Columbus – Area wrestlers did a fantastic job in representing northeast Ohio and their respective high schools in Columbus last week.
Leading the way were the Crestwood Red Devils who qualified a school record seven wrestlers. After finishing second in the Akron Firestone district the week before, head coach Dave Wrobel was confident that his team could make a run at a top 5 finish in Columbus. Five of his seven qualifiers had previous state tournament experience and that experience paid off in the first round as the Red Devils won 5 out of 7 matches Thursday afternoon. On Friday the Red Devils found themselves competing against many of the pre-tournament favorites in their respective weight classes and success was harder to come by. When wrestling concluded for the day the only Red Devil to be unscathed was senior Cody Ryba who kept alive his hope of being Crestwood’s first state wrestling champion since 1994 (Brian Singleton). Coach Wrobel, like most wrestling coaches had mixed feelings as he assessed the results from Friday’s action. He felt his team “competed well” … was “ecstatic for Cody Ryba’s results” … and “dealt with the pain of not seeing all his wrestlers make it to the placement round”. On Saturday evening, Cody Ryba put the finishing touches on a brilliant season for Crestwood when he won the 171 lb. championship with a 5-4 decision over Jake Cramer of Oak Harbor. The victory moved Crestwood up to 6th place in the final team standings.
The Garfield G-Men qualified three wrestlers for the state wrestling tournament which was also a school record for them. Coach Alan Harbert was “pleased with how well we competed” … “thrilled that all 3 kids were wrestling in the placement round” … and “very excited that two of his wrestlers were underclassmen and would be returning to his practice room next season”. Kevin Stock was the highest finisher (4th) for the G-Men but lost his chance to wrestle for an individual championship when he was defeated in his semi-final match, 8-7. The final score was ultimately decided by a penalty point earlier in the match.
Cardinal’s Casey Johns lost his opening match and then rallied to win his next four matches to make the consolation bout. Johns found himself in familiar territory matched against his freshman nemesis from Beachwood, Sammy Gross, whom he defeated in the districts by a pin in the second period. Sammy, however, got his revenge by besting Casey 4-1 in Columbus.
Cardinal’s other state placer, Ziegler, won his first round match before falling to the eventual second place finisher. In the consolation bracket Chad won two more matches before falling to a third place finisher and winning his fifth place match 7-3.
The Southeast Pirates were looking to get back on track after a one-year absence from the state wrestling tournament. The Pirates had two wrestlers qualify this year, with one of them trying to finish a Cinderella season. Junior Tylor Brokaw placed 5th in the sectional wrestling tournament two weeks ago and thought his season was over, only to gain entrance into the district tournament last week as an alternate. Tylor took full advantage of his second opportunity by placing 4th at districts and punching his ticket to the state tournament. His story book season ended in Columbus when he lost his first two matches. Teammate Ravonne Lawrence did however take 6th place at 171 lbs to give second year Coach Bob Noall his first state placer. Coach Noall was extremely happy for Ravonne, “he did all the right things to put himself in position this year and hopefully it will lead to bigger things for our program”.
Complete results can be found at the OHSAA website: http://www.ohsaa.org