5. Joe Campbell, So., Tecumseh – Returning district qualifier
6. Mitchell Moyer, Sr., Urbana – Returning district qualifier
7. Justin Peterson, Sr., Kenton Ridge – Returning district qualifier
8. Kaleb Ream, So., Shawnee – Returning district qualifier
9. Lane McCombs, So., Southeastern – Returning district qualifier
10. Zack Zizzo, Sr., Triad – Returning district qualifier
Five Don’t Miss Matches:
1. GMVWA Holiday, Dec. 27-28, Nutter Center – Graham leads the field of the top teams in the area at the annual holiday tournament.
2. Clark County Clash, Jan. 7, Springfield High School – The King of Clark County will be crowned at the annual county meet.
3. Graham vs. St. Ed's, Jan. 21, 7 p.m. – The Falcons host the Eagles in the yearly showdown between the top Division II and Division I teams in the state.
4. Triad Invite, Dec. 21, Triad High School – The Cardinals host the 13th installment of their annual tournament.
5. State Duals, Jan. 25 – Feb. 12 – Graham looks to continue its dominance in the state team tournament while Mechanicsburg tries to win its first team title.
Five storylines to follow:
1. Graham goes for 17: The Falcons look to claim their 17th straight Division II state title and 19th overall. Graham also has eyes on the national title and enters the season ranked third nationally.
2. Mechanicsburg aims for title: After falling just short of team and individual state titles, the Indians return a strong group — and add transfer Colt Yinger, a state placer.
3. Freshmen to watch: Graham's Isaiah Stickley and Springfield's Ross Sherrock headline another banner group of freshmen who should make an impact.
4. New rule enforcement: Due to head, neck and shoulder injuries, the NFHSA has placed a new rule that has caused confusion on how it will be applied by officials. The new potentially dangerous hold occurs when a wrestler, from a standing position, is placed in a body lock with one or both arms trapped and then is lifted and is unable to use his arm(s) to break the fall.
5. Changes: Madison Plains and Fairbanks join the OHC while Tippecanoe and Stebbins are gone from the CBC as teams continue to shuffle through conferences.
Tecumseh High School wrestling coach Scott Herbert thought he had gotten past a lot of the grief.
Caleb Young, who was coming off a 23-16 junior campaign that ended with a fifth-place finish at the sectional tournament, was involved in a one-vehicle accident in early April.
After a couple of days on life support, Young died April 5 from head injuries.
It was his birthday.
“He wanted to make it to district and try to make it to state,” Herbert said. “He loved the sport, loved being around everybody. The kids took it hard.”
Seven months later, when Herbert and the Arrows began practice, Young’s absence hit Herbert again.
“Since the season started, it has sunk in more,” the coach said. “Our senior night against Stebbins, I hope is joyous, but I think it will be sad for everybody. There is just kind of an empty spot there.”
Young would have been the lone senior on the squad and his sister, Megan, is still with the program as a statistician.
“Wrestling is such a small community,” Herbert said. “You get so close to people because of the time and dedication it takes.”
Tecumseh will honor Young at senior night and throughout the season, dedicating the campaign to a wrestler who just wanted to help the team.
Over his three years, Young volunteered to wrestle any spot that needed to be filled and led by example.
“He plugged away and did what you asked him to do,” Herbert said. “This was going to be a big year for him. He was going to be a leader and he was looking forward to that.”
“We are kind of searching. We are kind of a leaderless team,” Herbert said. “I think the main thing the kids learned was to not ever take something for granted.”
Hunter Donnen is one of two juniors trying to pick up the leadership role, but in some ways Young’s spirit is helping to lead the Arrows.
“Everyone knew who he was and how good he was with everyone and how hard he worked and how much of a team guy he was. Even the freshmen know it,” Herbert said. “They are taking how hard he worked and taking it as their mantra this year.”
Division II: Graham junior Rocky Jordan won a state title last season after finishing second as a freshman.
Jordan seeks the 24th individual title for the Jordan family this season.
Rocky’s dad (and Graham coach) Jeff and brothers (Bo and Micah) each won four while his uncle Jim won four and his sons, Ben and Isaac, each won three. The Jordan family is 103-3 at the state tournament.
Rocky and Mitch Moore are the lone returning state champs for the Falcons, who seek their 17th consecutive Division II state title.
Division III: Mechanicsburg coach Cameron Doggett doesn't mind some of his wrestlers getting a late start due to football.
Success breeds success and both programs have definitely had both.
The football team, which had five state wrestling qualifiers and seven starters, advanced to the Division VI regional finals before falling to Marion Local. The wrestling team enters the season as the favorite to claim its first Division III state title.
Three-time state champ and Ohio State signee Kaleb Romero goes from quarterback to dominating presence on the mat while state placers Tyler Wetzel and Tanner Smith and state qualifiers Alex Rhine and Dylan Hartley also make the transition back to the mat.
The Indians return seven state qualifiers, nine who wrestled in the state team tournament championship match, and add transfer Colt Yinger, a state placer at Nelsonville-York.
Smith, Yinger and Romero are projected state champs in preseason rankings.