After Hayden Lee transferred to Marysville High School from Garrett (Ind.) before the school year, he quickly developed a friendship with wrestling teammate Austin Pfarr.
Their fathers had been friends at Marysville before Lee's father, Jamie, left the area before his junior year.
The bond between Lee and Pfarr grew throughout the season and they shared a special moment March 1, when each won a title in the Division I state tournament at Ohio State.
"It was cool because one of my best friends, Hayden, also won a state title, so it was awesome," Pfarr said. "It's great. We push each other in the practice room ... yelling at each other, picking each other up. This is what we've been looking forward to. We talk about it every day at school."
Lee finished his senior season 43-3, defeating Massillon Perry's Jose Rodriguez 5-2 in the state final at 113 pounds.
Lee, who also defeated Rodriguez 3-0 in a final of the Top Gun Tournament on Jan. 18 at Alliance, was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at state in Division I.
"I knew the heritage coming in, the history of Marysville wrestling when I got here," he said. "That's part of the reason why we moved here because of the (practice) room, the coaches, the schedule we wrestle, and I really wanted to be part of that. Also, my dad went to school there. It all tied in together. I love the program, I love my coaches (and) I love the town."
After finishing fifth at 195 last season at state, Pfarr defeated Cincinnati Moeller's Chalmer Frueauf 5-4 in overtime to win the title at 220. The winning point resulted when Frueauf was called for fleeing the mat with 6 seconds remaining in the one-minute overtime.
"We felt like our conditioning was going to come into play," coach Shawn Andrews said. "We felt like we were going to be able to win it in overtime if we had to and that's how it played out."
Pfarr finished the season 46-1 while Frueauf, who was the defending state champion at 220, later was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The efforts of Lee and Pfarr helped the Monarchs finish a program-best third (77.5 points) in the three-day state tournament behind Perry (185) and Perrysburg (90.5) and ahead of Oregon Clay (77) as 78 teams scored.
"We're proud of our kids," said Andrews, whose team loses five seniors. "We finished top three in the state. It's unbelievable for our team and for our school and for our program. What a great end to a great year."
Marysville qualified five wrestlers for state, and four of them placed.
Junior Taleb Rahmani (45-9 overall) finished fourth at 145, losing to Uniontown Lake's Zac Carson 6-2 in the third-place match.
Senior David Sparks (39-11) finished fifth at 138. He pinned Dublin Coffman's Dominick Demas in 4 minutes, 30 seconds in the fifth-place match after having lost to eventual champion Mike Kostandaras of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 6-5 in a semifinal.
Junior Alex Sepeda (30-7) went 1-2 at 152.
The state titles won by Lee and Pfarr were among several championships that Marysville added to its postseason resume this winter.
On Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby, the Monarchs won their third consecutive district championship -- and fourth in five years -- by scoring 147.5 points to finish ahead of runner-up Westerville North (120.5) as 37 teams scored. Lee, Pfarr and Sparks won titles, Rahmani was second and Sepeda was third.
Other district qualifiers were senior Darius Walker at heavyweight (sixth, 18-10 overall), freshman Derek Sharp at 120 (sixth, 32-13), junior Nick Rioch at 160 (28-12) and sophomores Troy Messer at 126 (23-19) and Noah Satterfield at 170 (19-18).
The Monarchs also won the program's 13th sectional title Feb. 15 at home, scoring 218.5 points to finish ahead of runner-up Olentangy Liberty (197.5) in an 11-team field. Lee, Pfarr, Rahmani, Sepeda and Sparks won titles.
The Monarchs won the OCC-Central Division title at 7-0, ahead of Liberty (6-1), Hilliard Davidson (5-2), Central Crossing (3-4), Coffman (3-4), Thomas Worthington (2-5), Upper Arlington (2-5) and Westland (0-7).
Marysville reached a quarterfinal of the state team tournament before losing to second-seeded Moeller 50-12 on Feb. 8 at Ohio State. The Monarchs, who were seeded seventh of eight teams, won the Region 6 title by defeating Central Crossing 52-26 on Jan. 29 at home.