Graham is heading to Columbus again.
The two-time defending Ohio High School Athletic Association state duals champion breezed through Division II, Region 16 action Wednesday night at home to advance to the state tournament Feb. 14 at St. John Arena.
“It’s always neat to go back there,,” Graham coach Jeff Jordan said.
The Falcons cruised through the regionals, 68-9 over Tippecanoe in the semifinals and 68-9 over Wapakoneta in the finals.
“I thought we would get on a roll and we did, we just need to keep it going,” Jordan said.
Graham opened the dual with Tippecanoe with pins by Justin Stickley (106), Eli Seipel (126) and Ryan Thomas (138) before Brent Moore claimed a 9-2 decision in the first match that went the distance.
Gabe Callicoat recorded the lone win for Tippecanoe, 10-9 at 152. Graham pinned out for a 68-3 lead before falling at 285.
“We won’t see Tippecanoe again until league,” Jordan said. “It was good to get a chance to see them.”
The win over Wapakoneta seemed to please Jordan the most.
“Wapakoneta is a good, well-balanced team,” Jordan said. “We are just a little more solid. Their coach does a great job with those boys.”
Stickley opened the dual with his second pin of the night. Mitch Moore (113) and Seipel (126) recorded pins with J.D. Stickley claiming a technical fall at 120 for a 23-0 lead before Wapakoneta got on the board.
Ryan Thomas got the Falcons back on a roll with a pin at 138. Brent Moore (145), Alex Marinelli (160) and Garrett Jordan (170) also recorded pins for Graham.
Kavan Sarver (195), Josh Couchman (220) and Brandon Hays (285) closed the match with forfeits for Graham.
With the regional title in hand, Jordan is looking forward to heading to St. John for the state tournament.
“These matches are not as exciting,” Jordan said. “It is more exciting as the tournament goes on, especially when we get to state. Hopefully we can wrestle well and make it to finals again.”
The state duals signal a switch in mindset. While team scores are kept at the sectional, district and state tournament, the focus switches more to how well each individual fares.
“I am looking forward to next weekend,” Jordan said. “Dual meets are very exciting and great for team atmosphere. But, once the dual section of the season is over it becomes more individual and about reaching those goals.”