The biggest obstacle on the road to the Ohio State Wrestling Championships stands in the way of local wrestlers in the form of their respective district tournaments.
For some, the journey will end short of Columbus and for the lucky few, the road to a state championship will continue on Feb. 28.
With berths in the state tournament on the line, anything can, and usually does, happen.
Those strange happenings, however, can be avoided.
“I’ve told the kids in the past, at the district, they’re just 18 minutes — three six-minute matches – away from the state tournament,” Edgewood coach Wes Cleveland said. “Some of them will look at you and say that’s unrealistic.
“But, if they want the shortest, quickest way there...”
Known in the past as “The Meatgrinder,” this district is notorious as one of the most difficult in the state.
That doesn’t mean that the grapplers from Lakeside, Madison and Riverside don’t stand a chance. Quite the contrary, actually.
Wrestling expert Josh Lowe, better known as the Bucksman, predicts that as many as eight area competitors could qualify for the state tournament.
At the head of the class should be Evan Rosborough of Riverside and the Dragons’ Chuck Morgan and Kyle Conel.
The Bucksman predicts Rosborough (35-2) to be state runnerup at 220 pounds.
“To be honest, I’m not looking at state,” Rosborough said. “I’m looking at each match. Each match is one step closer to getting to the goal.
“I’m just going to train the way I train and wrestle the way I wrestle and I should be able to get through pretty good.”
Morgan (42-1) spent much of the season as the state’s top-ranked heavyweight in Division I. Conel (43-0) finished the season unbeaten.
Madison’s Nick Montgomery (12-1) is looking to qualify for the state tourney for the fourth time at 138 pounds, despite his missing the majority of the season with an injury. Bo Ransom (32-3) is seeking his second consecutive trip to Columbus at 145 and Aaron Sweeney (30-13) stands a good chance to make his first trip at 152.
The Beavers’ contingent to Columbus could swell to include 132-pounder Nick Boggs (39-5) and 160-pounder Jake Denman (27-8) and Connor Rigsby (152, 31-13).
“It’s great (to have all the guys to practice with),” Rosborough said. “That’s something I haven’t had much of the past few years. Now, we have four sectional champs. I’d be shocked if all four us don’t get to state. I think we can do some huge things this year and now’s the time to do it.”
Tyler Newsome (36-8) and Keith Griffin (30-14) will compete for the Dragons at 113 and 132, respectively.
Corbin Post (113, 24-14), Jacob Steigner (120, 24-12), Jarrad Lasko (126, 23-7), Ryan Montgomery (132, 34-9), Tim Streisel (170, 23-11), Drew Schiemann (182, 34-8) and Joe Bashore (220, 26-13) will look to continue their seasons for the Blue Streaks.
Dalton Anderson (126, 15-23) and Chad Ely (182, 21-16) will also be in action for Riverside coach Scott Blank.