Ohio Dual Team State Championships Preview

After 75 years of deciding the state champion team through the individual bracket state tournament series, the Buckeye State will have its debut state dual meet tournament finals Saturday at St. John Arena on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Eight teams from each division will compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine the team state champion; yes, in three weeks time, there will also be a state championship team crowned in the individual bracket state finals.

Though many of the teams in the field are the usual suspects that have been at the top of the individual bracket tournament standings over the recent years, there are some programs new to the puzzle that have been total after-thoughts in the individual bracket tournament model. Wrestling will begin at 11 a.m. with quarterfinal matches in the upper bracket of all three divisions, the next round starting at 1:15 p.m. will feature lower bracket quarterfinals, and at 3:30 the semifinals for each division will be wrestled. Championship matches in each division will occur at 8 p.m.

Four nationally ranked teams are featured in the Division I (big school) field: No. 2 St. Edward, No. 16 Massillon Perry, No. 20 Cincinnati Moeller, and No. 26 Brecksville. Those squads are the top four seeds in order listed. First round matchups are the following: St. Edward vs. Pickerington Central, Brecksville vs. Oregon Clay, Cincinnati Moeller vs. Centerville, and Massillon Perry vs. Marysville.

St. Edward, Massillon Perry, and Moeller are extreme favorites in their opening round bouts, while Brecksville is only a slight favorite over an extremely balanced Oregon Clay lineup. The semifinal matches are likely to feature St. Edward as a favorite over Brecksville, and Massillon Perry the slightest of favorites over Moeller; and the likely final would have St. Edward as a slight favorite over Massillon Perry.

The following wrestlers are ranked top 16 statewide in Division I:

106: Austin Assad (Brecksville), Jose Rodriguez (Massillon Perry), L.J. Bentley (St. Edward)
113: Aaron Assad (Brecksville), Conner Ziegler (Moeller), Jared Davis (Oregon Clay), Jason Spencer (Massillon Perry)
120: David Bavery (Massillon Perry), Taleb Rahmani (Marysville), Richie Screptock (Oregon Clay), Brandon Watson (Centerville)
126: David Sparks (Marysville), Chance Driscoll (St. Edward), Austin Phillips (Massillon Perry), Connor Borton (Moeller)
132: Dean Heil (St. Edward), Andrew Mendel (Moeller), Sonny Lucas (Brecksville), Jamie Norris (Massillon Perry), Gavin Nelson (Oregon Clay)
138: Colin Heffernan (St. Edward), Noah Forrider (Marysville), Isaac Bast (Massillon Perry)
145: Edgar Bright (St. Edward), Casey Sparkman (Massillon Perry), Austin Strnad (Brecksville)
152: Markus Scheidel (St. Edward), Tony Dailey (Massillon Perry), Wyatt Wilson (Moeller), Aaron Yarger (Pickerington Central), Damen Dominique (Oregon Clay)
160: Dakota Sizemore (Moeller), Quentin Hiles (Brecksville), Chase Boyd (Marysville), Bruno Millin (Massillon Perry), Robbie Rogers (St. Edward), Nick Stencel (Oregon Clay)
170: Dean Meyer (Moeller), Ason Sunkle (Pickerington Central), Troy Lang (Brecksville)
182: Domenic Abounader (St. Edward), Garrett Conner (Centerville), Quentin Rosser (Moeller), Matt Stencel (Oregon Clay)
195: Joe Tayse (Massillon Perry), Josh Murphy (Brecksville), Eddie Silva (Oregon Clay), Gabe Dzuro (St. Edward), Austin Pfarr (Marysville), Jerry Thornberry (Moeller)
220: Chalmer Frueauf (Moeller), Parker Knapp (St. Edward), Conan Jennings (Centerville), Morgan Miller (Marysville), Austin Linden (Brecksville)
285: Stefano Millin (Massillon Perry), Ralph Nichols (St. Edward)

Jeff Jordan and the St. Paris Graham coaches celebrate after Micah Jordan defeats Dean Heil at the Walsh Ironman (Photo/Tony Rotundo,
St. Paris Graham, ranked No. 5 nationally and 12-time defending champion in the individual bracket tournament, is the strong favorite in the Division II team tournament. The second and third seeds are the primary challengers to the Falcons; CVCA and Claymont profile similarly, and it should be an interesting semifinal involving the two squads. Seeded fourth and fifth are returning individual state runners-up Lexington and Toledo Central Catholic. The Minutemen are very strong in the back third of the lineup, while the Irish are very strong in the front third of the lineup; and the dual meet will come down to the middle few weights, as well as bonus point accrual.

