COLUMBUS — The six local wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament made the trip north to Columbus Thursday afternoon for the first round of tournament action.
Bethel-Tate senior Jeffrey Botts got things started in the Division III, 195-pound weight class against Atwater Waterloo junior Will Bolanz, who entered the tournament with a 46-2 record. Botts dropped the opening match of the tournament 8-2, sending him to the consolation bracket. He faced off against Genora Area’s Matt Herrick in that match and, despite several stoppages due to injuries and bleeding, Botts came away victorious 5-2. He will face the loser of Jack Staggs (Milan Edison, 26-0) and Paul Skye (Mogadore, 38-7) tomorrow.
Western Brown’s wrestlers took to the mat once Division II action began. Jordan Hamblin started with a bout against Cuyahoga Falls CVCA sophomore Matthew Cardello. Cardello won the match via tech fall (16-1). Hamblin returned to the mat later today against Columbus St. Francis DeSales junior Domenic Carfagna (42-8) in the consolation bracket, and emerged victorious in a 2-0 decision. He advances to the next round against the loser of Hunter Kosco (25-0) and Tony DeCesare (45-5).
Jake Henderson then took to the mat for the Broncos in the 145-pound weight class and picked up the team’s first win. Henderson jumped ahead of Farfield Union’s Kevin Beal 6-2 before pinning the senior at the 3:59 mark of the match, advancing him to the quarterfinals. He will earn a rematch with Mentor Lake Catholic senior Joe Boley (34-7), whom Henderson defeated via pin in the state team duals earlier this month.
While Henderson wrestled one mat away, freshman Derek Spears was battling Wapokoneta junior Tyler Copeland (23-4). Spears fell behind 5-0 and couldn’t recover, losing by an 8-1 decision. He will face Johnstown Monroe senior Hayden Bullard (47-11 in the consolation round later tonight. Spears was defeated in his consolation match.
Finally, the two Altman brothers ended up on adjacent mats for their championship preliminary matches. Eric Altman started his match first, losing via tech fall (18-3) to St. Vincent-St. Mary sophomore David Heath (42-11). The loss dropped Altman to the consolation bracket, where his season came to an end with a 5-3 loss to Fairfield Union’s Michael Jude.
The final wrestler to compete in the championship preliminary round for Western Brown came away victorious. Jacob Altman earned a 4-1 decision victory over Granville junior Alex Eckles (30-16), propelling him to the quarterfinals of the 195-pound weight class. Altman will face Chesterland West Geauga senior Joe Fornaro (32-8) in the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.