Rosselli, Knapp win district titles


Jaxson Rosselli won a district championship at 113 and Dylan Russo nabbed runner-up honors at 215 to lead the Olentangy Liberty wrestling team to a second-place finish at Friday and Saturday’s Division I district tournament in Hilliard.

Rosselli, who entered the tourney with a 28-3 record, was dominant throughout. After picking up back-to-back first-period pins to advance to Saturday’s championship semifinals, the sophomore doubled up Upper Arlington’s Andrew Myers 6-3 before cruising past Lancaster’s Toby Hustler 17-2 to take top honors.

Russo, meanwhile, was in cruise control for much of the two-day tournament himself. The defending state champion needed just 34 seconds to pin his first-round opponent. He then picked up dominant wins of 19-5 and 17-2 in the second and third rounds, respectively, before settling for second place after falling to Dublin Scioto’s Matthew Howard 8-3 in the final.

Other Patriot state qualifiers included Brady Quillen (175) and Gabe Pence (165).

Quillen earned a top-three showing in his weight class thanks to a 9-3 decision over Upper Arlington’s Jake Badgeley in their third-place match. Pence, meanwhile, finished fourth after falling to Marysville’s Brady Seger by a slim 5-3 margin in his division’s third-place showdown.

Liberty won’t be the only area team represented at the upcoming state showcase, either. Olentangy Orange’s Keegan Knapp (150) earned a top seed by winning his weight class, Olentangy’s Kurt Mokros (106) and Delaware Hayes’ Devin Halliday (157) finished third in their respective weight classes, both winning their final matches in thrilling fashion, and Big Walnut’s Vince Giordano (138) made an impressive run through the consolation bracket to punch his ticket.

After beating Groveport’s Jacob Johnston 16-3, Worthington Kilbourne’s Iain Escobar 7-3 and Liberty’s Broc Fitzpatrick 5-2 on his march to the final, Knapp capped off his impressive run with a 16-6 win over Reynoldsburg’s Logan Smalley.

Mokros and Halliday both won their third-place matches in overtime — Mokros outlasted Mount Vernon’s Brock Blankenhorn 7-5 while Halliday handled Pickerington North’s Donavyn Watts 6-4 — and Giordano, who lost his first match of the tournament, won four straight consolation matches to earn a spot in the third-place match. He beat Watkins Memorial’s Scott Speakman, who beat him in the opener, 5-4 in OT before falling to Upper Arlington’s Ayden Boothby 2-0 in his final match to finish fourth.

The 2022 OHSAA Individual State Wrestling Championships are slated to get underway Friday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. Session 1, set for 3 p.m., will include championship preliminaries and the first round of consolation matches.

By Ben Stroup

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