ST. PARIS – Graham got off to a hot start in the OHSAA team duals regional competition at Graham High School on Wednesday, beating both Celina and Bellefontaine to advance to the regional semifinals next Wednesday.
“We had a real good night. We won 28 straight matches. I’m happy with our wins tonight,” GHS Coach Jeff Jordan said.
In their first match, the Falcons faced Celina, which had opened with a win over Benjamin Logan.
The final score of the Graham-Celina match was a “perfect” 84-0, with Graham able to secure the maximum six points in each weight class.
“This team is a different team than I’ve ever coached,” Jordan said. “We’ve really come together here the last month.”
Jordan Crace got a win by forfeit at 106 pounds, followed by the rest of the roster getting pins. Jeffrey Thomas (126) won by fall in 29 seconds, followed by Justin Stickley (120, 2:11), Mitch Moore (126, 1:27), Ryan Thomas (132, 2:48), Brent Moore (138, 1:43), Rocky Jordan (145, 0:36), Joey Sanchez (152, 3:54), Garrett Jordan (160, 2:39), Alex Marinelli (170, 0:40), Gage Braun (182, 0:22), Kavan Sarver (195, 1:55), Johnny Shafer (220, 1:07) and Brandon Hays (285, 3:02).
On the other side of the bracket, Bellefontaine took a lead over Indian Lake midway through the match at 36-10. The Lakers roared back with 28 unanswered points to take a 38-36 lead into the final and deciding 285-pound weight class.
Bellefontaine came away with a 5-4 decision by sophomore Braden Jacobs to clinch the match 39-38.
The Chieftains’ reward? Getting demolished by Graham in the regional quarterfinals.
Graham beat the Chiefs 81-0, cruising on its way toward another state team title.
Crace got things going with a technical fall to give the Falcons a 5-0 lead. Jeffrey Thomas (113), Justin Stickley (120), Mitch Moore (126), Ryan Thomas (132), Brent Moore (138) and Rocky Jordan (145) each followed with a pin to put Graham in a commanding 41-0 lead.
At 152 pounds, Joey Sanchez strained to record a last-second technical fall. Garrett Jordan also picked up a technical fall at 160 pounds.
It was pins the rest of the way, with Alex Marinelli (170), Kavan Sarver (195) and Brandon Hays (285) earning victories by fall. Gage Braun (182) and Johnny Shafer (220) won by forfeit.
“Our upper weights are getting some confidence and we’re getting a lot of points. We pin a lot of people now,” Jordan said.
In the same region at Wapakoneta, River Valley defeated Urbana, 42-34.
Jaylin Cameron (120), Braeden Lehman (138), Timmy Sidders (160), Jack Harris (220) and Jack DeLong (285) got pins for Urbana. Ezra Lee (132) earned a major decision.
“Our guys wrestled hard,” UHS Coach Ryan Pine said. “We won six, they won six head to head. We gave up 12 points in forfeits and it was too much to overcome against them.”
Wapakoneta defeated St. Mary’s and then beat River Valley to advance. The Redskins will wrestle Graham next Wednesday.
“They’re going to give us a better match,” Jordan said.
In the Division III state duals, Mechanicsburg had a bye.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.