McComas, Williams open with wins
COLUMBUS — Five area wrestlers won their first matches on Thursday to open the 81st Ohio state individual wrestling tournament at the Schottenstein Center.
East Liverpool freshman Howard Williams, Beaver Local sophomore Cole McComas, West Branch junior Christian Wayt, Minerva senior Travis Kuttler and Crestview senior Andrew Hardenbrook all advanced to their respective quarterfinals after opening round wins.
Williams (43-3) dispatched St. Paris Graham Local freshman Trace Braun (29-11) with a 7-1 decision in his Div. II, 106-pound opener. Williams will meet a significant challenge today as he takes on Oberlin Firelands sophomore Payton Burgdorf (43-0) in the quarterfinal round.
McComas (43-3) was the only Beaver to win his opener as he topped Pepper Pike Orange senior Nick Began (27-6) 8-1 at 113. McComas will face Circleville sophomore Trey Finnerty (38-1) in the Div. II quarterfinal.
Also at 113, Wayt (39-0) downed Carrollton freshman Brandon Brown (20-9) 9-1 to advance. Next up for Wayt is Hamilton Ross senior Jake Gentry (43-5). If Wayt and McComas win their quarterfinals they will clash in the semifinal.
Kuttler (42-7) powered through his heavyweight opener with a pin of Hillsboro junior Lane Cluff in 1:09. Kuttler will meet Girard junior Jack DelGarbino (46-0) in a tough test in the quarterfinal.
In Div. III, Hardenbrook (32-5) knocked off Columbus Bishop Ready junior Andrew Halko (36-7) by a 9-4 decision at 145. Hardenbrook will take on Lima Central Catholic junior and Troy district champion Joey Caprella (41-0) in today’s quarterfinal.
Beaver Local sophomore Skyler Lasure (37-7) dropped his first round match at 132 to Aurora junior Jack Gorman with a 6-4 sudden victory. Lasure rebounded to stay alive in the tournament with a 6-3 win over Dayton Thurgood Marshall’s Ayyoub Muhammed in the consolation opener.
Beaver Local senior Beau Smith (38-11) also split his two matches at 145. Wauseon senior Gage Grunden beat Smith 12-6 in the opening round, while Smith returned with a 9-4 win over Norton’s Bret Baker in the consolation opener.
Beaver Local junior Jared Wright (34-15) was eliminated with a 15-0 technical fall loss to Aurora junior Will McGhee and a 13-5 major decision loss to Dayton Chaminade Julienne’s David Frederick.
Minerva sophomore Ethan Mueller (33-14) was also eliminated at 126 with a 13-1 major decision against Wauseon’s Nolan Ray and a 9-3 loss to Akron Coventry’s Joe Wright.
West Branch freshman Kenny Marra (44-11) opened the tournament at 182 with a pin loss to Dayton Chaminade Julienne junior Hunter Johns in 1:32, but won the consolation opener by topping Carrollton’s Alex Carrothers, 6-4.
In Div. III, Crestview senior Landon Talbert split his opening two 195-pound matches. Talbert (36-6) lost to Grandview Heights junior Hudson Jump 5-0 in the opener but rebounded to beat Middletown Madison’s Zach Banks 6-1 in the consolation opener.
South Range junior Kyle Keenan (36-13) was eliminated with a 11-2 loss to Genoa Area’s Oscar Sanchez in the 113-pound opening round and a 3-0 defeat to Covington’s Cael Vanderhorst in the consolation opener.