Three area wrestlers will compete for state titles

Mar. 9—COLUMBUS — The goal is to survive and advance.

That was the mantra for 10 Lima area wrestlers on the second day of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Wrestling State Championships on Saturday.

The state tournament runs Friday through Sunday at Ohio State's Jerome Schottenstein Center.

The main goal for the wrestlers this weekend was to make it through their respective brackets and advance to Sunday's matches.

If the wrestlers make it to Sunday, they will be assured a spot on the awards podium. The top eight placers in each of the 14 weight classes will make it onto the podium and earn all-Ohio status.

At the end of Saturday, there were six area wrestlers that advanced to Sunday's placement matches.

Out of those six wrestlers, three won their respective semifinal matches on Saturday and will wrestle for a state title.

St. Marys makes history

The St. Marys wrestling program has enjoyed a lot of success in the past several years.

However, the one accolade that is missing from St. Marys' resume is a state finalist.

On Saturday, St. Marys made history, times two.

St. Marys juniors Tate Hisey (Division II, 126-pound weight class) and Bo Hertenstein (150) won their respective semifinal matches on Saturday and advanced to Sunday's championship matches.

Hisey is a two-time state-placer. Hertenstein was a state qualifier last year.

On Saturday, Hisey (44-2) won both his quarterfinal match and semifinal bout in thrilling fashion.

First, Hisey slipped past Logan Elm's Gavin Hoover 2-1. In his semifinal, Hisey held off Louisville's Kolten Barker for a hard-fought 5-3 victory.

Hisey will face Indian Valley's Leroy Steagall (40-5) in Sunday's championship match.

Last year at the Division II state tournament, Hisey lost his semifinal match and ended the tournament with a fourth-place finish in the 113-pound weight class. The year before, Hisey placed fifth at 106.

"It feels like all the hard work that I put in has paid off," Hisey said. "Everybody said that if you work hard, you will accomplish your dream. When you come up short, two years in a row, you start to lose a little bit of faith. So, I'm glad that I could just get the job done this time. I proved how hard I worked, and I reaped the benefits. But I still have one more match to go. The job is not finished."

Hertenstein defeated Athens' Luke Kaiser in Saturday's quarterfinal, 8-3. In the semifinal bout, Hertenstein shut out Perkins' Braxden Martin, 5-0.

In Sunday's championship match, Hertenstein (40-3) will take on Steubenville's Brody Saccoccia (49-3), a two-time state placer.

Hertenstein said he felt confident of both Hisey and him making it to the state finals. "I knew we would do this," Hertenstein said. "I said in the interview, earlier, 'We will have two people going for a state title.... It's going to be me and Tate'. I trust God, I trust my skills, and look what happened. Now, we got one more (match)."

Longtime St. Marys coach Larry Gruber gave all the credit to his two wrestlers.

"It's hard to describe the feeling. I really don't know what to say. They've put in the work to do it," Gruber said.

Wapakoneta's Knous will vie for state title

Wapakoneta senior Jace Knous placed seventh in the 190-pound weight class at last year's Division II state tournament.

Sunday night, Knous will attempt to become the fourth state champion in school history as he competes for a state title at 215 pounds.

In Saturday's quarterfinal, Knous recorded a 22-6 tech fall over Clinton-Massie's Elijah Groh. Then, in his semifinal bout with Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin's Bryce Wheatley, Knous came away with a hard-fought 12-8 victory.

Knous (34-3) will face the defending D-II state champion at 215, Columbus St. Francis DeSales' Max Shulaw (48-1), in Sunday's championship match.

"This year, I made sure I was doing everything the right way, every single day at practice. I want to give all the thanks to my coaches, the people who come in to help (at practice), my family, and God."

Wapakoneta sophomore Wyatt Buell (175) was eliminated from the tournament on Saturday. After winning his first-round match on Friday, Buell lost two matches on Saturday. Buell ended his season with a 52-7 record.

Allen East's Neal notches a podium spot

Allen East freshman Jordan Neal made school history this weekend when he became the first freshman in school history to finish in one of the top eight spots in their weight class.

Neal (49-3) heads into Sunday's action guaranteed a top-six finish in the 144-pound weight class in Division III.

If Neal wins his opening match against Waynesville's Mark Ellis on Sunday, he will wrestle in the third-place match. If he loses, Neal will compete in the fifth-place match.

When Neal lost to Union Local's Gunnar Gossett in his quarterfinal on Saturday, 13-11, he got refocused in a hurry.

"It was like, 'There goes the state title'," Neal said. "So, I don't have that (opportunity), but I can still get on the podium. Allen East hasn't had a freshman place, so now it's time to go and just compete. (I have) three more matches to secure third."

Allen East senior Brogan Paxson (215) lost his second consolation on Saturday and bowed out of the tournament. Paxson ended his senior season with a record of 48-8.

St. John's Kessen notches a podium finish

Delphos St. John's sophomore Edward Kessen competed at last year's Division III state tournament as a freshman but did not place.

Kessen (41-8) will face Gibsonburg's Antonio Salazar in Sunday's seventh-place match at 138.

Celina's Greber wrestling on the third day

Celina senior Zach Greber (D-II, 144) will be wrestling in the seventh-place match on Sunday.

Greber (46-9) will face New Lexington's Harrison Ratliff in Sunday's seventh-place match.

"The first match of the tournament, I lost," Greber said. "I had to come back and win two more and now I will place. I used to struggle with coming back (after a loss), but I brushed that up and came back and won twice. If feels good. I now qualify to place top eight, no matter what. That was one of my goals."

Other Lima area wrestlers eliminated from the state tournament

Other area wrestlers that were eliminated from the state tournament on Saturday that were not already mentioned include Coldwater's Austin Hamilton (D-III, 132), and Kenton's Anthony Hunt (D-II, 157).