Through Friday’s opening-day action at the Division I district wrestling tournament at Hilliard Darby, five Olentangy Liberty standouts, another three from Olentangy, two from Olentangy Berlin and one each from Delaware Hayes and Olentangy Orange won each of their first two matches to secure spots in today’s championship semifinals.
That’s 12 wrestlers just one win away from state qualification and two wins away from a coveted district championship.
Another handful fell into their respective consolation brackets and will compete to qualify for the state showcase that way.
The Patriots were led by freshman Neal Krysty (106), sophomores Jaxson Rosselli (113), Broc Fitzpatrick (150) and Brady Quillen (175), and returning state champion Dylan Russo (215).
Russo was dominant, as he’s been pretty much all season. He pinned Marion Harding’s Rashawn Turner in 34 seconds before handling Orange’s Connor Garren 19-5 in the quarters. Krysty was impressive in a 9-0 win over Shea Jordan, a sectional champ from Whitehall-Yearling, to earn a spot in today’s final four, Fitzpatrick and Rosselli picked up first-period pins in each of their first two matches and Quillen won via a couple pins as well.
The Braves were boosted by their lightweights as Kurt Mokros (106), Nick Piontkowski (113) and Jake Piontkowski (120), all freshman competing in their first district tourney, went 2-0 on day one to earn spots in today’s semifinals. Mokros, who pinned his first-round opponent in just 17 seconds, forced Thomas Worthington’s J.J. Dodt to the mat in 2:36 in the quarterfinals. Nick Piontkowski, meanwhile, beat Hilliard Darby’s Carter Slubowski 13-6 in his quarterfinal while Jake Piontkowski edged Canal Winchester’s Micah Dollery 6-4 in overtime in his.
Berlin seniors Caiden Hooks (165) and Matt Kirsop (190), both coming off sectional championships, pinned their second-round opponents to reach the semifinals. Hooks pinned Mifflin’s David Cochran in 3:09 while Kirsop forced Big Walnut’s Wyatt Lenz to the mat in 4:37.
The loss sent Lenz to the consolation bracket, but not before he picked up a first-round win over Liberty’s Charlie Donehue. The duo could potentially meet again in the third-place match depending on how well they navigate through the consolation rounds.
Other area standouts included Hayes’ Devin Halliday (157) and Olentangy Orange’s Keegan Knapp (150).
Halliday started his tourney with a dominant 15-0 decision over Mount Vernon’s Karter Harris before edging Big Walnut’s Lawrence O’Malley 5-3 in OT. Knapp was just as impressive. He knocked off Groveport’s Jacob Johnston 16-3 in his opener before dropping Worthington Kilbourne’s Iain Escobar 7-3.
Next up, Knapp will get Fitzpatrick in today’s semis while Halliday will take on Westerville North’s Connor Euton, who moved up a weight classes after winning a state title at 145 last season.