Three venues, different experience at state wrestling but ‘I’'m just glad we get to have it’

Miami East's Olivia Shore (right) is the first two-time female state qualifier in the OHSAA tournament. Shore has won two OHSWCA girls state titles. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

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Miami East's Olivia Shore (right) is the first two-time female state qualifier in the OHSAA tournament. Shore has won two OHSWCA girls state titles. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

Tournament was canceled last year due to COVID-19

VANDALIA – This weekend’s state wrestling tournament has a different venue (actually, three different ones). It has a different atmosphere. And it has a different schedule with split sessions on Saturday, meaning some teammates won’t be able to cheer each other on.

But there is a state tournament.

The OHSAA wrestling state championships run Saturday and Sunday at three different high schools in the Columbus area. That’s a better alternative to last season’s state tournament which was first postponed, then cancelled. Having to tournament at all, with COVID-19 precautions in place of course, is certainly an acceptable alternative.

“I’m just glad we get to have it,” Butler coach Mark Peck said. “Last year we had four state qualifiers and three of them seniors. That was a rough conversation when we had to break the news to them.

“I don’t think the experience is going to be the same (as Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center). But honestly for the three guys we have going who haven’t qualified before, in hindsight it may be a little easier for them from the standpoint of nerves and anxiety. It can be pretty intimidating.”

The Dayton area qualified 53 wrestlers from 20 different teams to the tournament. Centerville had an area-high five in Division I and Legacy Christian an area-best seven in D-III. Four teams qualified one wrestler each in D-II.

The D-I tournament will be held at Hilliard Darby High School. The D-II tournament is at Highland High School in Marengo. D-III is at Marion Harding High School.

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Beavercreek sophomore Tyler Hicks (top) is a two-time state qualifier. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

Beavercreek sophomore Tyler Hicks  (top) is a two-time state qualifier. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

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Beavercreek sophomore Tyler Hicks (top) is a two-time state qualifier. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

Saturday’s first session includes wrestlers in weight classes from 106 pounds through 145. After a break, weight classes 152 through 285 compete in the afternoon session. All remaining wrestlers return Sunday for a morning session. The championship round (first-place matches only) start at 4:30 p.m.

“The thing I’m going to miss, from a coaching standpoint and fan standpoint, is not getting to see the other divisions,” Peck said. “We share a camaraderie with the other schools so I enjoy seeing the Division II and Division III kids wrestle. No matter what division you are the kid have a whole lot of respect for each other.

“At the end of the day, I’m not sure I want to be (OHSAA wrestling administrator) Tyler Brooks and having to call those shots. He’s trying to do the best he can do. You’re going to have your critics. He has, probably with the help of several others, pulled this postseason off for us. We have to be thankful for that.”

Here are additional storylines to watch:

Beavercreek (D-I): Sophomore Tyler Hicks (170-pound weight class) is a two-time state qualifier and freshman C.J. (Calvin) Crawford (195) also qualified. Crawford, who wasn’t in the varsity lineup at the start of the season, is the fifth freshman to reach state in program history and fourth since 2017 (Hicks, Logan Besecker in 2020; Gavin Bell in 2017).

Centerville (D-I): The Elks send five to state for the second straight season and third time in program history (1985).

Junior Damion Ryan (120), a three-time state qualifier, could win his 100th match at state. Junior Luke Acuna (126), also a three-time qualifier, won No. 100 at sectionals. Senior Jon Bruder (220) is a two-time qualifier. Sophomores Nate Stevens (106) and Gunnar Pool (195) also qualified for the Elks, who finished second at districts for their highest finish since 2013.

Covington (D-III): Seniors Kellan Anderson (126) and Cael Vanderhorst (138) are the Buccs’ second and third four-time state qualifiers, joining Andrew DeHart (2008-11). Vanderhorst also holds the career record for pins with 116.

Freshman Michael Hagan (106) is the program’s fifth second-generation state qualifier. His dad, Mike, qualified in 1986.

Legacy Christian Academy (D-III): The Knights qualified seven to state, making them a favorite to win the team title. LCA won five district championships with freshman Eli Campbell (106), freshman Dillon Campbell (113), junior Camron Lacure (132), junior and Ohio State commit Gavin Brown (145) and junior Nick Alvarez (170). Brown won a state title in 2019.

Junior Logan Attisano (120) and sophomore Boede Campbell (138) finished second at district.

Miamisburg (D-I): Jayden Cochran (106) is the Vikings’ second freshman in program history to qualify for state.

Miami East (D-III): The Vikings send four wrestlers, three with the same last name. Senior Olivia Shore (106), sophomore Cooper Shore (113) and junior Max Shore (120) keep adding to the family legacy. Olivia, who won her second title recently at the OHSWCA girls state tournament, is the first two-time female qualifier at the OHSAA tourney. Max is a three-time state qualifier and Cooper a two-timer. Max suffered an injury in December that nearly ended his season. He returned for the sectional tournament and won both sectional and district championships. His three sectional and three district titles are both school records.

Trotwood-Madison (D-I): Senior Amir Harris (138) is the Rams first state qualifier since 2013. He’s one of two Trotwood wrestlers with more than 100 victories, joining 1999 state champ Vincent Gay. One of just three wrestlers on the team, Harris’ options for wrestling partners were limited to 170-pound junior Dewayne Grant and junior heavyweight Wellington Lowe.

STATE WRESTLING SCHEDULE

TODAY

10 a.m. – Session 1 (Weight classes 106 through 145) - Rounds completed shall be championship preliminaries, championship quarterfinals, consolation round 1, and consolation round 2. 0

4:30 p.m. – Session 2 (Weight class 152 through 285) - Rounds completed shall be championship preliminaries, championship quarterfinals, consolation round 1, and consolation round 2.

SUNDAY

10 a.m. – Session 3 (All weight classes) - Rounds completed shall be championship semifinals, consolation quarterfinals, consolation semifinals, and 3rd / 5th / 7th placement matches

4:30 p.m . – Session 4 (All weight classes) - Championship matches

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