By Ben Stroup
The OHSAA Individual Wrestling State Tournament has been loaded with area talent over the last several seasons and, thanks to a slew of solid district showings, this year won’t be any different.
Olentangy Liberty and Delaware Hayes made the most noise during Friday and Saturday’s Division I district tourney at Hilliard Darby. The Patriots captured a district crown with a score of 184 while the Pacers finished fourth with a 127.5.
The two teams combined for five individual champions — four from Liberty and one from Hayes.
Brakan Mead (106), Jordan Rosselli (120), Kyle Lawson (160) and Trevor Lawson (170) walked way with titles for the Patriots. Mead pinned Hayes’ Zach Williams in 1:29 to claim district bragging rights, Rosselli beat Dublin Jerome’s Seth Transue 11-6 to nab a top seed in this week’s state showcase, Kyle Lawson blanked Darby’s Jared Ball 7-0 in his final and Trevor Lawson slipped past Pickerington Central’s Joseph Terry 3-2 in an ultimate tie-breaker in his title tilt.
Greg Brusco (152), meanwhile, won a district title for the Pacers, handling Dublin Coffman’s Willy Plaisir 7-2 in the championship round.
The five district champs headlined a lengthy list of area state qualifiers, a list which includes Hayes’ Max Wright (160), Chris Martinez (195) and Williams, Liberty’s Zach Furnas (126), Connor Brady (132), Trey Grenier (145) and Connor Thomas (152) and Olentangy’s Xander Gore (138).
Williams nabbed runner-up honors after falling to Mead while Martinez finished second in his weight class after falling to Thomas Worthington’s A.J. Jones 8-5 in the final.
Brady, Gore, Grenier, Thomas and Wright each finished third in their respective divisions while Furnas finished fourth.
Big Walnut’s Bailey Munday (113), Hayes’ James White IV (120) and Orange’s Christian Hipsher (170) are all on the outside looking in, but won their fifth-place matches to become state alternates.
Buckeye Valley’s Wes Cochran made a statement during Saturday’s D-II district tournament at Claymont High School, finishing third in the heavyweight division to advance to the upcoming state meet.
Cochran pinned Claymont’s Jaret Aubiel in just 45 seconds to win his third-place match and move on.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.