Next weekend’s OHSAA boys state wrestling tournament will feature more than a few area wrestlers, especially standouts from Olentangy Liberty as eight different Patriots punched tickets thanks to strong showings during Friday and Saturday’s Division I district tournament in Hilliard.
Huggy Williams (106), Jackson Rosselli (113), Tyler Deericks (150) and Dylan Russo (215) made the most noise, each winning district titles in their respective weight classes to lead Liberty to runner-up honors in the final team standings.
Williams outlasted Olentangy’s Kurt Mokros, who will head to OSU for the second year in a row, 7-4 in his championship final. The same duo took the top two spots at the sectional tourney as well.
Rosselli, meanwhile, cruised to a 13-4 win over Teays Valley’s Gunner Havens in his final, Deericks dominated Dublin Jerome’s Ian Cho 7-1 in his and Russo, already a two-time state champ, earned the right to compete for a third with a 4-0 win over Lancaster’s Cole Dickerson in his fourth and final match of the tourney.
Other Liberty state qualifiers included Brady Quillin (second at 190), Prestyn Parks (third at 120), Broc Fitzpatrick (third at 157) and Lincoln Gardner (fourth at 138).
Delaware Hayes and Olentangy Orange will also have representation. The Pacers’ Devin Halliday and the Pioneers’ Idell Ferguson will be third and fourth seeds at 165, respectively, after Halliday edged Ferguson 3-1 in the third-place match.
Both opened their district runs with wins. Halliday, after falling to Marysville’s Carson Mize — the eventual district champ — in the championship quarterfinals, won three straight consolation matches via pin before outlasting Ferguson for third. Ferguson, meanwhile, lost to Mize in the championship semis before beating Dublin Coffman’s Sammy Moloney for the second time in the tournament to earn his spot in the third-place match.
Orange’s Connor Garren and Olentangy’s Jake Pointkowski also advanced. Garren finished third in the heavyweight division with a 1-0 win over Hilliard Bradley’s Robert Snyder while Pointkowski won three straight in the consolation bracket before falling to Newark’s Jibreel Smith 3-1 in the third-place match at 126.
Finally, Olentangy Berlin’s Austin Lambert (285), Liberty’s Gabe Pence (175) and Olentangy’s Preston Schuler (113) each earned state alternate spots. Lambert finished fifth by pinning Hayes’ Erik Wells in 1:52, Pence beat Westerville North’s Corey Howlett 6-2 in his fifth-place match and Schuler beat Westerville Central’s Mason Hart 5-2 in his.
Buckeye Valley’s Ripley Szanati (150) kept his season alive, advancing to the upcoming state showcase with a fourth-place showing at Friday and Saturday’s Division II district tournament in Wilmington.
Szanati won each of his first two matches, pinning Eaton’s Elijah Thacker in 2:58 before cruising past Clinton-Massie’s Brodie Green 15-0 to reach the championship semifinals.
He lost to the eventual district champ after that, but won a match in the consolation bracket to earn a spot in the third-place match.
The Barons’ Landon Froehlich, meanwhile, will be a state alternate after topping Kenton Ridge’s Matthew Cox 4-0 to finish fifth at 165.