State wrestling will feel different this year


Assistant Sports Editor

COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School State Wrestling Tournament was already going to be a different experience this year as the tournament moved from its traditional Thursday to Saturday format to Friday to Sunday.

But the coronavirus COVID-19 and the state government’s recommendation to limit spectators at sporting events will create an even more unusual atmosphere at the Schottenstein Center.

Each athlete was limited to four all-session tickets and each coach was permitted two all-session passes for family members.

There will be 672 wrestlers from 299 schools present at the state meet which mean upwards of 3,500 passes could be in circulation. No tickets will be available for the general public.

“I’m already getting texts from other coaches wanting to get more tickets,” United Local coach Ken Beaumariage said on Wednesday. “If athletes are eliminted early those passes they aren’t using might be worth a lot money to some people.”

Here are the area’s 20 state qualifiers:

Mark Emmerling

Beaver Local Beavers

Soph., 120, 32-11

Emmerling, an OVAC champ this season, returns to the state meet after qualifying as a freshman. His weight class is the only one across all division to feature two state champions from 2019 (Louisville’s Garrett Lautzenheiser at 120 and Perry’s Kyle Rowan at 106).

“Mark will benefit from his previous state experience this weekend,” Beaver Local coach Johnny McComas said. “Being there is not enough, he is ready to prove he is among the best. He needs to continue to stay in a solid position and he will make some noise in a tough bracket. He is peaking at the right time and wrestling with a lot of confidence. He is in for a fun weekend.”

Logan Ours

Beaver Local Beavers

Soph., 132, 33-5

Ours is looking to build on his sixth place finish at 120 pounds a year ago as a freshman. Ours is ranked third in the state according to InterMat Ohio and is looking up at Louisville’s Davin Rhoads and CVCA’s Matthew Williams, both out of the tough Alliance district.

His coach thinks he has what it takes to compete for a title if he relaxes and has fun.

“Logan is an attack minded wrestler and has an incredible ability to finish from any position,” McComas said. “He is physical, and clean with his technique. He is always in a solid position and will make any opponent pay for getting out of position. He believes in what he is doing and is confident through his preparation. He will push the pace for six minutes and force his style of wrestling on anyone he wrestles this weekend.”

Cole McComas

Beaver Local Beavers

Sr., 138, 37-5

McComas is one of six wrestlers in Div. II looking to become a four-time state-placer, but Beaver Local’s all-time wins leader (172) is looking for more. He’s been second at the previous three tournaments.

“Cole is such a consistent person in his approach to wrestling and life,” Johnny McComas said. “He has battled an injury but used every opportunity available to him to get healthy and put himself in a position to be at his best for this tournament. When you have had the success he has had during his career you understand what it takes to be the best and he takes that approach to everything he does. He has put himself in a position to reach his goals. His past state experience and his ability to win tight matches are going to pay off for him this weekend.”

He’s ranked second in the state according to InterMat Ohio behind St. Paris Graham’s Nick Moore.

Devon Salsberry

Beaver Local Beavers

Jr., 145, 36-9

Salsberry is Beaver Local’s lone state debutant this time around but has an experienced career with 92 total wins.

“With this being Devon’s first time on the state floor, staying calm and confident will be the key to success this weekend,” McComas said. “He is wrestling extremely confident right now, he is peaking at the right time, and he believes in himself. Devon is in a great position to be on the podium Sunday night. I am excited to see what the weekend has in store for him.”

Salsberry has a winnable match right out of the gate with Hamilton Ross junior Sean Beltran. That could set him up for a shot at the podium.

“Devon is explosive, he can quickly put his opponents in bad positions,” McComas said. “Devon is dangerous in all positions and is never out of a match.”

Skyler Lasure

Beaver Local Beavers

Sr., 152, 36-6

Lasure is also one of six wrestlers in Div. II seeking to place four times at the state tournament. He was seventh at 120 as a freshman, fourth at 132 as a sophomore and sixth at 145 as a junior.

He opens the tournament against Salem’s Caiden Hart and could challenge for a high podium position.

“Skyler is a physical wrestler who can score in a multitude of ways,” McComas said. “He has incredible quickness and the ability and confidence to score in all three positions. He wrestles confidently and he always believes he can win regardless of the opponent.”

Lasure is ranked fourth in his class according to InterMat Ohio.

“Skyler’s previous state experience will be a huge asset going into this weekend,” McComas said. “He has the ability and track record of winning tight matches and always wrestles his best when the lights are the brightest. He looks forward to tournaments and competitions like this weekend. He will be at his best this weekend.”

Logan Krulik

Beaver Local Beavers

Jr., 160, 39-6

Krulik is back for the second time and is looking to shake things up in 2020.

“Logan qualified for the state tournament last season and was forced to medical default,” McComas said. “This sport is all about how you handle adversity and Logan understands that. This has made him hungry to get back to Columbus and give himself another opportunity to prove he is among the best. He has improved in every position. He has an incredible gas tank and the ability to wear his opponent out. He is smooth on his feet, always attacking, has a lot of fun competing, and has a style that is fun to watch.”

Krulik is ranked fourth in the state in this class according to InterMat Ohio, but the third-ranked wrestler (Ethan Pappas of Steubenville) failed to make weight during last week’s district meet and did not qualify for state.

Daniel Wirth

Beaver Local Beavers

Sr., 285, 30-6

Wirth qualified for state as a junior, but may be in a better position to challenge for a podium spot this season.

“Daniel has had a fantastic season,” McComas said. “He has had the opportunity to see a lot of great competition and beat some top notch guys. He is a high tempo heavyweight who scores a lot of points and keeps the pace up. He is great in the practice room and he loves to compete. He has continued to get better week after week due to a great work ethic. Danny is wrestling very confident right now. He believes in what he is doing and he is having a lot of success.”

Wirth is ranked eighth in the weight class according to InterMat Ohio and opens with an opponent with just eight matches under his belt this season.

Howard Williams

East Liverpool Potters

Jr., 132, 45-5

Williams had a previous run at the state tournament as a freshman but missed out during his sophomore campaign.

“He’s hungry,” East Liverpool wrestling coach Scott Hiemstra said. “He’s motivated to be one of the best kids in the state.”

According to InterMat Ohio, Williams comes in as the seventh ranked grappler in his class. He finished second to Beaver Local’s Logan Ours at districts.

“He’s just as focused on studying the sport as he is academics,” Hiemstra said. “He puts in the work in the offseason when he can (Williams also plays football) and he knows everyone’s records and where they are ranked.”

If Williams wins his first round match against Mentor Lake Catholic’s Ethan Smith, he’ll likely meet the No. 5 ranked Chris Kelly of St. Paris Graham in the second round.

Div. III

Dylan Milhoan

Southern Indians

Sr., 145, 38-5

Milhoan made history when he finished third at Garfield Heights.

“Dylan is a great kid and the first state qualifier in school history,” coach William Watson said.

Milhoan was a state alternate a year ago and has honed himself into a solid performer with runner-up finishes at the Hoppel Tournament and Barnesville Tournament.

He’s ranked 12th in the weight class according to InterMat and opens with 10th ranked Joel Abbott of Benjamin Logan.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)

Starting at $4.39/week.

Subscribe Today