Buckeye’s Palmer, Toronto’s Dozier headed to Division III state tourney
CONNORVILLE — The mission of qualifying for the 82nd-annual Ohio state wrestling tournament became a reality for multiple individuals Saturday afternoon during the Division III East Central district tournament inside Buckeye Local High School.
Martins Ferry leads the way with three qualifiers, while Barnesville, Bellaire and Bridgeport have two each. Buckeye Local rounds out the local contingent with one, as well as Toronto.
The state tournament opens Thursday at 4 p.m. inside Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University. It continues through Saturday night’s championship finals as the top 8 finishers in each weight class earn all-Ohio status.
Of the 11 qualifiers, four are district champions in the Shamrocks’ duo of Griffen Stephen (106) and Brylan Clouse (182); the Bulldogs’ Mason Kuneff (160) and the Purple Riders’ Drake Dobson (195). Dobson was a district champion a year ago, while Kuneff was a state qualifier.
Stephen, a freshman, is now 36-8 after an 8-2 decision over Shenandoah’s Alex Overly. It was the fourth time the two have met this season and the series is tied.
Clouse, a senior, improved to 31-2 with a dominating 17-1 technical fall over Sandy Valley’s Cameron Blair.
“Those two have wrestled well all year and this weekend was no exception,” Barnesville head coach Jayson Stephen said.
The two champions helped Barnesville to a runnerup finish in the team standings with 110 points, four in back of Northmor.
Kuneff and Dobson left little doubt in their championship matches.
Kuneff, a senior who won his 150th career match earlier in the day, pinned Bellaire’s Cody Albaugh in 2-minutes, 31-seconds. It was the third fall in four matches for Kuneff, who is now 43-5.
“Mason did an outstanding job today,” Bridgeport head coach David Nelson said. “He’s been steady all season.”
Dobson, now 38-4, pinned Trimble’s Ian Joyce in a mere 1:21. It was his third first-period fall. He had a 4-1 decision in the semifinals.
“Drake is on a mission and that is to place high in the state,” Martins Ferry head coach Chad Ware said. “He really wants it right now.”
Other state qualifiers include Bellaire’s Joseph Bonfini (120) and Buckeye Local’s Brian Palmer Jr. (132), both of whom fell in the finals by decisions; Bridgeport’s Tino Kusic (170) who earned a fourth trip to Columbus with a third-place finish; and the Martins Ferry tandem of Kameron Hughes (170) and Richard McFarland (182) who both finished fourth. McFarland is a two-time qualifier.
Bonfini fell 8-2 to Coshocton’s Austin Guthrie, who finished seventh at 113 last year. Palmer Jr. dropped a 4-2 decision to Johnstown-Northridge’s Klay Reeves, a returning state runnerup and three-time placer.
Toronto’s Garrett Dozier finished in fourth place at 138 pounds.
The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference will also be represented by a trio from Caldwell and two from Shenandoah.
Several area wrestlers finished as state alternates.
Eastern Central District Tournament
(at Buckeye Local H.S.)
1. Northmor 114; 2. Barnesville 110; 3. Coshocton 103.5; 4. Sandy Valley 98; 5. Newcomerstown 92; 6. Pleasant 88.5; 7. West Jefferson 85; 8. Nelsonville-York 78.5; 9. (tie) Newark Catholic and West Muskingum 68; 11. Buckeye Local 67; 12. Martins Ferry 65; 13. Shenandoah 57; 14. North Union 56; 15. Ready 54.5; 16. Caldwell 54; 17. Bellaire 53.5; 18. Bridgeport 52; 19. Trimble 37; 20. Mount Gilead 36.5; 21. Garaway 34; 22. John. Northridge 32.5; 23. Liberty Union 31; 24. Grandview Hts. 30; 25. (tie) Johnstown-Monroe and Toronto 25; 27. Danville 22; 28. Madison-Plains 21; 29. Cardington-Lincoln 19; 30. Malvern 18; 31. Union Local 16; 32. Tuscar. Valley 14; 33. (tie) Crooksville and Ridgedale 12; 35. Edison 11.5; 36. Col. Academy 11; 37. Steub. Cath. Cent. 9; 38. Fairbanks 8; 39. East Knox 6; 40. Waterford 5; 41. (tie) Belpre and Reed. Eastern 4; 43. (tie) Fort Frye, Fredericktown and Ridgewood 3; 46. Elgin 2; 47. (tie) Chesapeake, Cristo Rey, Del. Christian and Heath 0
106: Griffen Stephen (Barnesville) d. Alex Overly (Shenandoah), 8-2
113: Lucian Brink (Coshocton) d. Marshal Niswonger (Caldwell), 4-2
120: Austin Guthrie (Coshocton) d. Joseph Bonfini (Bellaire), 8-2
126: Gavin Weaver (Newcomerstown) d. Carter Chase (Pleasant), 2-1
132: Klay Reeves (John. Northridge) d. Brian Palmer (Buckeye Local), 4-2
138: Logan Hursey (Newcomerstown) p. Niko Christo (Northmor), 1:44
145: Tony Martinez (Northmor) d. Andrew Halko (Ready), 4-2
152: Noah Inboden (Nelsonville-York) p. Billy Luft (Newark Cath.), 0:22
160: Mason Kuneff (Bridgeport) p. Cody Albaugh (Bellaire), 2:31
170: Conor Becker (Northmor) p. Brandon Strickland (Mount Gilead), 1:59
182: Brylan Clouse (Barnesville) tf. Cameron Blair (Sandy Valley), 17-1
195: Drake Dobson (Martins Ferry) p. Ian Joyce (Trimble), 1:21
220: Hudson Jump (Grandview Hts.) p. Hunter Braithwaite (West Jefferson), 1:59
285: Donovan McCollister (Nelsonville-York) p. Dylan Wilson (Danville), 5:03
106: Kyle Miller (Garaway) d. Kaleb Mcfee (West Muskingum), 8-4
113: Collin Yinger (Nelsonville-York) p. Tarren Riffle (North Union), 4:14
120: Draven Hubley (Cardington-Lincoln) d. Aiden Aiello (Ready), 4-1
126: Joey Buckland (West Jefferson) d. Tyler Banta (Malvern), 9-6
132: Collin Wiley (Caldwell) won by default over C.J. Smith (Pleasant)
138: JT Brown (Newark Cath.) tf. Garrett Dozier (Toronto), 15-0
145: Carter Winegardner (West Muskingum) md. Jacob Newell (Sandy Valley), 11-3
152: Andrew Knaup (West Muskingum) tf. Jackson Unger (Coshocton), 17-1
160: Coltin Meek (Newcomerstown) d. Bryce Keckley (West Jefferson), 6-4
170: Santino Kusic (Bridgeport) p. Kameron Hughes (Martins Ferry), 2:09
182: Tristan Bush (Johnstown-Monroe) p. Richard McFarland (Martins Ferry), 0:59
195: Casey Fleahman (Liberty Union) d. Jordan Sanders (Newcomerstown), 7-4
220: Dylan Thompson (North Union) d. Dalton Rice (Shenandoah), 6-4
285: Liam Kirkpatrick (Newark Cath.) d. Easton Hitchens (Shenandoah), 2-1