After watching his teammates wrestle for state championships each of the last three years, Olentangy Liberty senior Connor Brady will finally get a shot at his.
Brady, who finished fourth at 132 in 2016, third at 152 in 2017 and missed out on the state tournament all together due to an injury last year, won a pair of matches on the second day of the Division I Individual State Wrestling Tournament Friday at the Schottenstein Center.
With the wins, Brady earned a spot in today’s title bout against Lakewood St. Edward’s Padraic Gallagher to find out who is the best 160-pound wrestler in the state.
Brady, ranked No. 1 nationally, made getting to his first-ever championship look easy. After rolling to a 24-8 win over Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ Anthony Rizzo in Thursday’s opening round, he pinned Perrysburg’s Drew Newton in 5:21 in Friday’s quarterfinal and knocked off Wadsworth’s Dom Loparo 16-5 in the semifinal later in the day.
Brady won’t be the only Patriot competing for a title, either. Carson Kharchla (170), also top-ranked nationally, beat nationally-ranked Nevan Snodgrass, a junior from Kettering Fairmont, 5-1 in his championship semi. The win set up a showdown against Shaker Heights’ Najee Lockett. Another win today would give Kharchla his second-straight championship as he took top honors in the same weight class a season ago.
Both Kharchla (27-0) and Lockett (38-0) are undefeated this season.
Other area standouts who guaranteed themselves spots on the podium include Liberty’s Lucas Uliano (126) and Hayes’ Corbin May (182) and Jacob McCloskey (195).
Uliano pinned North Ridgeville’s Jacob Dunstan in the second round of the consolation bracket before falling to Toledo Whitmer’s Jack Haskin by a slim 2-1 margin in the quarterfinal. He’ll wrestle Fairfield’s Jabari Thomas in today’s seventh-place match.
May and McCloskey will be wrestling for seventh as well. May doubled up North Canton Hoover’s Ryan Prusinowski 4-2 in the second round of consolations before falling to Dublin Coffman’s Lennox Wolak 11-2 in the quarterfinals. He’ll take on Cincinnati Elder’s Austin Belcher in today’s seventh-place match.
McCloskey, meanwhile, edged Canton McKinley’s Micha Clemson 4-3 before falling to Dublin Scioto’s Deron Pulliam 5-3. Next up, he’ll take on Fremont Ross’ Caleb Wood today for seventh.