Best Ohio wrestler to never win a state title?

xLiferx

Member
(STOLEN FROM A 2011 POST)


In descending order, numbers #10 through #1:

10. Ryan Root- Root transferred to West Chester Lakota after winning two Illinois State Titles. He seemed to be a prohibitive favorite. However, Joey O’Neill of Walsh Jesuit was virtually unbeatable that season and defeated Root first at the Medina Invitational Tournament and then in the semifinals of the 1995 Ohio State Tournament. Other than that, Root was never pushed by any wrestler that season. Root then traveled to the National High School Wrestling Championships where he finished second- and was a controversial call away from the title.

9. Matt Hamill- Hamill may be on this list for what he would become in college as much as what he was in high school. However, he was damn good by his senior year in high school as well. Hailing from Loveland High School, Hamill is believed to be that school’s first State Qualifier. After finishing 4th in the State as a junior, Hamill was untouchable his senior year other than a suprising 4-2 loss to Aaron Riley in the state semifinals. He thern crushed two tough competitors to take 3rd.
In college, Hamill went to Purdue and had an impressive season for a true freshman. However, Hamill was deaf and as it turned out, the Rochester Institute of Technology catered to students with physical challenges, so he transferred there (suffdice it to say that no one who competed against Hamill will ever describe his as “handicapped”). Hamill would go on to win three national titles, pinning virtually everyone he faced, including a defending national champion his senior year in under a minute. He defeated numerous top Division I opponents during his career, and even scored a fall over a high school senior by the name of Damian Hahn. Hahn had already defeated two NCAA Champions by this point, yet couldn’t even go the distance with Hamill. Interestingly, one year later, Hahn would come within thirty seconds of beating a wrestler that some readers may have heard of: Cael Sanderson.

8. Tommy Cunningham- It would be safe to say that Lakewood St. Edward’s is Cunningham’s least favorite team. With a little luck, Cunningham may have won three Division I state titles. As a sophomore and junior, Cunningham matched up with St. Ed’s four-time state champion Ryan Lang in the finals. Lang, of course, was one of the finest middleweights to come out of Ohio in years- and a year older than Cunningham. Interestingly, although Lang won the Ironman, Beast of the East, Dapper Dan, and Senior Nationals, it was Cunningham who gave him his closest match.
It would have seemed like smooth sailing Cunningham’s senior year. But it was not to be, as Kevin Ward, also of St. Ed’s tripped him up in the quarterfinals in double-overtime. Cunningham would go on to place third.

7. Keith Shamblin- This selection may raise some eyebrows. After all, Shamblin never even qualified for state until his senior season. That year, however, he was simply awesome. Shamblin put the state on notice as to who he was when he took 3x Division I State Champion, National High School Champion, Clint Musser, to the wire mid-season that year, losing by two points on a late takedown. His next feat was defeating defending state champion and eventual four-time state champion Johnny McGhee at the District Tournament. After taking out another defending state champion, Dustin Harris, in the semifinals, Shamblin fell short against McGhee in their rematch in the state finals. From there, Shamblin went on to place 2nd at High School Nationals

6. Pat Knaze- Knaze was another victim of the fabulous Johnny McGhee, placing highly three times in three very tough Division II weight classes- but never grasping the top prize. As a sophomore, he was a suprising third behind Brett Henderson and Brian Malloy. As a junior, Knaze would up in that loaded 145 lb. weight class with McGhee, Shamblin, and Harris- and took 4th, losing to returning state champs McGhee and Harris. Interestingly, during a brief stint at 152 lbs that season, Knaze was able to defeat eventual Division I State Champion Ron Deubel of Maple Heights. Deubel was never seriously pushed in winning state that year.
His senior season, Knaze gallantly went after McGhee yet again and pushed him to the limit, but still fell a little short in the state finals.

5. Shawn Contos- It is difficult to comprehend that junior national freestyle champion Shawn Contos was never even a state finalist. Far from being a “choke-artist”, Contos could be best described as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a freshman and sophomore, Contos was simply too small of a 103 to be competitive. As a junior, he was up against eventual 3x State Champion Eddie Jayne of St. Ed’s in the state semifinals, and lost by one point. Neither Contos nor Jayne was pushed in any other match. His senior year, Contos went up against Ohio’s first 4x Division I State Champion, Willie Wineberg, in the state semifinals, and again came out on the wrong end of a one point bout- settling for third place again.

