COLUMBUS – The 2018 OHSAA individual state wrestling tournament kicked off Thursday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus. Eleven local wrestlers from six schools represented West Central Ohio in the tournament this year.
The Van Wert Cougars had two participants at the state tournament for Division II. Gabe Steyer (132 pounds) won a 4-2 decision to advance in the championship bracket over Casey Ragle of Norwood. Steyer led 2-0 after the first period and doubled the lead to 4-0 to start the third. Ragle managed to score two points in the final few seconds of the match, but it was too little, too late as Steyer walked away victorious, 4-2.
Steyer’s teammate, Isaiah Bretz (138), lost a close match to Maxx Peters of Uhrichsville Claymont in the opening round. After an early lead, Bretz failed to hold on and lost in a decision, 12-10. His tournament then ended in the consolation round.
Van Wert head coach Ben Collins was happy with both his players’ efforts on the mat.
“I’m very proud of them for making it to the tournament. We thought coming in to today that both our guys would be able to place. Looks like that won’t happen and that’s a bummer. [Bretz] had a really good season although it didn’t end the way he wanted it to. He will learn from it, move on, and get better,” said Collins. “Gabe, on the other hand, won his first match. He has a quarterfinal match against the defending champ, so we will head to the hotel and be ready to get at it tomorrow.”
Antwerp’s Aidan McAlexander made quick work of Mike Prikryl of Rootstown in the 106-pound weight class. He jumped out to a 6-0 advantage through the first two periods and looked to dominate the match. McAlexander’s lead expanded to 10-3 at the start of the third as he held off his opponent 12-3 to win the match in a decision. He will wrestle Friday in the quarterfinals.
McAlexander had fun and looks forward to the next round of competition.
“I knew it was going to be a blast no matter what happened. I gave it my best effort and came away with the win. I’m ready for whoever I face Friday,” he said.
Paulding had two wrestlers representing its school at the tournament. Logan Mudel won a 4-2 decision in the 132-pound class against Noah Inboden of Nelsonville-York and advanced to the next round. The match was tied at 2-2 after three periods before a reversal at the end of the fourth gave Mudel the victory.
“I knew I couldn’t play sloppy on defense. Just because we were in overtime didn’t mean I had to go for something big. I was trying not to do something that might cost me the match,” Mudel said.
Ryan Woodring also competed Thursday in the 126-pound class but fell short of a win in the opening round. He was pinned at the 1:05 mark of the second period and suffered a shoulder injury late in the match but was still happy to be at the state tournament.
“My shoulder got tore up a little, but I’m still happy to be here. My goal at the beginning of the year was to make the state tournament and I met that goal,” Woodring said. He also dropped his second match in the consolation round with a pin at the 2:45 mark and was eliminated from competition.
Ada wrestler Chase Sumner won a close match in the 145-pound class to advance in the tournament. He was down 3-1 late in the contest before mounting a comeback near the end of the match. A reversal at the close of the match made it 4-3, Sumner. Opponent Nate Vasquez from Fremont St Joseph was left stunned as Sumner pulled out the late victory.
“It felt good to get that first win out of the way. I was a little sloppy at the start of the match but found my groove toward the end and finished the match out. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, we got the number one seed, so it should be a good match,” Sumner said.
Ottawa-Glandorf sent three wrestlers to Columbus for a shot at a state championship. Danny Rosales took a 3-1 decision in the 170-pound class after a stalemate opened the match. It remained 1-1 until Rosales turned it on late in the third period and pulled off the victory.
“It feels good to get that first match out of the way. When you get down here you just have to wrestle your match. There is no waiting on your opponent, you have to be the aggressor,” said Rosales.
Daniel Beemer defeated Cameron Van Brunt of Orrville to advance in the tournament. He won by a technical fall in the 182-pound weight class, 16-1. Grant Goecke fell to Ryan Marvin of Swanson in the opening round of the 160-pound class. He trailed 8-4 after two periods before cutting the lead down to three at the start of the third. That was as close as he could get to Marvin and lost the match in a decision, 10-6. Goecke lost his second match in the consolation round to Sevi Garza of Rittman, 11-0.
The Columbus Grove Bulldogs haven’t been to the state tournament since 2012 and sent two members of their team to Columbus. Head coach Eric Siefker recognized the significance of their accomplishment.
“It means a lot. We had great community support including a nice send-off Wednesday night. Having some younger kids come down here really helps. Their teammates get to see what it involves and maybe have the chance to participate at the state level one day soon.”
Although hopes were high, the Bulldogs failed to secure a win in the opening round. Dylan Sargent (220) was pinned at the 1:55 mark of the second period by Donovan McCollister from Nelsonville-York. He failed to secure a victory in the consolation round as Caleb Carpenter locked down the pin at the 2:29 mark of the match. Jeff Meyer (285) also succumbed to a pin at the 1:34 mark of the first period, but bounced back in the consolation round. He defeated Kade Clark of Belmont Union Local with a 6-1 decision and will continue his journey Friday.
Out of the 11 local participants, six remain alive in the championship round, one in the consolation round, and four have been eliminated.
Quarterfinals and the second consolation round begin Friday at 10 a.m.