lose a narrow 3-2 rematch with Cobb-Bradley in their match to place at Mentor. He and teammate Xavier Wasco could both be on track for a state tournament appearance in 2015 if they continue their current trajectories of improvement.
As it was at 170, 182 is also primed to have a St. Edward wrestler step up and make a play for a set of state tournament tickets. Larry Grapo and Tyler Stepic are two other young promising wrestlers who could possibly fill the void at this weight (or at 170). Both Grapo and Stepic are sophomores this year, and both were previously middle school state placers in 2013 with Stepic finishing 4th and Grapo taking 2nd. Stepic placed 5th at New Lexington last year, with his only loss coming in a 9-1 defeat to 2x state qualifier Robert Mickey (Northridge).

1. Matt Stencil-Clay (2nd state)
2. Isaiah Margheim-Lorain (SQ, 2nd state 2013)
3. Jared Campbell-St. Edward (5th district)
4. Michael Bekeny-Brunswick
5. Alec Winston-North Olmsted
*6. Nick Bina-Nordonia*

It can be argued that Matt Stencil had the best off-season of any Ohio high school wrestler. The 2014 state runner-up won both the Greco-Roman and Freestyle Cadet national titles, pinning his way to the former and winning by a margin of at least 6 points in every match of the latter. It goes without saying that Stencil is the state title favorite going into the season, but this is Ohio, and he’ll face a stern test on his quest for state gold. Stencil got better and better as the season progressed, as many talented young wrestlers tend to do. He finished 2nd to state placer Anthony McLaughlin (St, Ignatius) at Solon losing a 1-0 finals bout, and before going 3-2 at Ironman losing to national #1 Bo Nickal and to McLaughlin again. At Brecksville, Stencil finished ahead of McLaughlin, taking 2nd while the St. Ignatius wrestler placed 5th. He pinned state qualifier Drew Schiemann (Madison), defeated 2x state bronze medalist Alec Schenk (Perry), and overpowered state placer Michael Weber (Loveland) in three consecutive matches to make the finals. His only loss was a 5-3 bout with nationally ranked Jordan Cooks (Davison) out of Michigan. Stencil won titles at Clay, Wadsworth, and the TRAC Tournament leading up to sectionals. The title at Clay came over state placer Ryan Patchin (Delta) and the title at Wadsworth contained a 15-10 win over state placer Trevor Parker (Darby). Stencil continued to roll at the sectional and district tournaments, adding two more championships to his resume. His district semifinal win was a pin over state placer Traevon Dickerson (Mansfield Senior), and his district final was an 8-6 defeat of state bronze medalist Gabe Dzuro (St. Edward) who had defeated Stencil in an earlier dual meet. After a first round pin at state, Stencil again defeated state placer Michael Weber, this time by a 10-6 score. In the semis, the Clay sophomore bested the giant senior Matt Lybarger (Mount Vernon) 7-3 who had started the year up at 220. The state championship was won by the senior Rocco Caywood (Perrysburg) who looked extremely impressive knocking off Anthony McLaughlin and defending state champ Dakota Sizemore before posting a 7-2 win over Stencil in the finals. While I’m sure the state finals setback was a disappointment for Stencil, the fact that he wrestled that well as a sophomore at the upper-weights was tremendous. The fact that Stencil has only gotten better since then is scary, especially for any wrestler with hopes of a state title at 195 this year.
