COLUMBUS — Mechanicsburg grabbed the big wins when it needed them Friday and are now in the driver’s seat for the OHSAA Division III state championship.
Mechanicsburg’s Kaleb Romero pumps his fist after winning his 170-pound championship semifinal match Friday during the Division III state tournament in Columbus. Romero is going for his fourth state championship tonight, while the Indians are hoping to capture the program’s first ever state title. (EXAMINER PHOTO | AARON LABATT)
The Indians placed five of their seven state qualifiers here at the Jerome Schottenstein Center and advanced four to the tonight’s state finals. M’burg currently leads the Division III team race with 97.5 points.
“We’ll have to see how it goes, but we like where we’re at,” said Mechanicsburg head coach Cameron Doggett. “We have to go out and finish the job in the finals. These guys are ready for (tonight).”
It would be the program’s first ever state championship after finishing third at last year’s state meet. The state finals for all three divisions begins tonight at 5:30 p.m. with the Parade of Champions.
Mechanicsburg was nearly perfect during Friday’s semifinal round. The Indians won four of five matches, which gives them the most state finalists in program history. Wrestling for state championships are Alex Rhine (132), Tanner Smith (145), Colt Yinger (152) and Kaleb Romero (170).
It will be a special night for the Indians’ regardless of the team standings as Romero is going for his fourth individual state title. He would become just the 29th wrestler in Ohio history to achieve that feat.
Mechanicsburg’s Tyler Wetzel (126) also reached the semifinals, but lost to Delta’s two-time defending state champion Drew Mattin by a 4-1 score.
“Those guys came out ready to go,” said Doggett. “Rhine came out and bounced back after Wetzel’s match. Tanner was strong too. It was hard to catch some of them because I was bouncing back and forth between different matches. I thought Colt was solid and then Kaleb came out and sealed the deal.”
The team race is far from over and the Indians have plenty of challengers with wrestlers left to score points.
Genoa Area gave an impressive performance to climb up the team standings. The Comets hold the runner-up spot with 80 points. They only qualified five wrestlers to Columbus, but four of them are competing for state titles tonight.
Sliding back to third place is Oak Harbor with 77 points. The Rockets placed six of their seven qualifiers and have three finalists along with four other placers. Milan Edison is currently fourth with 54 points.
Graham clinches state title in D2
Graham delivered another big performance on the second day of action at the Division II state wrestling tournament. The Falcons will place all 11 state qualifiers and have seven competing for state titles tonight.
With its stellar effort on Friday, Graham has already clinched the Division II state championship. The Falcons piled up 185.5 points, leaving Canfield a distant second with 76 points. Wauseon is in third with 59.5 points and Carrollton is fourth with 56 points.
Graham had all 11 wrestlers reach the quarterfinals and saw eight reach the semifinals. Earning a spot in the state championship match tonight for the Falcons are Jordan Crace (120), Mitch Moore (132), J.D. Stickley (138), Rocky Jordan (152), Ryan Thomas (160), Gage Braun (182) and Kaven Sarver (195).
Graham’s Rocky Jordan works to finish a takedown on Mantua Crestwood’s Nick Vespucci during their 152-pound championship semifinal match Friday night at the Division II state tournament in Columbus. (EXAMINER PHOTO | AARON LABATT)
For the full story and Complete STATE WRESTLING TOURNAMENT ROUNDUP,
pick up a copy of Saturday's Bellefontaine Examiner. CLICK HERE to subscribe.
WEB EDITION STARTING AT $9.50 FOR 5 WEEKS!