Two matches draw Graham coach Jeff Jordan’s interest more than others each year — the state tournament and the dual with Lakewood St. Edward.
Graham and St. Ed’s have dominated the state tournament for more than a decade. They meet Saturday at 7 at Graham.
“Whoever wins that match is the king of the state,” Jordan said. “Besides the state tournament, St. Ed’s is the next biggest thing on the schedule.”
St. Ed’s, ranked No. 1 in Ohio in Division I, is ranked second nationally. Graham, tops in the state in D-II, is seventh nationally.
The Eagles have won the last two duals, but Graham won four in a row before that.
“Of course they are favored, but we can beat them if we wrestle well,” Jordan said. “It will be an interesting match; we are asking our young kids to step up.
“It is going to take a whole team effort. We’ve got to get wins in so many of the lower weights and then stay off our back and wrestle smart in the upper weights. But that has been the story for us the last couple of years.”
The dual will have several marquee matchups. One of the biggest will be the rematch between Graham’s Micah Jordan and Dean Heil at 132. Jordan handed Heil his lone loss of the season in the semifinals at the Ironman, dropping the Eagles from the top spot in the national rankings. Jordan enters the match ranked second nationally. Heil is third.
Strong and steady: Hamilton 285-pounder Robbie Parker finished third at the Perrysburg Invitational last weekend, the same result as the week before at the Fairfield Invitational.
Parker, who was 26-9 last season, is 11-6 this year with nine pins.
Nicc Wells has rebounded from a 12-16 season last year at 113 and is 9-4 this year for the Big Blue at the same weight.
Smith claims title: Carlisle 195-pounder Marcus Smith stopped Graham’s run of champions at the Valley View Invitational, claiming the title at 195 with a 16-7 win over Tyler Nelson of Winton Woods.
Smith is 9-2 on the season for the Indians, who finished third at the tournament.
Eagles on the move: Chaminade Julienne looks to improve on last season’s 13th-place finish at the Catholic Invitational this weekend at Olentangy High School.
The Eagles will enter the tournament with four seeded wrestlers compared to one last year. CJ will also have two-time state qualifier Lyle Plummer this year for the CIT. Plummer, 23-2, will enter as the second seed at 113.
Sophomore McKinley Screetch will enter as the fourth seed at 106 with Patrick Steffen (145) and Tommy Redinger (182) also seeded.
Adam Wilhelm (138) is the lone seed for Carroll while Badin’s Adam McCarrick (160) is seeded for the Rams.
On deck: Eaton will host its 43rd Eaton Invitational beginning tonight. Wrestling starts at 5:30 tonight and 11 a.m. Saturday.