Isaiah Margheim has already shown that he can defeat Bailey Faust. Last year the Sandusky wrestler bested state placer Faust 8-5 for the district title at BG after an up and down season. Margheim made it to the state finals as a sophomore the year before, albeit in controversial fashion, and gave 2x state champ Josh Lehner his closest match of the tournament in a 6-1 finals bout. Maybe Margheim knows how to wrestle the Lexington powerhouses, or maybe he just saves his best wrestling for the post season tournaments. Either way, if he can harness that end of the year magic once again, we could see Isaiah end his senior year on the top of the podium in Columbus. After wrestling up at 220 for an early season dual meet victory over 2x state placer Kordell Chaney (Perkins), Margheim finished 3rd at Columbian, pinning Tristen Mallory (Port Clinton) and Ozzie Hermes (Perkins). His lone blemish was an 8-6 defeat in his match with D-1 state placer Ross Lonsway (Holl. Springfield). Margheim would later finish 4th at Clay, pinning state qualifier Robbie Fusner (Central Crossing), but he dropped a 10-4 rematch with Lonsway and was pinned by state placer Matthew Lybarger (Mount Vernon). After a 3rd place finish at Wadsworth, where he suffered a lopsided 10-1 defeat to district placer Andy Eckhart (Field), Margheim rolled to a sectional title. He claimed a 9-3 semifinal victory over solid freshman Tony Banister and mounted a 17-5 major over state alternate Tyler Smith (Elida) in the title match. After opening his district tournament with a pin, Margheim defeated state qualifier Colton Brown (Wapakoneta) in the quarters and state placer John Workman (Perkins) in the semis by identical 8-7 scores. Margheim claimed the district crown over Bailey Faust and carried that momentum in to the first round of the state tournament with an opening bout pin of Nate Gray (Claymont).Things would go south for Margheim in the quarters. Despite a valiant effort, Isaiah was defeated by eventual state finalist Kenny Jackson (Crestwood) 9-4 in overtime dropping him into the consolation rounds. Here he would suffer another setback in his match with Blake Owens, as he was pinned by the Licking Valley senior to end his season. The talent is clearly there for Margheim, and he has shown that he can peak at the end of the year against the highest level of competition. It’ll be intriguing to find out if that will be enough to guide him to a state title in 2015.
I figured Jared Campbell would be a good high school wrestler at some point, I just didn’t know it would be right away. He entered last season as a freshman, a year removed from placing at the middle school state tournament. That previous junior high success, plus the track record of the Eagles program pointed to a bright future. As it turned out, Campbell was a mere match shy of the state tournament during his rookie stint. Equally as impressive as the end of his year was the initial stages where he was wrestling for the second team up at 220 where he could fit into the line-up. While at 220, Campbell defeated Tyler Koester (Clay) who will be in contention for a state birth in 2015 at that higher weight. He also finished 4th at the Marion Harding Tournament, dropping a pair of decisions to state qualifier James Ford (Thomas Worthington). In the regional semifinals of the state duals tournament, Campbell pinned 220 pound state qualifier Noel Caraballo (Olmsted Falls). The freshman made his way down to 195 and became the de facto starter once Mike O’Malley was unable to wrestle at the end of the year. Campbell was 3rd at sectionals, pinning fellow sterling freshman Spencer Linville and keeping his semifinal with state qualifier Adam Kuchta (Lorain) to a 10-7 decision. Campbell pinned a respectable Dean Warchak (Brunswick) to start off his district run, before falling to state bronze medalist Kadin Llewellyn (Perrysburg). He followed up with a pair of pins over solid seniors Dennis Breeding (Steele) and Clayton Brandenburg (Wadsworth). Despite dropping his go-to-state match to state placer Yousef Mustafa (Westlake) 6-2, Campbell closed out with a pin in the rematch with Adam Kuchta. This year Campbell will look to make the jump from district medalist to state medalist, and there aren’t many wrestlers who can stop him.
I don’t know enough about Brunswick’s line-up to know how the weights will all shake down. Bekeny could be anywhere from 170, where he started last year, to this weight which is up one classification from where he ended the year. While down at 170, Bekeny finished 2nd at Independence and 7th at Medina. The MIT run was made even more impressive by the wins over state qualifiers Zach Donatelli (Bradley) and Kevin Khoma (St. Edward). After the jump to 182, Bekeny finished 4th at the NOC tournament, 2nd at sectionals and 2-2 at the district tournament. Bekeny’s got the talent to emerge as a state qualifier from this district, and the trick for Brunswick will be fitting all of their quality wrestlers into their ideal weight classes as they look for a team trophy in Columbus.
Alec Winston may be incognito to start this season, but he’ll be in the mix for state qualification by the end of it. He placed at 5 tournaments last year, but did not participate in the postseason process. Winston finished 5th at Aurora and 3rd at Avon Lake before winning the Willoughby South tournament where he pinned Spencer Linville. Winston finished 6th at Kenston where he bested Elliott Simpson (Garfield Hts.) and Matt Driver (Parma) the latter wrestler by a lopsided 15-2 score. He would make the cut to 182 for the Perry Pin City Invitational, finishing 5th while only losing to state qualifier Drew Schiemann (Madison) and district placer Stan Socha (Canfield). I seem to remember reading that he beat Mike O’Malley (St. Edward) during the year, but I couldn’t confirm that result.