4. Matt Delguyd- If there is an Ohio wrestler that epitomizes the word “heartbreak” it would have to be Delguyd. Placing fourth as a sophomore at 189, Delguyd looked like a good bet win two state titles. He had speed and power like few big men in Ohio have. However, as a junior, he lost a 2-0 match against Jeff Clemens where both of Clemens’ points were for stalling. This was perhaps Delguyd’s downfall, hesititation to “pull the trigger” as some might put it. Clemens would go on to win Junior Nationals that summer in Fargo, and the wrestler who took third (Andy Rios), who Delguyd defeated, placed 2nd.
Delguyd’s senior season, he was pitted against defending state champion Matt Koz of St. Ed’s in the most anticipated matchup of the season. After defeating him twice during the season, Delguyd was again reluctant to take chances in the state finals, and Koz scored the only takedown of the match to prevail 3-2. Delguyd next finished 3rd at high school nationals. In the semifinals, in what was considered to be the “de facto” championship match, Delguyd squared off with the powerful Chase Verdoorn of Missouri. Late in the third period, with the score tied 1-1, Delguyd finally pulled the trigger, taking Verdoorn down with one of the most beautiful double leg takedowns ever seen. It seemed Delguy had it in the bag. However, Verdoorn escaped, and showing incredible poise, executed a picture-perfect high crotch takedown in the last five seconds of the match, to win 4-3. Interestingly, Delguyd has defeated two of his three high school nemesis-Verdoorn (three times in three matches) and Koz- in college thus far, and will likely get his chance at Clemens this year as Clemens as moved from 184 to 197, the weight where Delguyd is the defending Big Ten Champion, though never quite an All-American so far. Look for hard-luck Delguyd to claim All-American status this season.

3. Steve Feckanin- Feckanin is one of those guys who, with a little luck, could have been a 2x or 3x state champion. Certainly, that had to be what it looked like he was headed for after finishing 2nd in the state as a freshman at 112 lbs. However, his sophomore year, despite being favored by many, he inexplicably dropped to 5th place. His junior year, it was not to be as this takedown artist seemed out of sorts against the extremely lanky Jeff Abbott in the state semifinals. Feckanin would have to settle for third.
Feckanin put the wrestling world on notice as to just how good he was at the Medina Tournament his senior year. Despite defeating Cadet World Runner-up Chad Owens in the semifinals, Feckanin was a huge underdog against superstar Roger “The Hammer” Chandler. After Chandler jumped out to a 6-2 lead on three first period takedowns, Feckanin seemed to take over and control the bout from there. Finally, a takedown in the final five seconds tied the match. In sudden-death overtime, it looked like Feckanin had the match won several times, yet Chandler managed to get out of danger and finally score the winning takedown. It was perhaps the best high school match this writer has ever seen. Feckanin crushed all other opposition that year until his state finals with the late Jason Hartman- himself a former state champion but a wrestler whom Feckanin had defeated easily twice before. In this match, however, Hartman just seemed to be “on” and Feckanin, like the previous year against Abbott, seemed to be not really himself, and Hartman narrowly prevailed.

2. Daniel Mason-Strauss- Mason-Strauss had a boatload of talent to say the least. His junior season, he crushed all competitors in the state tournament expect St. Ed’s senior Chris Vondruska, who prevailed against him by a single point. Mason-Strauss was academically ineligible to compete the second half of his senior year, and therefore unable to win a state title. However, he received a wild card to senior nationals, and despite not having competed in months, crushed all competitors up to the finals, including a major decision over very tough St. Ed’s senior Charlie Aggozino, who would go on to take third. The finals match was an epic bout against Florida throw-machine Levi Duyn. Mason-Strauss jumped out to a huge lead, only to be lateral dropped three times by Duyn in the 2nd half of the match (Mason-Strauss’s conditioning seemed to be a factor, not surprisingly, after missing most of the season). Still, he hung on for the win, to become perhaps the only National High School Wrestling Champion who did not wrestle most of his senior season.

1. David Bolyard- The “blonde bomber” from Akron Springfield looked like a good bet to win two state titles after finishing 2nd at 125 lbs as a sophomore, followed by also finishing 2nd at Cadet Nationals that summer. As explosive as they come, Bolyard piled up big points consistently against top compeition. His signature was five-point moves early the match- always very difficult to come back from. However, Bolyard finished a disapponting 4th his junior season in a loaded weight. That summer, he actually placed higher at junior nationals (5th) than 3x Ohio State Champion Ty Morgan, a senior, managed to place (7th). At this point, he looked like a lock for the state title the next year.
Bolyard was pitted against returning state runner-up Nate Yetzer- no slouch himself- in the state semifinals that year. In typical Bolyard fashion, he jumped out to a huge lead, and looked to be headed for a major decision. However, in the third period, Bolyard completely “hit the wall”, as Yetzer rallied for six third-period takedowns to defeat the completely-gassed Bolyard. At Senior Nationals, Bolyard redeemed himself, defeating 4x State Champion Matt Grice of Oklahoma to win the national title. Interesting, future 2x NCAA Champion Chris Pendleton was also in this weight but placed only 4th. Yetzer, meanwhile, dropped a weight and finished 2nd. Bolyard was perhaps even more impressive at Junior Nationals, where he made the finals and lost by only a single point to the much-heralded future NCAA Champion Jesse Jantzen in the finals. Bolyard would go on to be an All-American at Central Michigan University.

