Markell Wooden of the Dublin Coffman High School wrestling team never lost his edge during his first state appearance.
The Shamrocks' only state qualifier, the senior went 3-2 and placed seventh at 160 pounds in the Division I state tournament held Feb. 28-March 2 at Ohio State. He was the only one of three state competitors from the three Dublin high schools to reach the podium and finished 42-6 on the season.
"I can't stress enough how important it was to our staff that he finished the tournament wrestling as hard as he started the tournament," coach Chance Van Gundy said. "Regardless of whether or not he won that seventh-place match, we were so impressed that he left everything he had on the mat. That reflects his character."
Wooden opened by pinning Painesville Riverside's Jake Demman in 2 minutes, 32 seconds but was pinned by Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Quinton Hiles in his second match in 2:51 to fall into the consolation bracket. He defeated Lyndhurst Brush's T.J. Smith 7-4 in his third match to clinch a spot in the top eight. He then was pinned by Cincinnati Colerain's Detuan Smith in 4:38 before defeating Massillon Perry's Bruno Millin 4-1 in the seventh-place match.
Coffman scored six points at state to tie Pickerington North and Wadsworth for 55th behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (117) as 89 teams scored.
Wooden, who was a state alternate at 152 last season, was one of five Coffman wrestlers to reach the district tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Darby.
He went 4-1 and placed third at district, beating Lancaster's Ethan Bond 3-0 in the third-place match, as the Shamrocks tied Columbus West for 24th (22) behind champion Marysville (163) as 35 teams scored.
Also competing at district were junior Riley Young at heavyweight (1-2, 20-16), sophomore Adnan Mohamud at 132 (0-2, 14-21) and freshmen Lukas Manarolla at 113 (1-2, 23-13) and Willy Plaisir at 138 (1-2, 24-19).
The top four finishers in each weight class at district advanced to state.
The Shamrocks placed seventh (109) in a 10-team sectional Feb. 16 at Watkins Memorial behind champion Hilliard Bradley (205) and went 2-5 in OCC-Central Division duals to tie Central Crossing for sixth, behind Marysville (7-0), Thomas Worthington (6-1), Hilliard Davidson (5-2), Olentangy Liberty (3-4) and Upper Arlington (3-4) and ahead of Westland (0-7).
Coffman, whose starting lineup featured six freshmen, lost to third-seeded Olentangy Orange 57-9 in the first round of Region 5-A in the inaugural state team tournament Jan. 23. The Shamrocks were seeded sixth.
"We knew that we were going to be young and inexperienced, but I thought we overcame a lot during my first season at Coffman," Van Gundy said. "We (will) return a good nucleus of district qualifiers. As far as seniors, Markell is the only one on the roster."
Celtics' Mowery wins one match at state
The only state qualifier for Jerome was Brett Mowery, who went 1-2 at 220 to finish 26-4 as the Celtics scored two points to tie six teams for 73rd.
The senior, who also went 1-2 at state last year in the same weight class, opened with a 3-1 overtime win over Oregon Clay's Jarred Gray. He then lost to Painesville Riverside's Evan Rosborough 5-1 before losing to Cincinnati Withrow's Nick Isaacs 8-5.
"They are all good there," coach Adam Huddle said when asked about the competition Mowery faced at state. "He lost to a kid in the quarterfinals (Rosborough) who took third and he got taken down late. There were some really close calls."
Mowery, who missed most of December as he recovered from a knee injury, was one of nine district qualifiers for Jerome, representing the most the Celtics have had in six seasons under Huddle.
Mowery went 3-1 and placed second at district, losing to Marysville's Morgan Miller 4-2 in overtime in the championship match.
Also competing at district were seniors Bennett Comfort at 145 (2-2, 35-5), Alec Hood at 160 (2-2, 32-18) and Andrew Pearson at 152 (1-2, 30-12), juniors Logan Mosher at 138 (1-2, 19-16) and Josh Transue at 113 (2-2, 36-10), sophomores Liam Dunlea at 120 (1-2, 21-13) and Alex Jacobs at 132 (0-2, 26-21) and freshman Seth Transue at 106 (0-2, 34-11).
The Celtics scored 35 points at district to finish 20th and placed fifth (149) in a 10-team sectional Feb. 16 behind host and champion Marysville (265.5).
Jerome went 3-4 in OCC-Cardinal duals to place fifth, behind Darby (7-0), Bradley (6-1), Westerville North (5-2) and Worthington Kilbourne (4-3) and ahead of Westerville South (2-5), Scioto (1-6) and Westerville Central (0-7).
The Celtics, who did not participate in the state team tournament, lose five seniors, including Mowery, Comfort, Hood and Pearson.
"The biggest question will be the top of our lineup next season," Huddle said. "There are going to have to be some young guys to step in and get wet behind the ears."
Challenging schedule should help Irish
Scioto coach Aaron McKenzie hopes a challenging schedule helped his young and inexperienced team prepare for the future.
The Irish struggled to score points, particularly in dual matches, going 1-6 in the OCC-Cardinal to place seventh.
"If you go back and look at our dual schedule, it wasn't easy," McKenzie said, "but hopefully they learn from that."
The Irish had a state qualifier in senior Yoshi Akutsu (heavyweight) and two district qualifiers in senior Anthony Trocchio (152) and freshman Ras Lumpkins (220).
Akutsu went 1-2 in his first state appearance. He opened with a 4-2 win over Cincinnati Northwest's Ameer Daniels before losing to Toledo Whitmer's Marquise Moore 4-3 and Perrysburg's Cale Bonner 2-1.
Scioto scored two points to tie six teams, including Jerome, for 73rd.
Akutsu went 38-7 on the season, including 0-4 against eventual state champion Travis Gusan of Davidson. At district, he went 3-1 and placed second, falling 3-0 to Gusan in the championship match.
Trocchio was a state alternate, as he went 3-2 and placed fifth at district to finish 33-9. Lumpkins went 1-2 to finish 15-19.
Scioto scored 32 points at district to finish 21st after placing ninth (65.5) in a 10-team sectional Feb. 16 at Westland behind champion Davidson (224.5).
The Irish were seeded eighth in Region 5-A of the state team tournament and lost to top-seeded Marysville 61-15 in the first round Jan. 23.
Scioto loses five seniors, including Akutsu and Trocchio. Among those expected to return are Lumpkins, juniors Jeffrey Jarry (170, 16-20) and Cameron Wallace (160, 15-14) and sophomore Dareal Vassel (138, 10-14).