Nick Bina has wrestled everywhere from heavyweight down to 195 over the course of the last two years, and I’m guessing that he ends up here by the end of the 2015 season. Last year, Bina was 2nd at Solon, pinned state qualifier Jeremiah Jones (Trace) at Brecksville, and split two matches with Clayton Brandenburg. He defeated the Wadsworth wrestler in their dual, but lost the Suburban League finals match to the Grizzly senior who was a match away from placing at Cleveland State.
Spencer Linville was a middle school state placer in 2013, and though he finished a match away from the district tournament in 2014, he demonstrated enough talent and potential to suggest a bright future. Linville finished 3rd at Willoughby South and 5th at the Dies tournament, winning an 11-10 shootout with 2x state qualifier Cody Jenkins (Woodridge) at the latter tournament. He also defeated a quality underclassman in Jaret Bunch (Canfield) in the 5th place match and took the impressive state alternate Tyler Rowland (Streetsboro) into OT.
Chase Newton is another talented youth at this weight. He’s making the jump up to this weight after going 170 last year, but he comes from good stock and showed skills as a freshman last year. He finished 3rd at sectionals and wrestled a couple of tough matches at district going 0-2 but putting up points in a 17-11 loss to state placer Troy Lang and losing a 3-2 bout with Dejon Vaughn.
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Old 11-21-14, 12:27 PM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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1. Parker Knapp-St. Edward (6th state)
2. Noel Caraballo-Olmsted Falls (SQ)
*3. Marshall Messer-Fremont Ross (6th district, SQ 2013)*
4. Tyler Koester-Clay
5. Todd Hastings-Steele
6. Andre Torres-Lorain

Parker Knapp represents both the only state placer returning from this weight and the best chance that an Eagles wrestler has at a state title in 2014. Knapp’s ability to emerge with a state crown will be closely tied to St. Edward’s chance at a state team title. Last season, Knapp started his first major tournament action with a match against an eventual D-3 state finalist in Ben Sullivan (National Trail). Knapp won a 1-0 bout and then defeated explosive senior Seth Brennock (Loveland) 6-4 in OT. Knapp finished 8th at the tournament, while Brennock came back through to take 4th place despite forfeiting his final match. Two weeks later, Parker placed 3rd at Medina losing only to D-2 state finalist Garret Harding (Claymont) 3-1 in OT. Knapp’s consolation run at the MIT contained 4 straight outstanding wins. The first was a 7-3 decision over Michigan state bronze medalist Jimmy Russell (Detroit C.C.), the second was a 4-2 win over state placer Stefano Millen (Perry) to avenge an earlier loss at Ironman, the third was a 2-1 OT win over D-3 state placer Travis Jaramillo (Archbold), and he closed out with a 3-1 win over state qualifier Marquise Copeland (Bedford). Knapp would reverse the loss to Harding, defeating the Claymont wrestler 12-6 in their dual meet, also grabbing a pin over state qualifier Andy Struttman (Westerville N.) and an 8-7 decision over district champ Chris Norwood (Toledo C.C.) in their dual meet showdowns. Parker won the sectional title at Lorain a week before earning a district finals birth with a 3-1 victory over Arman Samouk (Copley). Knapp took 2x state placer Alex Woicehovich (Nordonia) to the brink in the district finals before falling 9-7 in OT. Parker drew state placer Devin Nye (Springfield) in the first round of the state tournament and was subsequently stuck by the prolific pinner from Springfield. Knapp rebounded nicely, pinning Chandler Evanichko (Grove City), defeating Marquise Copeland a second time, and besting Garrett Snyder (North Royalton) 6-0 to reach the consolation semis. Knapp once again drew Devin Nye, but kept the match to a closer 6-4 score the second time around, despite suffering a second loss. In his final match, Knapp lost 3-1 in overtime against archrival Stefano Millen in their 4th showdown of the year. If Parker can put something special together in Columbus, the St. Edward team will be that much closer to the ultimate goal, a state team title.
