By Garth Shanklin
After clinching their position on the podium in the morning session, local wrestlers returned to the mat at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus to sort out their final positions. One wrestler clinched a spot in the championship match.
Williamsburg’s Brian Stears clinched the school’s first-ever appearance in the state finals, defeating Ashtabula St. John’s Derek Elrod 3-1 in sudden victory overtime.
Stears pinned Genoa Area’s Noah Koch to advance to the semifinals earlier in the day.
Williamsburg has had a third place finish in school history, but no Wildcat wrestler had ever advanced to the championship match.
Other county wrestlers also made the state podium.
Bethel-Tate’s Trey Sanders started the day with a tough match against the top overall seed in Division III’s 126-pound class, Marion Pleasant’s Carter Wolf. Wolf pinned Sander in 3:28, dropping him to the consolation bracket.
His consolation match was a bout against Versailles’ Drew Poling. Sander rolled, defeating Polling 20-3 via tech fall to clinch a spot on the podium.
In his next match, Sander dominated early but only picked up two points, which became costly. He would drop the match to Buckeye Local’s Brian Palmer 5-4.
The defeat sends Sander to the seventh-place match on Saturday, March 10. He will face off against Akron Manchester’s Jake White.
Goshen’s Chase Huff hit the mat third in the morning. Huff fell to Perry’s Kyle Rowan via pin, falling to the consolation bracket. His first consolation match came against Graham’s Trevor Braun, whom he defeated 5-2 in the district title bout. Huff never trailed in the consolation tilt, eventually winning 7-2 to clinch a spot on the podium.
In his placement match, Huff fell to Louisville’s Garett Lautzenheiser 11-8, sending him to the seventh place match. Huff’s opponent will be a familiar face: Michael Petrella, the Bishop Hartley sophomore Huff defeated 10-6 in the first round.
Western Brown’s Brandon Lucas was the final wrestler to compete in the championship quarterfinals. Lucas faced Copely’s Kyren Butler, and yet again, it took a while to determine a winner.
For the second straight day, Lucas’ match went into four overtimes, with the Bronco earning a point in the fourth period to take a 3-2 win. He advanced to the semifinals, where he will face top-seeded Dylan Shawver from Elyria in the third session later tonight.
Shawver jumped ahead 2-0 on Lucas and built the lead from there, winning the bout 5-1 and sending Lucas to the consolation semifinals Saturday morning against Lewis Center Olentangy’s Jacob Sherman.
Finally, three other locals began their day in the consolation round.
Bethel-Tate’s Matt Hall drew a familiar face in his consolation bout: Blanchester’s Clayton Schirmer. Hall had wrestled and defeated Schirmer in the SBAAC Championships, the team dual tournament and the district tournament this season. When the two matched up in the individual state tournament, the result stayed the same.
Hall snagged a late two points with a takedown to win the match 5-4, eliminate Schirmer and clinch a spot on the podium.
He then wrestled Conor Becker from Galion Northmor in his second match of the day. Hall battled, but fell to Becker 3-2 to drop to the seventh place match.
Goshen’s Josh Dunn faced off against Ross’ Jake Gentry. Gentry defeated Dunn 9-0 in the district tournament third-place match, and unfortunately for the Warrior grappler Gentry was able to get the best of him again.
Gentry defeated Dunn 7-0, ending the sophomore’s season.
Next on the mat was Batavia’s Daniel Greiner. Greiner fell to Upper Sandusky’s Noah Clary 16-0, ending his season.
The fourth session of wrestling contains the consolation semifinals and the third, fifth and seventh-place matches. Those are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The championship round is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. with the Parade of Champions. Matches start at 5:45.