Once again, area wrestlers are ready to flex their muscles and reach the potential that their optimistic coaches see in them starting with sectional tournaments on Friday and Saturday.
Annually, wrestling fans across the state turn to the Brakeman Report, a widely-respected analysis of who’s who in Ohio wrestling.
This year, the area is once again well-respected by Brian Brakeman, who has been publishing his report on the state wrestling scene since 1972. Last year, he correctly picked 30 of the 42 eventual state champs, so he knows his stuff.
Once again this season, the Brakeman Report projects Graham as the Division II state champion, with six projected state champs: Seniors Ryan Taylor (120), Blake Kastl (145), Isaac Jordan (160) and Huston Evans (182), junior Bo Jordan (152) and sophomore Micah Jordan (126).
Also ranked in the Brakeman are Falcons senior Darin Bovey (285, 19th), sophomore Nate Henkle (132, 15th) and freshmen Eli Stickley (106, 11th) and Eli Seipel (113, 13th).
Also rated in D-II are Kenton Ridge sophomore Preston Bowshier (126, eighth) and seniors Bobby Mounts (170, 16th) and Colin Day (182, 21st); Shawnee senior Lucas Sparks (13th at 285, although he is wrestling 220) and Urbana senior Sam Harris (195, eighth).
In D-III, Mechanicsburg is ranked by Brakeman to finish the highest in school history, second. However, one of the Indians’ big guns, junior Austin Black (projected sixth at 138), blew out his shoulder in December and is out for the season, seriously denting their state title aspirations.
Still, the ’Burg will be formidable, with three wrestlers forecasted to place, led by projected state champ Max Erwin (152). Also projected to place are senior Dalton Hiltibran (126, fifth) and sophomore Austin Reese (runner-up at 113, but wrestling 120), while freshman Joe Ziegler (10th at 120, but wrestling 132) has placement potential.
Other local grapplers projected in D-III are Greeneview sophomore Armani Robinson (170, 16th) and freshman Andrew Hoskins (120, 13th).
In D-I, two of Springfield’s upper weights received mention as sophomore Devin Nye (220) is projected 12th and senior Darryl Grayson (182) is ranked 21st.
Top four finishers in sectional advance to district competition next weekend.