Noel Caraballo was the most improved wrestler at this weight at Cleveland State last year, and he emerged with his first trip to state as a sophomore. After a 2-2 MIT, Caraballo finished 4th at the Dies tournament, beating Arman Samouk 4-2, Eddie Sternad 10-3 and state qualifier Devin King (Sheridan) 6-2. Noel finished 3rd at the Lorain Sectional rebounding from an early loss to Connor Kamczyc (Elyria) to finish ahead of the talented senior who was 4th. The sophomore Caraballo showed no signs of intimidation at Cleveland State, defeating seniors Hunter Topolski (Syl. Southview) and Mark Delas (Perrysburg) 11-7 and by pin to advance to the semifinals. Caraballo performed adequately in the semis, falling 7-3 to 2x state placer Alex Woicehovich. The loss dropped him into a consolation semifinal match with senior Rudy Ware (Cuyahoga Falls) who had pinned Caraballo in their 3rd place match at the Dies. Caraballo showed that he was at the steep end of the learning curve, besting Ware 6-4 to qualify for his first state tournament. He closed out his district tournament with a second defeat of Mark Delas, setting up a first round state tournament bout against the formidable Seth Brennock who had pinned state champ Chalmer Frueauf (Moeller) earlier in the year. The same fate awaited Caraballo as he was pinned with 2 seconds remaining in the match. The Olmsted Falls wrestler survived Thursday night with a 5-3 win over Grant Martin (Lake), but was eliminated in his placement match by the senior Garret Snyder. If Caraballo is at the same level in 2015, he’ll likely leave the state tournament with his first medal, and if he demonstrates the same improvement that he did the year before, he’ll give Knapp a run for his money.
It’s been reported that Marshall Messer is now attending Fremont Ross. If that’s the case, and he does indeed reside at 220, he’ll add immediate depth to this weight as he makes a push for his second trip to the state tournament. Messer made a late return to the line-up last year, which I assume coincided with Clyde’s playoff football run. After shaking the cobwebs off, Messer posted a pair of impressive dual meet wins over state qualifier Mark Francis (Delta) and state placer John Workman (Perkins). Messer lost the rematch with Workman in the finals of the SBC tournament, but claimed the rubber match in the sectional finals winning 10-6. Messer made it to the semis at the Bowling Green District, defeating state qualifier Dylan Robertson (Upper Sandusky) 3-1 in the quarters but lost 15-3 to the incendiary Bailey Faust (Lexington) in the semis. Unfortunately for Messer, he was on the losing end of a tight 2-1 OT bout with Colton Brown (Wapakoneta) dropping to finish 6th at the district. Clearly the talent is there, and Messer will once again look to qualify for state as he did as a freshman in 2013.
Tyler Koester was extremely close to placing at the district tournament last year, and he’ll have two distinct advantages over the vast majority of the wrestlers that he will face this year. He wrestles for Clay which is one of the better teams with some of the best coaching in the state, and he’ll have Fargo National champion Matt Stencil to practice against every day. Koester showed a competitive streak all of last year, hanging tough with some of the best competition around the state, but he tightened his belt for the tournament process and took his wrestling to an even higher level. He was 2nd at his home tournament, defeating district placer Kyle Lhamon (Bath) before falling 1-0 to Hunter Topolski in the finals. After a 6th place finish at Wadsworth, Koester was 2nd at the TRAC tournament to state qualifier Chris Norwood (Toledo C.C.). He won the sectional tournament 3-2 over Topolski, avenging two earlier losses to the Southview wrestler. Koester opened Cleveland State with a pin before losing the 2-1 OT loss to Arman Samouk in the quarters. Following a second pin, Koester fell 1-0 to the skillful sparkplug Rudy Ware to close out his junior year.
A few other 220s to keep an eye on are Todd Hastings (Steele) and Andre Torres (Lorain). Hastings was 2-2 at Cleveland State last year despite finishing 5th at the Lorain sectional, and Torres beat Samouk at Lorain. Hastings finished 2nd at Avon Lake early last year to Joe Travagliante (Avon), another worthy contender at this weight, but defeated Travagliante 5-2 in OT for 5th place at the sectional tournament. Hastings lost to Torres 5-4 at sectionals, but defeated him by the same score at Cleveland State to reach the consolation quarters.

