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2020 OHSAA Team Wrestling State Tournament Preview

2020 OHSAA State Wrestling Dual Team Tournament Preview

By Josh Lowe, InterMat
Josh Lowe is in his eleventh year as the national high school wrestling analyst for InterMat, while also contributing to additional local and national wrestling media outlets for several years. Lowe is a wrestling tournament coordinator for his alma mater, Beachwood High School, including an OHSAA sectional tournament. Outside of wrestling, Josh is a licensed OHSAA baseball, fast-pitch softball, and soccer official. He also serves as a volunteer assistant soccer coach at Beachwood High School. Lowe has Bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and Economics from The Ohio State University, as well as an MBA in Accounting from Baldwin-Wallace University. He is currently an accounting professional at a nursing home, resides in Mayfield heights, and was honored with an OHSAA Media Service Award at the 2013 individual state wrestling tournament.

The OHSAA state wrestling dual team tournament celebrates its eight year, which enables the full 14-person wrestling lineup to influence the outcome of a state tournament. This is in addition to the title-winning team at the individual state wrestling tournament, an event that has a 75-year head start in tradition.
For a second consecutive year, the 24 qualifying teams (eight per division) were determined by one-day regional tournaments held across the state this past Saturday. This year’s change is that the teams were seeded for quarterfinal pairing by a vote of the coaches from the qualifying teams. In previous years, a selection committee determined the seeds. As a result, the pairings were released on Tuesday, which is after publication of this preview.
Two of the three champions from last year’s dual team tournaments have advanced to the quarterfinal round. In Division I, Lakewood St. Edward seeks a fourth title in five years, which would also be its fifth overall in the event. While in Division II, St. Paris Graham Local is the defending champion, and has won a state title in all seven years of the event. Genoa Area, champions of Division III the previous two years, was eliminated in the regional quarterfinal round.
Two additional team that have won the dual team state tournament previously are among the 24-team field on Sunday, 2015 champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights in Division I and 2017 champion Milan Edison in Division III.
Nine schools will be making their debut appearance in the dual team state tournament, including five in Division III: Bellefontaine Benjamin Logan, Brookville, Canfield South Range, Pemberville Eastwood, and Sarahsville Shenandoah. Bellevue and Louisville will be making first trips in Division II, with Beavercreek and Columbus Upper Arlington doing the same in Division I.
Division III
Returning runner-up Milan Edison projects to be a formidable foe, returning four wrestlers with individual state tournament experience: a trio of state placers in Alec Homan (120), 2018 state champion Casey Barnett (138), and Jacob Brewer (195) along with state qualifier Shadrick Slone (152). Other key contributors for the Chargers include district placers Jakey Neer (132) and Logan Lloyd (170), as well as impact freshmen Max Hermes (106), Hunter Vogus (126), and Landon Cook (160). They have notable dual meet victories over state qualifiers Brookville, Washington C.H. Miami Trace, and Wadsworth as well as one over regional runner-up Oregon Clay.
Just two other teams in the small-school field have previously participated in the dual team state tournament, Apple Creek Waynedale and Versailles. This is a third consecutive appearance for Versailles, who has advanced to the semifinal in each of the last two years; the Tigers have reached state in four of the last five years, and five times overall. For Waynedale, it’s the third appearance in the last five years, each coming in an even-numbered year. The Golden Bears used wins in the last six matches of the dual to rally back from a 29-9 deficit for a 42-29 win over five-time state participant Massillon Tuslaw in its regional final.
In terms of individuals, Versailles is led by state qualifiers Cael Bey (160) and Isaac Grilliot (195), along with state alternate Carson Bey (138). Waynedale is led by returning state placer Seth Unkefer (120), state qualifier Micah Hershberger (170), 2018 state qualifier Storm Stanley (132), as well as with state alternates Peyton Lemon (160) and Cam Jordan (195).
Brookville was a regional semifinalist the previous two years; the Blue Devils are led by two returning individual state qualifiers in Devon Myers (152) and Chase Dyer (182), Dylan Starnes (160) was a district placer, with three others that won two matches at the district tournament. Eastwood was a regional runner-up last year to state champion Genoa, while this year’s Eagles are led by state placers Gavin Owens (120) and Brandon Hahn (126), along with state qualifier Bryce Maynard (113).
