COLUMBUS – Graham and Mechanicsburg put themselves in good position to polish off team championships on Saturday with Friday’s showing at the state wrestling championships.
The Falcons mathematically secured the title in Division II, putting seven athletes into the finals.
It will be the Falcons’ 17th state title in a row.
Ryan Thomas (160 pounds) punched his ticket with a first-period pin, while J.D. Stickley (138) and Rocky Jordan (152) earned major decisions. Jordan Crace (120), Mitch Moore (132), Gage Braun (182) and Kavan Sarver (195) earned decisions. Only Joey Sanchez (145) dropped his semifinal match, losing to defending champion Kevon Freeman of Mentor Lake Catholic.
“I thought if we hadn’t got at least six I’d have been disappointed,” Graham Coach Jeff Jordan said. “But we’ve got a lot of first-timers in the finals. We like to win the state on Friday night and then get as many state champs as we can on Saturday.”
Graham also had Tanner Jordan (106) and Jeffrey Thomas (126) alive in the consolation bracket after each fell Friday morning and then won two matches.
Mechanicsburg is in first place in Division III with 97.5 points to Genoa Area’s 80.
Alex Rhine (132), Tanner Smith (145), Colt Yinger (152) and Kaleb Romero (170) each won two more matches Friday to get into the finals. Tyler Wetzel dropped his second match of the day and fell into the consolation bracket.
“I was pumped. We stepped on the mat ready to go,” Mechanicsburg Coach Cameron Doggett said. “We’ll see how it goes, but putting four in the finals definitely helped. They’re ready.
In the morning quarterfinals, Mechanicsburg had advanced Wetzel and Romero with technical fall victories and Smith with a major decision. Rhine and Yinger both won narrow decisions.
The county schools also suffered their first casualties of the tournament Friday, with Mechanicsburg’s Corey Bogan (160) and Dylan Hartley (285) being eliminated and Triad’s Zack Zizzo (145) falling in the consolation bracket. Graham’s Johnny Shafer (220) lost his first match, won a round and then lost.
“It’s frustrating, but putting it all in the bigger picture and perspective, it’s a privilege for him to get here,” Triad Coach Tyler Graff said of Zizzo.
Saturday’s events begin at 10 a.m. with the consolation semifinals and placement matches. The championship finals will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.