Monarch senior Ethan Smegal (right) attempts a single-leg takedown in this photo. Smegal is one of 10 MHS grapplers who will compete in the Division I district tournament on Friday and Saturday at Hilliard Darby High School.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Kevin Behrens)
A number of Marysville High School wrestlers will continue their climb toward a hopeful spot in the state individual tournament on Friday.
A total of 10 Monarch grapplers will begin Division I district competition at 4 p.m. on the mats at Hilliard Darby High School.
Athletes will compete in two rounds on Friday, with the second set to begin at approximately 7 p.m.
The tournament will conclude on Saturday.
Marysville will be represented by athletes in the following weight classes (records and first-round matches included):
-113: Nathan Thompson (21-17) vs. Teraun Dunseth (Hilliard Davidson), 11-9;
-120: Josh Melms (23-14) vs. Colin Swincicki (New Albany), 32-11;
-126: Tyler Winfield (23-12) vs. Jacob Shanklin (Upper Arlington), 21-14;
-138: Lincoln Heard (21-17) vs. Austin Bensman (Olentangy Liberty), 27-10;
-145: Erryl Will (29-8) vs. Muneeb Ajiouni (Hilliard Darby), 26-15;
-152: Walker Heard (40-5) vs. Miles Pearson (Upper Arlington), 22-16;
-160: Blayne Landon (23-12) vs. Jeff Cameron (Watkins Memorial), 24-14;
-170: Zach Lowe (21-13) vs. Nicholas Boyarko (Olentangy), 8-10;
-195: Logan Painter (28-12) vs. Alex Lopez (Olentangy Orange), 23-9;
-220: Ethan Smegal (34-5) vs. Brayden Benson (Grove City), 22-10.
Monarch head coach Shawn Andrews earlier felt those 10 wrestlers had the best shots among his team of advancing to the district tournament after last Saturday’s sectional on MHS’ home mat.
“You always want more to advance, but we felt all 10 of those guys had good shots,” he said. “We were hoping maybe to sneak a couple others in, but this is about what we thought we’d get through.
“As a group, these guys won the matches they were supposed to win at the sectional,” said Andrews. “They didn’t look past any of their matches, but we told all of them that if they couldn’t get to the finals, then work to get the next best thing.”
The Heard brothers, Will and Smegal won sectional titles, while Thompson, Lowe and Painter were runners-up.
Melms, Winfield and Landon each placed third.
“I was pleased with all of their efforts,” said Andrews. “They are the strength of our team.”
The Monarchs finished as team runner-up to Dublin Coffman in the sectional standings.
The MHS coach said the regular-season schedule has, year-in and year-out, a lot to do with the Monarchs’ post-season success.
“Our guys have wrestled a schedule that gives them confidence,” said Andrews. “They know going into the post-season they won’t see something they haven’t already seen. We’ve had a good balance of tough competition this year and the guys went into the sectional knowing they were prepared.”
Andrews used a bit of ‘coach-speak’ in talking about the upcoming district tournament.
“Our goal is to go 10-0 in each first-round match,” he said. “Each one of our wrestlers will have to focus on what is directly ahead of him.
“We can’t look past the first round,” said Andrews. “It’s only after the first round that we can focus on the second and third rounds.
“Again, if they can’t get to the finals, we want them to focus on the next best thing.”
The top four placers in each weight class will advance to the state tournament that will be held March 7-9 at The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.
Just how many Monarch grapplers can advance to the state?
Time will only tell.
Andrews feels that his most veteran grapplers – Walker Heard, Smegal, Painter and Lincoln Heard – each have solid opportunities to do so.
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