1. Kevin Vough-Elyria (3rd state)
2. Cale Bonner-Perrysburg (4th, 8th state)
3. Jovahn Fair-Firestone (5th district)
4. Arman Samouk-Copley (5th district)
5. Mike O’Malley-St. Edward
6. Zac Benner-Ashland

It was staggering just how good Kevin Vough was last year in his freshman year of wrestling. I never expected that he would have such an immediate impact on the state scene, but he may have been the most impressive freshman in the state last year despite the fact the Kaleb Romero (Mechanicsburg) and Kyle Lawson (Graham) both won state titles. In a season that saw Vough finish 3rd in Division 1, he also claimed wins over both the D-1 and D-3 state champions. His breakout tournament was Brecksville where he pinned state placer Connor Careless (St. Paul) in the opening round and bested state runner-up Conan Jennings (Centerville) 6-4 in the quarterfinals. In a cruel twist of fate, Vough would face three consecutive opponents who finished the season with a state title under their belt. After being pinned by the previous year’s state champ Patrick Garren (Ready) in the semis, he fell to D-1 champ Andrew Alten (Loveland) 5-3 in the consolation semis. Vough closed out with a phenomenal pin of D-3 champion Jacob Hanzel (Manchester) to finish 5th. Between the Brecksville and Dies tournament, Vough bested the eventual D-1 state champ Andrew Alten 5-3 in a dual meet rematch of their Brecksville showdown. Vough would finish 2nd to Hanzel at the Dies, reversing the outcome of their 5th place match at Brecksville. However, Vough posted a pin over state qualifier Tristan Roberts (Glen Oak) and a 3-1 win over state qualifier Jordan Lee (Olmsted Falls) during his trek to the finals. Kevin rolled through his conference tournament pinning all 4 opponents including an underrated Staci Wilson (Solon) and a district placer in Adam Cosby (Valley Forge). Vough further impressed at sectionals, claiming a title while pinning state qualifier Ralph Nichols (St. Edward) and besting another state qualifier, Jordan Lee in a 7-0 shutout. Even more magnificent was his district title run, where he pinned all 4 opponents and never made it to the third period. It’s not as if the district was soft either. Vough stuck Jovahn Fair in the semis and 2x state placer Cale Bonner for the title. In Columbus, he pinned Tristan Roberts for a second time in his first match at state before suffering an 8-5 setback to finalist Conan Jennings (Centerville) in the quarters. Vough took the long road back winning an overtime match over the senior Seth Maylor (Perry) to earn his first state placement and pinning sophomore Josh Burger (Aurora) in the consolation quarters. He would draw the senior Alex Dalton (Troy) in the consolation semis, and closeout the bout with a pin in 2:22. Vough had a rematch with Cale Bonner in the bronze medal bout. The outcome was the same, but the margin was thinner as Vough won a 4-2 OT match. Vough followed up his outstanding freshman campaign with a Cadet Greco-Roman national title and a 3rd place finish in freestyle, showing that he’s only gotten better since the end of last year. Though no heavyweight is ever a lock to win the title due to the nature of the weight, Vough is certainly the favorite entering the 2015 season.
If any one can stop the train that is Kevin Vough from running away with a state title next year, it’s Cale Bonner. The Perrysburg senior was an Ironman finalist last year and claimed his second state medal as a junior. Bonner won the Perrysburg tournament 7-3 over D-3 state finalist Cory Durbin (Fremont St. Joseph), and finished 2nd to 2x state champ Billy Miller (Perry) at Clay. He knocked off state qualifier Antonio Zapata (Clay) in the semis of the Clay tournament and respectably kept the finals match with Miller to a 3-0 decision. From there, Bonner won the NLL tournament by beating district placer Kamal Smith (Holl. Springfield) in the finals and then claimed the sectional title with a first period pin of Zac Benner. He had a tough road through the district tournament, wrestling all three of the other state qualifiers in consecutive matches. Bonner gutted out a 3-2 OT win over Ralph Nichols (St. Edward) in the quarters and defeated Jordan Lee 7-2 in the semis before the finals setback to Vough. Bonner wrestled 5 matches at state and picked up one forfeit. Of the 5 matches that he wrestled, two were by one point and two others were in overtime. A 1-0 win over Seth Maylor in the first round set up a quarterfinal with eventual state champion Andrew Alten. Bonner battled admirably but ultimately fell in a 3-2 OT match. The Yellow Jacket would bounce back with a 2-1 win over Chris Crumb (Olentangy) and a 3-0 win over C.J. Kinzer (Teays Valley) before picking up a forfeit in the consolation semis. Bonner was much closer to Vough the second time around, taking the exemplary freshman into OT, giving notice that he will be providing the Elyria wrestler with a stern test in 2015.
