Ohio District Wrestling Tourney Starts Today

It’s put up or shut up time for wrestlers in Ohio as District Tournament action unfolds across the Buckeye State. Individuals need to place in the top 4 of their respective weight classes in order to qualify for the 81st annual state tournament.

Locally, more than 100 Ohio Valley Athletic Conference grapplers will descend upon Heath and Garfield Heights high schools in Division III, while Division II participants will head to Claymont High School in Uhrichsville. The state tournament is set for March 8-10 at Value City Arena inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University.

District action begins at 4 p.m. today in Uhrichsville and 5 p.m. in Heath. Saturday has 9 a.m starts, with the championship finals set for 5 p.m.

Division II

There are 14 returning state-placers in this division, with Steubenville having three, Beaver Local two and Meadowbrook one.

The Big Red’s include senior Jashon Hubbard (152) who has placed third as a freshman and junior. He was fourth as a sophomore. The Ohio State recruit is 46-1 this season, losing only to Parkersburg South’s Josh Humphreys in the OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament finals. Humphreys recently claimed his fourth W.Va. state championship at his third school.

Sophomore Anthony Rice (145) was fourth at 138 last season. Junior Jacson Muldrew placed fifth at 120 in Division III while at Shadyside before transferring over the summer. Big Red qualified 11, as did Beaver Local.

Other OVAC schools are Cambridge (1), East Liverpool (3), Indian Creek (5), Meadowbrook (4) and Warren Local (8).

The Beavers sophomore Cole McComas (113) was a state runnerup at 106 last year. Classmate Skyler Lasure (132) was seventh at 120.

The Colts’ Jud Ramage (220), a senior, was fifth at 195 a season ago. Ramage (32-0) is one of three undefeated wrestlers in this division. He had to withdraw from the OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament due to a reported wrist injury.

Locally, St. Clairsville finished fifth at the Claymont sectional and advanced four individuals. Moving on are junior Justice McCamick (220); freshman Koen Kish (113); sophomore Derek Witsberger (195) and junior Trey Delguzzo (285).

Harrison Central has two qualifiers in juniors Blayne Erwin (182) and Cody Gamble (195).

Division III

Headed to Heath are individuals from Barnesville (7), Beallsville (1) , Bellaire (4), Bridgeport (6), Buckeye Local (2), Caldwell (6), Fort Frye (3), Martins Ferry (6), Edison (3), Shadyside (2), Shenandoah (4), Steubenville Catholic (3), Toronto (2) and Union Local (5). OVAC newcomer Columbiana Crestview (7) will trek to Garfield Heights.

There are nine returning state placewinners in D-III, with the Purple Riders having a pair of those in seniors Dalton Hoover (195) and Hunter Bodkin (285), both of whom captured OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament championships earlier this season. They both won sectional crowns last week at Barnesville.

Hoover is a three-time state qualifier at 195, having finished as runnerup in 2016 and third last winter. He is top-ranked at his weight this year and has shown no adverse signs after suffering a dislocated pinkie finger late in the regular season. He is currently 35-1. Bodkin is a also a 3-time state qualifier. He placed eighth at 220 pounds as a sophomore. He has a 40-3 mark and is ranked No. 3.

Other Purple Riders qualifying for the district were senior Keith Wilson (220); juniors Case Ward (113) and Drake Dobson (182); and sophomore Richard McFarland (170). Dobson won a sectional title.

The Shamrocks are sending freshman sectional champ Cameron Woods (145), junior Brayden Reynolds (113), freshman Owen Oliver (152), junior Brylan Clouse (160-2nd), freshman Jacob Boulet (132-4th); freshman Justin Jackson (182-3rd) and junior Zack Meade (220-4th).

The Jets advanced five in freshman Hunter Oliver (126), junior Jordan Dalby (132-3rd), freshman Devin Crum (138-3rd) and Braden Robinson (152) and Kade Clark (285).

The Panthers’ pair includes freshman sectional champion Brian Palmer Jr. (120) and sophomore Zac Cesario (195).

The Tigers’ tandem is senior Josh Robinson (285) and sophomore DJ Hoge (126).

The Bulldogs, who finished second as a team with 138.5 points behind Tuscarawas Valley’s 165 in the Sandy Valley sectional, were led by titlists senior Elliott Dean (132), junior Mason Kuneff (145), junior Tino Kusic (160) and senior Layne Dunlap (285). Other district qualifiers are junior Jarett Deaton (170-2nd) and freshman D’Zayveon Richmond (120-3rd). Kuneff and Kusic were state qualifiers a year ago. Kusic also went to the state as a freshman.

Big Reds include junior Joseph Bonfini (113), senior Clayton Moore (125), sophomore Cody Albaugh (152) and senior Drew Tingler (182).

The Blue Devils representative is freshman Wyatt VanDyne (132).