State wrestling: Shawnee senior enjoying ‘bonus time’; Graham leads D-II title race

Shawnee senior Kaleb Ream thought winning a match at last season’s state tournament was pretty good. So good, in fact, he decided to add on a couple more this time around.

After dropping into the consolation round and on the verge of elimination, Ream won his third straight match — two of those coming on Friday — to keep himself alive for a third-place finish in the 106-pound weight class in Division II. Ream beat Wauseon’s Damon Molina 4-0 and added a 12-0 major decision over Batavia’s Brandon Sauter to reach the consolation semifinals.

»RELATED: Girls, boys basketball district, regional schedules

Ream can finish as high as third and no worse than sixth in Saturday’s final rounds.

“I’m out there to place as high as I can,” Ream said. “It feels even better and better. The last match (to secure a podium finish) took off a lot of stress and that match was like, ‘all right, I got this so let’s just see what I can do.’ It’s bonus time.”

Ream faces Drake Cerny of Caledonia River Valley in the consolation semis.

It’s not a place he thought he would be at the beginning of the season.

»RELATED: Springfield set to face Elder for 2nd straight season

“To be honest, in the beginning of the year no. I didn’t believe in myself at all,” Ream said. “But I kept working and kept working. I didn’t give up. I kept fighting through it. Now I’m here.”

Ream hit a lull midway through the season, partly due to working his way down from the 113-pound class to 106.

He went 1-2 at last year’s state tournament.

“I thought last year was my year. But I had a bad draw,” Ream said. “State sometimes is just the luck of the draw. This year that first loss really woke me up. I had to fight through it. I belong here. I know I do.”

Graham on top: The Falcons advanced three wrestlers into D-II state title matches and have three still alive in the consolation bracket. Graham, winners of the last 18 D-II state team titles, enters Saturday's final round with 93.5 points.

Second-place Aurora has 77.5 points with two wrestlers in the finals and five in the consolation round.

One of the decisive matches will be at 152. Graham senior Jeffrey Thomas faces Aurora freshman Dylan Fishback for the state championship.

Also for the Falcons, Nick Moore goes for a title at 132 and Alek Martin at 138. Nolan Gessler (106), Isaiah Stickley (160) and Johnny Shafer (285) can still earn points for Graham in the consolation brackets.

Podium position: Ream and the remaining Falcons will be joined on the podium by three more area wrestlers.

Northwestern’s Nathan Snyder scored a pair of wins Friday to reach the D-II consolation semifinals at 195.

Greeneview’s Devan Hendricks wrestles in the match to determine seventh and eighth place at 145 in D-III.

Urbana’s Trevor Stewart also wrestles in the seventh and eight place match at 170 in D-II.

Wrestling resumes Saturday with the consolation semifinals at 10 a.m. and the third, fifth and seventh-place matches at 11. The state championships finals start at 5:45 p.m.

About the Author