Jovahn Fair is another supremely talented heavyweight at this district, and the Firestone wrestler could be Firestone’s first heavyweight state placer since Kent State All-American Jermail Porter in 2004. We’ll see if Fair can make his way to the state finals as Porter did in his senior campaign. Fair seemed to get better with each tournament last year. He finished 7th at Solon to start the year, followed up with a runner-up finish to state champ Billy Miller at Independence where he teched state qualifier Paul Deely (Independence), and hoisted the championship trophy at St. John’s Jesuit, where he pinned or teched every foe he faced. Fair finished 3rd at The Dies, losing only to state champ Jacob Hanzel but defeating state qualifier Jordan Lee 9-8 and state alternate Curtis Burns (Canfield) 6-1. Fair was the sectional champ at Medina where he pinned Chris Burke (Copley) in the semis. Burke is another legit threat to qualify for state this season, though I’m being told that he could reside at 195. After a pair of wins to open up his district tournament, including a pin of Zac Benner, Fair fell to Vough and Ralph Nichols to drop him into the alternate match. Fair pinned a good wrestler in Kamal Smith to take the 5th place medal and close out his junior year. I’m rooting for him to qualify and make the podium this year, and I fully expect him to do so.
Arman Samouk was a shade away from the state tournament last year finishing 5th at a densely populated district down at 220. Early in the year, Samouk finished 2nd to Andre Torres (Lorain), another talented underclassman at this weight, at the Lorain Tournament. He took 7th at the hotly contested Dies, losing 13-2 to Rudy Ware, but pinning state alternate Paul Flowers (Beachwood) and state qualifier Mitch Murray (Norwayne) along the way. Samouk was 2nd to Alex Woicehovich at both the Suburban League Tournament and the Medina Sectional. His biggest win at these two tourneys was a pin over Rudy Ware in the sectional semis to avenge the earlier loss. Samouk advanced to his first district semifinal with a 2-1 overtime win against Tyler Koester. He put forth a worthy effort in the semis, losing 3-1 to state placer and 2015 favorite Parker Knapp but also fell 6-5 to Mark Delas in the consolation semis to drop him into a rubber match with Rudy Ware. Samouk emerged with a scrappy 3-1 OT victory to earn state alternate honors and establish a cornerstone of success off of which to build this season.
Zac Benner showed steady improvement throughout the course of last year. He defeated state qualifier Antonio Zapata 3-2 in OT at Brecksville after being pinned by the same wrestler at the Ironman Tournament. Benner also won the OCC title and pinned state placer Nate Temple (Lexington) in under a minute in the finals. He would finish 2nd to Bonner at sectionals and went 1-2 at Cleveland State.
Samson Demand was another underclassman who won a district match last season as a sophomore, and the Cuyahoga Falls wrestler also pinned district placer Aaron Crosby for third place at the NOC tournament. Demand notched a respectable 3-0 win over a quality Larenz Robertson (Maple Hts.) and a 9-1 win over state alternate Corley Lamb (Jackson-Milton) at the Hudson Tournament while finishing 5th. He’ll add even more depth to the crazy dense heavyweight bracket here at Cleveland State.
