Heading into the Division II district wrestling tournament at Wilmington High School on Friday, Graham coach Jeff Jordan thought his squad had a shot at putting 12 into the semifinals.
The Falcons boss was right on as the squad placed a dozen into this morning’s round en route to opening a lead in the team race.
“We wrestle a tough schedule to prepare us for this time of year,” Jordan said. “Hopefully, it gets us prepared because we are going to have a lot of tough matches in the semis.”
Graham just missed making it 13 in the semis.
Freshman 152 Joey Sanchez led returning state placer Davey Tunon of Clinton-Massie 2-1 with under 10 seconds remaining when he was thrown to his back and dropped a 6-2 decision.
“We thought Joey had a good shot,” Jordan said. “We knew it would be a barn burner. He did enough to win the match, but you can’t give up five like that. I think we could’ve won that match, but he has a long way back now.”
While a semifinal win assures a spot at the state tournament for a competitor, winning that finals match is even more important in setting up the draw at the tournament, which begins Thursday at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
“The big thing in winning the semis is that you are going to state and that is always a relief,” Jordan said. “But if you can step up one more time in the finals and get that win, then you are getting the best draw that you can get at the state tourmament.”
After taking a longer route in 2015, Urbana 120-pounder Jaylin Cameron is also one win from the state tournament. Cameron advanced after recording a pair of falls and will square off with Carroll’s Nick Berry.
“This is a lot nicer than wrestling back from the quarters,” Cameron said after recording a fall in 1:51 of his quarterfinal match with Isaac Bennett of Logan Elm. “Last year (advancing to state) motivated me a lot and that experience and confidence has helped me out a lot this year.”
Cameron will be joined in the semis by returning state runner-up Jack Harris at 195.
Wrestling begins at 10:30 a.m. today with the second round of consolations, followed by the semifinals. Finals are estimated to begin at 4:30 p.m.
• At Division III Hobart, Mechanicsburg placed six in the semis to take a 12-point lead over defending state champion Dayton Christian. The Indians lead with 72 points.