Qualifying for the OHSAA state wrestling dual team tournament is the goal. Now that Beavercreek, Brookville and Versailles have done that the objective shifts to staying alive.
“I don’t put a lot into the seeds, personally,” said Brookville coach Samuel Sampson. “But I’m excited. I think we match up well. If we wrestle our best I think we can beat anybody. It’s a matter of who shows up.”
On Sunday, some of the state’s top programs meet at St. John Arena in Columbus for the dual team tournament. In Division I, four of the state’s top-ranked teams qualified. Beavercreek, seeded No. 8, opens with top-ranked and defending champ Lakewood St. Edward. The Beavers traveled to a quad meet at St. Edward in early December and lost 60-14.
“I felt like my team needed to see what it’s like to face the best in the state,” Beavercreek coach Gary Wise said. “Now here we are again facing them. It’s that old saying, ‘It is what it is.’ We just want to be competitive.
“Overall our team is improving. It’s the whole team. We have individuals who are improving leaps and bounds over the average person, but as a team I’m very happy with our progression.”
Among the wrestlers to watch are senior Kyah Patrick (ranked No. 8 in the state at 120 pounds by borofanohio.net), senior Gavin Bell (No. 1 at 182), freshman Tyler Hicks (No. 14 at 195) and senior Justin Knipper (No. 10 at 285).
The Beavers are an interesting mix of seniors and freshman. In Beavercreek’s 41-26 regional championship victory over Lebanon the Beavers had eight seniors, five freshmen and one junior in the starting lineup.
“I think it’s a pretty big deal (to qualify),” Wise said. “We’ve been competitive (at regional) before but there’s always been a gap between us and the final team. This year I felt we were right there with everybody. Mentally it helps knowing you are competitive with them.”
Beavercreek and Brookville qualified for the dual team championship for the first time in the tournament’s eight-year run. Versailles makes its fifth appearance and third straight.
Both Brookville and Versailles compete in D-III. No. 3 Versailles wrestles No. 6 Canfield South Range in the quarterfinals. No. 5 Brookville takes on No. 4 Pemberville Eastwood.
“To be in the top eight in the state of Ohio in any division, any sport is big,” Sampson said. “It really does mean a lot for our program. I think it could be a big stepping stone for us. Brookville has a lot of history. The expectation is to be good at wrestling at Brookville. For me personally, yes I want to win. But I want to help create good, young men first.”
Brookville qualified with a 51-22 victory over Miami East in a regional that also included Covington, Legacy Christian and Troy Christian. Troy Christian is ranked No 1 in the state and Legacy Christian is No. 3.
“They really hit their stride this past weekend. Our region was loaded. Every single wrestler on our team is rolling right now,” Sampson said.
Brookville is paced by senior Chase Dyer (No. 11 at 170), senior Luke Williams (No. 13 at 182) and Jon Mitchell (No. 17 at 285).
“Those guys are really on a different level right now,” Sampson said.
Versailles, which won its regional with a 31-29 victory over Allen East, is led by senior Isaac Grilliot (No. 14 at 195), sophomore Taran Tyo (No. 15 at 285), senior Cael Bey (No. 16 at 160) and sophomore Carson Bey (No. 17 at 138).
Versailles and Brookville have faced each other twice this season with the Tigers winning both 48-21 and 39-27. Top-seeded Milan Edison is the favorite, a team Brookville wrestled earlier this season and lost 54-18.
“I have a lot of respect for Versailles coach AJ Bey,” Sampson said. “I would love to have another shot at them. I don’t see that happening, most likely. Milan Edison is the overwhelming favorite. That (loss to Edison) doesn’t always tell the story. The scoring can get lopsided really fast. We have about four matches I think we can flip the script on and possibly change that. They’re definitely the favorite.
“I’m ecstatic to coach this group of young men. They work extremely hard. We may not have a bunch of state champs like some schools but we have a team. Every single one of these boys will give six minutes, win or lose, with everything they’ve got. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
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