This list shows, perhaps, not only how difficult it is to win a state title, but also how much (and no coach will ever admit this) luck plays into it. Some great wrestlers just had the misfortune of matching up with a legend. For instance, if Johnny McGhee had headed to Walsh Jesuit- like so many of his fellow North Akron Wrestling Club youth teammates- Shamblin and Knaze are state champions. Others just had bad days when they needed a good day the most. Other very tough non-state champions that merited consideration for this list include: Charlie Aggozino, Ryan Knapp, Barry Jarvis, Dave Gustovich, Steve Sletvold, Brian Malloy, Kevin Contos, Anthony Constantino, Lonny Riveria, Gary Skoch, Zach Thompson, and Sean White.
 

Bitewhat?

Member
Yea I heard of him topic is best wrestler to never win a title. I believe he won 3. I’m just saying Cody went to Ohio State and wasn’t a state champ. That has to warrant something?
No you said he was the best pound for pound wrestler to come out of claymont. Which is 100% wrong.There are a couple ahead of him, including cody garbrandt and a few more. Many wrestlers went to big schools never to place at nationals.
 

RodWave

New member
No you said he was the best pound for pound wrestler to come out of claymont. Which is 100% wrong.There are a couple ahead of him, including cody garbrandt and a few more. Many wrestlers went to big schools never to place at nationals.
That’s my opinion pal. Didn’t bad mouth any of those guys. All great wrestlers and sure other peoples opinion would differ to which is the best all time.
 

Coach McCoy

Well-known member
(STOLEN FROM A 2011 POST)


In descending order, numbers #10 through #1:

10. Ryan Root- Root transferred to West Chester Lakota after winning two Illinois State Titles. He seemed to be a prohibitive favorite. However, Joey O’Neill of Walsh Jesuit was virtually unbeatable that season and defeated Root first at the Medina Invitational Tournament and then in the semifinals of the 1995 Ohio State Tournament. Other than that, Root was never pushed by any wrestler that season. Root then traveled to the National High School Wrestling Championships where he finished second- and was a controversial call away from the title.

9. Matt Hamill- Hamill may be on this list for what he would become in college as much as what he was in high school. However, he was damn good by his senior year in high school as well. Hailing from Loveland High School, Hamill is believed to be that school’s first State Qualifier. After finishing 4th in the State as a junior, Hamill was untouchable his senior year other than a suprising 4-2 loss to Aaron Riley in the state semifinals. He thern crushed two tough competitors to take 3rd.
In college, Hamill went to Purdue and had an impressive season for a true freshman. However, Hamill was deaf and as it turned out, the Rochester Institute of Technology catered to students with physical challenges, so he transferred there (suffdice it to say that no one who competed against Hamill will ever describe his as “handicapped”). Hamill would go on to win three national titles, pinning virtually everyone he faced, including a defending national champion his senior year in under a minute. He defeated numerous top Division I opponents during his career, and even scored a fall over a high school senior by the name of Damian Hahn. Hahn had already defeated two NCAA Champions by this point, yet couldn’t even go the distance with Hamill. Interestingly, one year later, Hahn would come within thirty seconds of beating a wrestler that some readers may have heard of: Cael Sanderson.

8. Tommy Cunningham- It would be safe to say that Lakewood St. Edward’s is Cunningham’s least favorite team. With a little luck, Cunningham may have won three Division I state titles. As a sophomore and junior, Cunningham matched up with St. Ed’s four-time state champion Ryan Lang in the finals. Lang, of course, was one of the finest middleweights to come out of Ohio in years- and a year older than Cunningham. Interestingly, although Lang won the Ironman, Beast of the East, Dapper Dan, and Senior Nationals, it was Cunningham who gave him his closest match.
It would have seemed like smooth sailing Cunningham’s senior year. But it was not to be, as Kevin Ward, also of St. Ed’s tripped him up in the quarterfinals in double-overtime. Cunningham would go on to place third.