Benjamin Logan competed in most previous years as a Division II school. In the regional final it upended returning state dual team participant Marion Pleasant, 43-36 with a decision and pin in the last two matches of the dual meet. The Raiders are led by returning state qualifiers Joel Abbott (145) and Steele Boysel (170).
Shenandoah avenged last year’s 48-28 regional quarterfinal loss to Amanda-Clearcreek with a 63-18 victory in this year’s regional final. The Zeps are led by bookend returning state qualifiers, Alex Overly (106) and Easton Hitchens (285).
South Range had not reached further than the regional quarterfinals until this year’s tournament. With respect to individuals, they are led by a pair with state tournament experience, Michael Markulin (120) and Anthony Czap (220).
Division II
This division has been the fiefdom of St. Paris Graham Local for basically two decades. The Falcons have won dual team titles in all seven previous years of the event, though their 2018 state title came in Division I; while on the individual side, they seek a 20th straight title next month. This year’s regional final victory came by a 50-27 score over 2018 state champion Wauseon.
From an individual perspective, Graham is led by returning state champion Alek Martin (145), two-time state runner-up Nick Moore (138), state placer Nolan Gessler (113), two-time state qualifier Trace Braun (152), state qualifiers Chris Kelly (132) and Nolan Neves (220), along with impact freshman Nick Hart (126).
A pair of teams from Northeast Ohio are right there in an attempt to deny the Falcons yet another state title, Aurora and Louisville. These teams finished second and third respectively in the individual state tournament last year, while Aurora was runner-up to Graham in their debut at the dual team state tournament last year, losing 38-24 in the championship match.
For the second straight year, Aurora knocked off 2018 dual team state runner-up Mentor Lake Catholic in the regional final. The Greenmen are led by state runners-up David Cumberledge (145) and Dylan Fishback (160), state placer Ethan Anderson (170), state alternates Robbie Sagaris (113) and Evan Anderson (182/195), along with impact sophomores Codie Cuerbo (106) and Tyler Lillard (152).
Louisville makes its debut in the dual team tournament after knocking off returning state semifinalist Lisbon Beaver 54-21 in the regional final, which was a reversal of last year when they lost 51-21 to Beaver Local at the same stage. The Leopards are led by state champions Garrett Lautzenheiser (120/126) and Davin Rhoads (132), state placers Jax Leonard (170) and Brent Paulus (195), state qualifier Blake Robbins (220), district placers Daniel Kennedy (152) and Brenden Severs (160), along with impact freshman Dominic Hoffarth (106).
The only other debutant in this year’s field is Bellevue, whose previous high-water mark in the dual team event was regional semifinal appearances on multiple occasions, including last year. This year’s Redmen are led by state runner-up Justin Mayes (182), state qualifiers Gabe Alda (113) and Collin Corapi (170), state alternates Noah Alda (126) and Aiden Nunez (195), district placer Dylan Adkins (220), and impact freshman Max Ray (145).
On the other hand, Hamilton Ross is a veteran of the dual team state tournament, with this being its sixth appearance. The Rams are 2-3 in previous opening rounds, all coming from lower seed positions (wins in 2013 and 2018; losses in 2015, 2016, and 2019). Returning state champion Alex Coleman (285) is the team anchor, while Sean Beltran (145) is a returning state alternate.
Rounding out the field are Millersburg West Holmes, Sandusky Perkins, and Washington C.H. Miami Trace.
For West Holmes, this is its second appearance in the event, having previously lost 61-12 to Aurora in last year’s quarterfinal round. In this year’s regional final, the Knights upended New Lexington 39-24, which was a third straight defeat for the Panthers at this stage of the event. Leading the way for West Holmes are multi-time state placers Cael Woods (113) and Tyler Masters (120), while Jack Welsh (106) and Walker Uhl (160) are returning state alternates.
It is also the second appearance for Perkins, who rallied from 33-10 down with wins in the last five matches to beat Indian Valley 35-33 in last year’s quarterfinal round. At this year’s regional, the Pirates won eleven weight classes in each of their three dual meets. Anchoring the lineup are state qualifiers Max Oprzedek (126) and Tai Carter (182), district placers J.D. Thom (138), and Cole Weatherly (160), along with Walsh Jesuit Ironman placer Sam McNulty (285).
