Howard Williams

East Liverpool Potters

Freshman, 106, 42-3

This year’s state tournament will cap off what has been a stellar freshman season for Williams.

“Howard has exceeded my expectations in every way,” East Liverpool coach Scott Hiemstra said. “He’s been a leader on and off the mat for us, in addition to being a great student. Everything you want out of a kid, he’s done.”

Williams enters the tournament as a third seed out of the Claymont district. Among his highlights from this season was an OVAC championship in January.

“Howard is a very knowledgeable, methodical wrestler,” Hiemstra said. “He has very good awareness out there and has a good sense of what he has to do in a given match.”

Williams comes from a family of wrestlers. His father has coached East Liverpool’s Potter Mite wrestlers, his older brother wrestled and his younger brother currently wrestles in junior high.

“It’s a family affair for him,” Hiemstra said. “He’s been wrestling for several years and you can tell its something he’s passionate about.”

Williams will open his state tournament run against second-seeded Trace Braun from wrestling powerhouse St. Paris Graham Local.

“It’s a St. Paris Graham kid so you figure we will have our hands full,” Hiemstra said. “All you can do is give the best effort you can. I think he will be competitive this weekend.”

Cole McComas

Beaver Local Beavers

Soph., 113, 42-3

McComas nearly captured the Div. II state title at 106 pounds last season, but fell in the championship final.

The 113-pound class in this year’s tournament seems to be particularly tough.

McComas will likely have to deal with Circleville’s Trey Finnerty, an eighth-place finisher at 106 last year, on his side of the bracket. The tricky part will be what’s on the other side of the bracket.

West Branch’s Christian Wayt is considered the favorite in the class, but St. Paris Graham’s Tanner Jordan, a third-place finisher last year, is also lurking.

“Cole had another great year,” coach Jordan Williams said. “Winning the district tournament put him in a great position to make a run at a state title. Cole is solid in all positions — he is smooth on his feet and is always calm in tense match situations. Cole’s work ethic is his best quality, he lives a self-disciplined life and his confidence comes from his preparation.”

Skyler Lasure

Beaver Local Beavers

Soph., 132, 36-7

Another super sophomore for the Beavers, Lasure returns to the state tournament where he placed seventh as a freshman at 120 pounds.

“Skyler had one of the toughest schedules we wrestled all year,” coach Jordan Williams said. “Regardless of who we were wrestling he had guys to push and test him. He has been tested and has seen this kind of competition all season long and that will pay off for him this weekend. Skyler loves wrestling and loves wrestling the best. He does not shy away from tough competition and you get his best in big time matches.”

The favorite at 132 is Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy’s Jordan Decatur who was the champion at 126 last season, but he’s on the other side of the bracket.

The state wrestling prediction site predicts Lasure to be in the running for a podium place.

Beau Smith

Beaver Local Beavers

Jr. 145 pounds, 37-10

Smith has become quite familiar with the state tournament as he is making his third consecutive trip to Columbus. He bowed out in the first consolation round last season after going 1-2 the year before.

He comes in with a career record of 118-34 and an OVAC runner-up finish to his credit this season.

“Beau is one of the most athletic kids I have coached,” coach Jordan Williams said. “When he is wrestling you can tell he is having fun, he likes to try new things and put pressure on kids. He has worked all year on getting confident on his feet and he is starting to see it pay off for him.”

Smith is seeded fourth out of the Claymont district and opens his tournament against top-seeded Gade Grunden from Wauseon (29-1), who is projected as one of the top title contenders. Smith is a two-time Academic All-Ohioan and sports a GPA of 3.706.

Jared Wright

Beaver Local Beavers

Jr., 152 pounds, 34-13

Wright fought his way through the consolation bracket last week and earned the four seed out of the Claymont district. This is his first trip to Columbus. He faces top-seeded Will McGhee from Aurora in the first round.

“Jared can be explained in one word and tha’s consistency,” coach Jordan Williams said. “When you look back over his years of wrestling you see improvement every year. He has consistently got better and put himself in a position to reach his goals. That is a testament to his approach and discipline to the sport and himself. As a coach he is a dream, you always know you are getting his best effort. He earns its day in and day out, and does it the right way.”

Sandro Ramierez from Wauseon is projected as the 152-pound favorite by He is on the other side of the bracket. Steubenville’s Jashon Hubbard is the projected runner-up.