Wrestlers vie for berth at state tournament

Legendary Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable’s words of wisdom are among the most used for motivation in all of sports.

However, his most famous and most used, will be on display starting Friday in district wrestling tournaments at Trent Arena, Wilmington High School and Hobart Arena.

“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold,” Gable is famously quoted as saying. “They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.”

Sixteen wrestlers in each weight class will vie for a top-four finish and a chance to earn a medal in the shape of Ohio beginning Thursday at the state tournament in Columbus.

Here are five things to watch this weekend:

1. DPS presence: After years of squeaking a couple of wrestlers through to the district tournament, Dayton City Schools advanced seven wrestlers in Division II.

Thurgood Marshall’s Ayyoub Mohammed (113 pounds) and Rodrick Benson (285) were sectional runner-ups, as was Meadowdale’s Tyler Hamilton (285).

2. Unbeaten: Seven area wrestlers take perfect marks into the district.

Fairfield’s Zach Shupp (106) is the lone unbeaten in Division I with a 33-0 mark.

Three-time state champ Alex Marinelli (170) is 40-0 for Graham and defending state champ Nick Svarda of Madison is 37-0 at 220.

Returning state champs Logan Lacure of Dayton Christian (24-0, 145) and Mechanicsburg’s Kaleb Romero (44-0, 160) are perfect in D-III, along with Triad’s Jacob Thompson (31-0, 170).

3. Welcome back: National Trail’s Ben Sullivan is the seventh unbeaten, but is just 11-0 at 220 after missing a majority of the season recovering from an injury suffered late in the football season.

Lakota West’s Drew Fenton, a state qualifier in 2014, is finally back on the mat.

Fenton lost the end of his junior season and most of his senior season with an injury and enters the D-I district tournament at 220 with a 3-1 record.

4. Franklin circle: Talk about a unique tie.

In 2004, Franklin head coach Matt Franklin placed second in the state tournament while being coached by Ted Bray at Franklin.

In 2016, Matt Franklin will coach Hunter Bray, Ted’s son, in the district tournament.

5. Schedule: Wrestling begins at 3 p.m. Friday in Division II at Wilmington and Division III at Hobart Arena and 4 p.m. for Division I at Trent Arena.

On Saturday, Division I and Division III begin at 10 a.m. and Division II at 10:30. Division III finals begin at 4 p.m., Division II at 4:30 p.m. and Division I at 6 p.m.

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