7. Keith Shamblin- This selection may raise some eyebrows. After all, Shamblin never even qualified for state until his senior season. That year, however, he was simply awesome. Shamblin put the state on notice as to who he was when he took 3x Division I State Champion, National High School Champion, Clint Musser, to the wire mid-season that year, losing by two points on a late takedown. His next feat was defeating defending state champion and eventual four-time state champion Johnny McGhee at the District Tournament. After taking out another defending state champion, Dustin Harris, in the semifinals, Shamblin fell short against McGhee in their rematch in the state finals. From there, Shamblin went on to place 2nd at High School Nationals

6. Pat Knaze- Knaze was another victim of the fabulous Johnny McGhee, placing highly three times in three very tough Division II weight classes- but never grasping the top prize. As a sophomore, he was a suprising third behind Brett Henderson and Brian Malloy. As a junior, Knaze would up in that loaded 145 lb. weight class with McGhee, Shamblin, and Harris- and took 4th, losing to returning state champs McGhee and Harris. Interestingly, during a brief stint at 152 lbs that season, Knaze was able to defeat eventual Division I State Champion Ron Deubel of Maple Heights. Deubel was never seriously pushed in winning state that year.
His senior season, Knaze gallantly went after McGhee yet again and pushed him to the limit, but still fell a little short in the state finals.

5. Shawn Contos- It is difficult to comprehend that junior national freestyle champion Shawn Contos was never even a state finalist. Far from being a “choke-artist”, Contos could be best described as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a freshman and sophomore, Contos was simply too small of a 103 to be competitive. As a junior, he was up against eventual 3x State Champion Eddie Jayne of St. Ed’s in the state semifinals, and lost by one point. Neither Contos nor Jayne was pushed in any other match. His senior year, Contos went up against Ohio’s first 4x Division I State Champion, Willie Wineberg, in the state semifinals, and again came out on the wrong end of a one point bout- settling for third place again.

4. Matt Delguyd- If there is an Ohio wrestler that epitomizes the word “heartbreak” it would have to be Delguyd. Placing fourth as a sophomore at 189, Delguyd looked like a good bet win two state titles. He had speed and power like few big men in Ohio have. However, as a junior, he lost a 2-0 match against Jeff Clemens where both of Clemens’ points were for stalling. This was perhaps Delguyd’s downfall, hesititation to “pull the trigger” as some might put it. Clemens would go on to win Junior Nationals that summer in Fargo, and the wrestler who took third (Andy Rios), who Delguyd defeated, placed 2nd.
Delguyd’s senior season, he was pitted against defending state champion Matt Koz of St. Ed’s in the most anticipated matchup of the season. After defeating him twice during the season, Delguyd was again reluctant to take chances in the state finals, and Koz scored the only takedown of the match to prevail 3-2. Delguyd next finished 3rd at high school nationals. In the semifinals, in what was considered to be the “de facto” championship match, Delguyd squared off with the powerful Chase Verdoorn of Missouri. Late in the third period, with the score tied 1-1, Delguyd finally pulled the trigger, taking Verdoorn down with one of the most beautiful double leg takedowns ever seen. It seemed Delguy had it in the bag. However, Verdoorn escaped, and showing incredible poise, executed a picture-perfect high crotch takedown in the last five seconds of the match, to win 4-3. Interestingly, Delguyd has defeated two of his three high school nemesis-Verdoorn (three times in three matches) and Koz- in college thus far, and will likely get his chance at Clemens this year as Clemens as moved from 184 to 197, the weight where Delguyd is the defending Big Ten Champion, though never quite an All-American so far. Look for hard-luck Delguyd to claim All-American status this season.

3. Steve Feckanin- Feckanin is one of those guys who, with a little luck, could have been a 2x or 3x state champion. Certainly, that had to be what it looked like he was headed for after finishing 2nd in the state as a freshman at 112 lbs. However, his sophomore year, despite being favored by many, he inexplicably dropped to 5th place. His junior year, it was not to be as this takedown artist seemed out of sorts against the extremely lanky Jeff Abbott in the state semifinals. Feckanin would have to settle for third.
Feckanin put the wrestling world on notice as to just how good he was at the Medina Tournament his senior year. Despite defeating Cadet World Runner-up Chad Owens in the semifinals, Feckanin was a huge underdog against superstar Roger “The Hammer” Chandler. After Chandler jumped out to a 6-2 lead on three first period takedowns, Feckanin seemed to take over and control the bout from there. Finally, a takedown in the final five seconds tied the match. In sudden-death overtime, it looked like Feckanin had the match won several times, yet Chandler managed to get out of danger and finally score the winning takedown. It was perhaps the best high school match this writer has ever seen. Feckanin crushed all other opposition that year until his state finals with the late Jason Hartman- himself a former state champion but a wrestler whom Feckanin had defeated easily twice before. In this match, however, Hartman just seemed to be “on” and Feckanin, like the previous year against Abbott, seemed to be not really himself, and Hartman narrowly prevailed.