Mike O’Malley is an interesting entity at this weight, He was the St. Ed’s starter at 195 last year, but was unable to compete in the post season tournaments. His back-up Jared Campbell subsequently finished a match shy of the state tournament. Now heading into his junior year, it looks like O’Malley has grown out of the 195 weight-class and with state placer Parker Knapp inhabiting the 220 slot, O’Malley will likely be an undersized heavyweight in 2015. He should have the speed advantage on his foes at 285, but will have to beat out teammate Kevin Ward to earn the starting spot. While at 195 last year, O’Malley beat both state qualifier Nate Gray (Claymont) and state placer Josh Couchman (Graham) in dual meets. St. Ed’s Eagle also posted a pin of district placer Wyatt Starkey (Pickerington N.) while finishing 6th at Medina. It’ll be interesting to follow how O’Malley adapts to his new weight class as he replaces a similar wrestler in Ralph Nichols who qualified for the state tournament last year as an undersized heavyweight.

A special thanks to Baum’s Page, Track Wrestling, Boro Fan and Jake’s Wrestling, for being extremely helpful in compiling wrestling results and weight class information and of course a thanks to the Godfather, Brian Brakeman who started it all.

-Max Pearce
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Old 11-21-14, 03:35 PM
mo.b1991 mo.b1991 is offline
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Wasco will be at 145 and Morgan at 152 for North Royalton. They may drop by end of year, but no plans in stone. Agree that Wasco can be in the top 4 at CSU. Morgan split with Defraine last year and lost to Waltermeyer on a last second takedown at the PIT last year. He should be competitive as well for a District placement. Chapman is a returning DQ at 170 who has improved leaps and bounds this summer. Mayell had a great Super 32 run winning 5 matches and should be ranked #3 at CSU.
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Old 11-22-14, 01:40 PM
elliotlewis elliotlewis is offline
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This is very good wrestling porn!!! Such a good read as always!!!
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Old 11-22-14, 05:54 PM
McClearn7 McClearn7 is offline
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Originally Posted by elliotlewis View Post
This is very good wrestling porn!!! Such a good read as always!!!
Hahahaha thank you. I think that may be the best compliment I've gotten so far.
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Old 11-23-14, 09:13 AM
thatohlboy thatohlboy is offline
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Jake Paul.....As far as I know Jake Paul has gone Hollywood. My son is a "fan" and from what we have seen on social media he is no where near Ohio....looks like he has moved to Cali. What a shame too we watched him at Districts last year and he looked pretty good!
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Old 12-15-14, 03:51 PM
Moozedad Moozedad is offline
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This was such a nice early season prognostication I thought it deserved being bumped up.

Kevin Vough 285 from Elyria super impressive in winning the Ironman!
Cameron Mayell 182 from North Royalton impressive at North Coast Classic.

Brunswick has a couple of changes, 106 is Fields, Freshman with wins at both Solon and North Coast. 120 Rivera has left the team. 170 Bryant looks impressive with only loss to the freshman phenom from Walsh. 182 is Bekeny and 195 is Naples. I believe that is a swap from preseason estimates. Will learn a lot about Brunswick at the MIT on the 27th and 28th.
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Old 12-15-14, 04:51 PM
350zjk 350zjk is offline
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Is Mast from Wadsworth out with a knee injury?
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Old 12-16-14, 10:13 AM
Moozedad Moozedad is offline
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I had "heard" he is injured. But people don't like talking about injuries in general, and they really don't like to get specific.
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Old 12-16-14, 10:52 AM
100club 100club is offline
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Mast took a FF v Nordonia, so the injury probably isn't that serious. I would expect Perrine of Nordonia makes his debut this week, although he and the other football guys still have not hydrated according to track. A few interesting matchups to keep an eye on this Thursday in the SL:

106 - Wisssel (Highland) v Swartzbaugh/Randolph (Wadsworth) - Wissel was the champ at Lorain and hasn't lost as far as I can tell. Randolph may not be here yet, but Swarzbaugh has done well so far at 106.
120 - Vilimonovic (Highland) v Gray (Wadsworth) - Vilimonovic's only loss was in the Lorain final. Gray is a 2x SL Champ and former district placer.
220 - Williams (Copley) v Bina (Nordonia) - Senior Williams is 12-0 with a few good wins (Barberton DQ Kozak, Lorain runner-up Newsome of Fremont Ross). Bina is a former DQ who placed 4th @ Solon.
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