First round matchups are as follows in Division II: St. Paris Graham vs. Athens, Lexington vs. Toledo Central Catholic, Claymont vs. Perry, and CVCA vs. Hamilton Ross. The following wrestlers on these teams are ranked top 16 in their division:

106: Eli Stickley (St. Paris Graham), Tyler Warner (Claymont), Josh Portillo (Toledo Central Catholic)
113: Eli Seipel (St. Paris Graham), Dustin Warner (Claymont), Ryan Bennett (CVCA), Matt Pool (Toledo Central Catholic), Collin Dees (Perry)
120: Nathan Tomasello (CVCA), Brent Moore (St. Paris Graham), Josh Mossing (Toledo Central Catholic)
126: Cody Burcher (Claymont), Josh Decatur (CVCA), Nate Hagan (Toledo Central Catholic)
132: Micah Jordan (St. Paris Graham), Aaran Gessic (Perry), Andy Dobben (CVCA), Drew Dillon (Claymont)
138: Alex Mossing (Toledo Central Catholic), Cordell Byrd (Hamilton Ross), Drew Avery (Claymont), Ricky Simonelli (CVCA), Nathan Henkle (St. Paris Graham)
145: Jeff Hojnacki (CVCA), Joseph Jones (Hamilton Ross)
152: Alex Marinelli (St. Paris Graham), Matt Dobben (CVCA)
160: Bo Jordan (St. Paris Graham), Alec Schenk (Perry)
170: Tyler McClellan (CVCA), Matt Dennis (Claymont), Ryan Sill (Perry), Drew Kasper (Lexington)
182: Jacob Kasper (Lexington), Colt Crall (Claymont), Josh Couchman (St. Paris Graham)
195: Josh Lehner (Lexington), Tyler Bridwell (Hamilton Ross), Evan Nichols (Perry), Nick Havener (CVCA)
220: Frank Hiemkreiter (Hamilton Ross), Garrett Harding (Claymont), Bailey Faust (Lexington), Anthony Welty (St. Paris Graham)
285: Billy Miller (Perry), Gavin Peacock (Hamilton Ross), Ravyn Workman (Lexington)

The small-school division, Division III, features the most asymmetry between the individual bracket and dual meet tournaments. Both the returning champion and runner-up in last year's individual bracket state tournament, whom are also likely to occupy those positions come three weeks from now, failed to make the state team tournament final eight.

Defending champion Waynedale was upset 35-31 in the regional final on Wednesday night by Tuslaw. Key to the upset was the absence of returning state runner-up Zane Nelson from the Bears' lineup, as well as back-to-back one-point losses in the middle of the dual meet. Troy Christian, last year's runner-up and returning all their state points from last year, lost in the regional semifinal rounds to Versailles nine matches to five; in that dual meet, all four of the Eagles' projected state finalists won, but they only had one other win.

As a result, the joint favorites are Tuslaw, which has extreme balance in their lineup and the potential to finish in the lower half of the top ten at individual state, and Delta. This Delta team was third in the individual tournament, is projected to finish third again, and features a trio of returning state placers. The top two seeds are Delta and Tuslaw, they draw Keystone and Blanchester respectively in the opening round. Other opening round matches feature third seed Amanda-Clearcreek against Johnstown Northridge, and fourth seed Versailles against Upper Sandusky.

The following top 16 ranked wrestlers in Division III are among the state team tournament field:

106: Jacob Speiss (Delta), Shane Johnston (Tuslaw), Jake Adkins (Johnstown Northridge)
113: none ranked
120: Dion Perez (Tuslaw), Kyle Keller (Delta), Billy Shannon (Amanda Clearcreek)
126: Dustin Marteney (Delta)
132: Dylan Marthey (Tuslaw), Matt Mangen (Versailles)
138: Jared Dilley (Amanda Clearcreek), Chance Marthey (Tuslaw)
145: Tyler Fahrer (Delta)
152: Jared Mattin (Delta), Thomas Williams (Johnstown Northridge), Charles Kenner (Upper Sandusky), Jeff Powell (Tuslaw)
160: D.J. Blair (Tuslaw)
170: J.J. Tipton (Amanda Clearcreek)
182: Jacob Worthington (Keystone)
195: Kyle Dieringer (Versailles)
220: Travis Boyd (Blanchester)
285: Anthony Verhovec (Johnstown Northridge), Andrew Smith (Versailles)


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