2. Daniel Mason-Strauss- Mason-Strauss had a boatload of talent to say the least. His junior season, he crushed all competitors in the state tournament expect St. Ed’s senior Chris Vondruska, who prevailed against him by a single point. Mason-Strauss was academically ineligible to compete the second half of his senior year, and therefore unable to win a state title. However, he received a wild card to senior nationals, and despite not having competed in months, crushed all competitors up to the finals, including a major decision over very tough St. Ed’s senior Charlie Aggozino, who would go on to take third. The finals match was an epic bout against Florida throw-machine Levi Duyn. Mason-Strauss jumped out to a huge lead, only to be lateral dropped three times by Duyn in the 2nd half of the match (Mason-Strauss’s conditioning seemed to be a factor, not surprisingly, after missing most of the season). Still, he hung on for the win, to become perhaps the only National High School Wrestling Champion who did not wrestle most of his senior season.

1. David Bolyard- The “blonde bomber” from Akron Springfield looked like a good bet to win two state titles after finishing 2nd at 125 lbs as a sophomore, followed by also finishing 2nd at Cadet Nationals that summer. As explosive as they come, Bolyard piled up big points consistently against top compeition. His signature was five-point moves early the match- always very difficult to come back from. However, Bolyard finished a disapponting 4th his junior season in a loaded weight. That summer, he actually placed higher at junior nationals (5th) than 3x Ohio State Champion Ty Morgan, a senior, managed to place (7th). At this point, he looked like a lock for the state title the next year.
Bolyard was pitted against returning state runner-up Nate Yetzer- no slouch himself- in the state semifinals that year. In typical Bolyard fashion, he jumped out to a huge lead, and looked to be headed for a major decision. However, in the third period, Bolyard completely “hit the wall”, as Yetzer rallied for six third-period takedowns to defeat the completely-gassed Bolyard. At Senior Nationals, Bolyard redeemed himself, defeating 4x State Champion Matt Grice of Oklahoma to win the national title. Interesting, future 2x NCAA Champion Chris Pendleton was also in this weight but placed only 4th. Yetzer, meanwhile, dropped a weight and finished 2nd. Bolyard was perhaps even more impressive at Junior Nationals, where he made the finals and lost by only a single point to the much-heralded future NCAA Champion Jesse Jantzen in the finals. Bolyard would go on to be an All-American at Central Michigan University.

This list shows, perhaps, not only how difficult it is to win a state title, but also how much (and no coach will ever admit this) luck plays into it. Some great wrestlers just had the misfortune of matching up with a legend. For instance, if Johnny McGhee had headed to Walsh Jesuit- like so many of his fellow North Akron Wrestling Club youth teammates- Shamblin and Knaze are state champions. Others just had bad days when they needed a good day the most. Other very tough non-state champions that merited consideration for this list include: Charlie Aggozino, Ryan Knapp, Barry Jarvis, Dave Gustovich, Steve Sletvold, Brian Malloy, Kevin Contos, Anthony Constantino, Lonny Riveria, Gary Skoch, Zach Thompson, and Sean White.
I do understand that you only copied and pasted this from a 2011 post but to correct one of the statements: Hamill of LOveland was by far not the 1st state qualifier from that school. Not even the 1st state placer. Prior to him there were a number of SQ's from Loveland. Just wanted to set the record straight.

Great list though.
 

1$’s 2¢

Active member
I do understand that you only copied and pasted this from a 2011 post but to correct one of the statements: Hamill of LOveland was by far not the 1st state qualifier from that school. Not even the 1st state placer. Prior to him there were a number of SQ's from Loveland. Just wanted to set the record straight.

Great list though.
Ron Troyan, Rich Geiglan, Ken Wolbers, (Rich, Dave, or something) Hansen, Ed Poling, and probably others were all state qualifier from Loveland in the late 70s or early 80s if memory serves. Apologies for the butchered spellings. I think Troyan (Hwt) and Hansen (145) won state titles in 1978 and 1979, respectively. I remember Cris Coffing's (then Fairfield) and Hansen's finals match at the UC Invitational. Coffin hit a stunning takedown to back move for the pin. (It may have been a lateral drop.) I believe that Hanson avenged that loss in a post-season all-star meet. I think Coffing was the AAA 145 pound state champ and Hanson was the AA 145 state champ that year. Both were studs.

This is all from an aged memory so take it with a grain of salt.
 
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