Here are six storylines to watch for this high school wrestling season.
1. Graham’s 18th straight Division II state team title to finish the season in early March at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center is a given. The Falcons are loaded with five returning state champions: Jordan Crace, Mitch Moore, J.D. Stickley, Ryan Thomas and Rocky Jordan. A senior, Moore could join the elite four-time champion club. Jordan, also a senior, is seeking his third state title. There are four other Falcons’ returning state placers.
Graham has 19 overall team titles; its first in 1982 when current coach Jeff Jordan and his brother Jim anchored the Falcons. Graham is second only to Lakewood St. Edward’s 31 big-school team titles, including 19 of the last 21 seasons.
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2. The Ohio High School Athletic Association gave teams the option of bumping up a division for the state duals tournament. Graham coach Jeff Jordan was game for that. Count on Graham and St. Edward being placed in opposite brackets and packing OSU’s St. John Arena for a rousing D-I finals showdown.
3. Like Graham’s Mitch Moore, Tommy Hoskins of Legacy Christian also is shooting for this fourth state title. His first two championships were with Dayton Christian and last season at Legacy Christian in Xenia. He’s signed with Oklahoma. The last to win four straight Ohio titles was Kaleb Romero, who led Mechanicsburg to its first (D-III) state team title last season. Romero is a freshman 174-pounder at OSU.
4. Out of bounds won’t necessarily stop a pin anymore. That’s a major rule change and more in line with collegiate wrestling. It doesn’t matter if a wrestler is on his back and out of bounds, as long as his opponent has one point – an arm, leg or foot – in bounds.
5. Dayton Christian is back after not fielding a team last season. A former D-III state power, the Crusaders were rocked by transfer violations soon after winning the D-III state team title in 2015 and remain on probation by the OHSAA through this season. Edgewood grad Zach Short succeeds Nick Reiter as DC’s coach. Reiter led the Crusaders to a D-III state runner-up in 2016 in his only season.
6. Nathan Carmack left a successful program at Carlisle to succeed Greg Pittroff at Miamisburg. Carmack is a Miamisburg grad.