Miami Trace returns to the state tournament after losing in the opening round as the eighth seed in both 2017 and 2018. The Panthers feature state qualifier McKale Callahan (145), state alternate Weston Melvin (113), and two others that won a pair of district tournament matches last year.
Division I
Lakewood St. Edward is the perennial favorite in the big-school division, as the Eagles are the defending dual team champions and have won four titles in the seven previous editions of the event. In the individual tournament, they have won five straight and are after a ninth title in ten years. Looking at their lineup, it is anchored by state champions Bryce Hepner (152) and Padraic Gallagher (160); state placers Sean Seefeldt (113), Richard Delsanter (120), Scott Richter (132), and Hudson Hightower (170); state qualifier Michael Garcar (182); along with impact sophomores Wyatt Richter (106), Evan Bennett (138), and Luke Geog (145).
Joining St. Edward and Graham as the only teams to qualify for all eight editions of the dual team state tournament is Brecksville-Broadview Heights. The Bees lost just four total bouts in three regional dual meets to qualify for the state tournament. They are 6-1 in the opening round at dual team state, including the 2015 state championship and a runner-up finish from 2014. In terms of individuals they are led by four state placers: Jimmy Carmany (132), 2018 state champion Victor Voinovich (145), Ben Vanadia (195), and Ethan Hatcher (220). Augmenting the lineup are state alternate Pito Castro (106), impact freshman Kaden Jett (113), along with state qualifiers James Bronstrup (138) and Anthony Rizzo (160).
Making a sixth straight dual team state appearance is Elyria, who was runner-up in this event in 2016, along with three additional semifinal appearances. Anchoring the Pioneers lineup are seven returning state placers: state champions Peyton Fenton (113) and Mick Burnett (138), state runner-up Enrique Munguia (152), three-time state placer Dylan Shawver (126), along with Bryce Allison (120), Nate Burnett (132), and Jake Evans (182). Other contributors include Junior National freestyle All-American Colin Noel (106) and district placer Ben Doehr (195).
Wadsworth makes a second consecutive appearance to the dual team state tournament, losing last year in the quarterfinal 46-20 to Elyria. In the individual tournament, the Grizzlies have finished top five in the standings four of the last five years. Four returning state placers anchor the roster: Mason Brugh (113), Landen Hacker (126), Dominic Loparo (182), and Jonathan List (195); they are augmented by 2018 state placer Logan Messer (160), 2018 state qualifier Michael Lewarchick (120), impact freshman Christopher Earnest (106), and district placer Hunter Griffin (132). About two weeks ago they upset Brecksville in a dual meet, final score 38-27.
Returning to the dual team tournament for a fourth time in five years and seeking the first state tournament win in Division I for the Central District, is Dublin Coffman. Yet again, the Shamrocks knocked off four-time team state participant Marysville in the regional final, this time it was by a 52-9 score. Leading the Coffman lineup is state champion Seth Shumate (195), who is joined by five others with state tournament experience: Corey Crawford (106), Davante Cooper (120/126), Ishmael Ayoub (132), James Baumann (132/138), Mitchell Broskie (160), and Riley Ucker (220).
Making a third state appearance, and also yet to win a match at St. John Arena, is Cincinnati Elder who lost 57-9 to St. Edward in 2016 and 51-10 to Brecksville in 2015. The Panthers are led by state qualifiers Jack Collins (126) and Seth Lambers (152), 2018 state placer William Doepker (113), and state alternate Jack Roth (120).
Sunday will mark state tournament debut appearances for Beavercreek and Upper Arlington, each of whose previous furthest advancement at the regional level was the semifinal round.
Beavercreek advanced to the state tournament most notably with a 47-27 quarterfinal win over five-time state participant Mason, who had cleared the region each of the previous three years. Futher, this reversed a 42-33 semifinal defeat from last year. State placer Gavin Bell (182) is the individual anchor for the Beavers, who also feature two-time state alternate Kyah Patrick (126).
Upper Arlington reached state with a 38-30 regional final victory over Lancaster, who qualified for state in 2015 and 2019; it was a fourth regional runner-up finish for the Golden Gales in the last five years. The state tournament participating Golden Bears are led by five wrestlers that participated at the individual state tournament last year: Jake Thomas (106), Daniel Beam (113), Jesse Bowers (138), Mason McHugh (145), and David Soghomonyan (170); two others won a pair of matches at the district tournament last year.