Five Hilliard Davidson High School wrestlers have an opportunity to gain valuable experience in the U.S. Marine Corps Cadet and Junior National Championships that will be held July 14-22 in Fargo, North Dakota.
The annual event, which is considered one of the top summer amateur tournaments in the country according to Wildcats coach Dominic DiSabato, has freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions, with the top eight finishers in each weight class earning All-American honors.
Competing from Davidson as members of Team Ohio are seniors Reid Conrad, Gio DiSabato, Micah Dusseau and Demetri Monroe and junior Luke DeWeese.
Team Ohio will prepare for the national tournament by participating in a camp at Ohio Northern University, beginning Sunday, July 9. The team then will travel to North Dakota from Ohio Northern via charter buses.
"They might benefit more than anything at the training camp," said coach DiSabato, Gio's father. "You're at camp for four days with the best kids in the state and have great coaches. We love the camp and the camaraderie. When you get to Fargo, just competing at that level and, if you get wins, your confidence grows."
Gio DiSabato and Monroe will be competing in the national tournament for the second time. In last year's event, DiSabato went 3-2 at 126 pounds and Monroe went 1-2 at 138.
This year, Monroe will compete in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at 152 and DiSabato will compete in freestyle at 126.
DiSabato is a three-time Division I state qualifier, having finished second at 120 last season after placing fourth at 106 as a sophomore and sixth at 106 as a freshman. He is 150-13 for his prep career.
"Summer wrestling has helped me a lot for the (high school) season with being on bottom and working your turns," DiSabato said. "I'm definitely looking (to earn) All-American (honors) this year."
Monroe qualified for state for the first time last season, going 0-2 at 132.
Conrad (170), Dusseau (120) and DeWeese (152) each will be making his first appearance in the national tournament.
"It's huge because last year we had two guys (in the national tournament) and it helped us so much, and now (three other) guys are going, so it's going to help them a lot for next season," Monroe said. "Maybe we can compete for district and OCC titles."
Dusseau, who went 0-2 at 113 at state last season, and DeWeese will compete in freestyle and Conrad will compete in Greco-Roman.
DiSabato, Monroe, Dusseau and Conrad all will compete in the Junior Division (ages 17 and 18), while DeWeese will compete in the Cadet Division (ages 15 and 16).
"If you look at a lot of the state placers and state champs, many of them are on this team or have competed in the summer and tried to make this team," said coach DiSabato, who will meet Team Ohio in Fargo. "Most of the elite guys are on Team Ohio."
Coach DiSabato said the trip will cost approximately $1,200 for each wrestler. Money has been raised through fundraisers, but Team Ohio also has set up a GoFundMe.com account in hopes of receiving donations.
Several other area wrestlers are heading to Fargo with Team Ohio.
Dublin Scioto sophomore Daniel Segura will compete in Greco-Roman at 145 and free-style at 152 in the Cadet Division. Last season with the Irish, he went 39-12 and qualified for state at 132, going 1-2.
"That's big-time wrestling out there," Scioto coach Adam Huddle said. "The kid has big, high, lofty goals and he wanted to go out and wrestle, so I'm all for it. Anytime you're on the mat, you're getting better."
Dublin Coffman sophomore R.J. Carpenter will compete in freestyle at 220 in the Cadet Division.
"We'd like R.J. to soak up the atmosphere and take in the experience in Fargo at one of the most prestigious and competitive tournaments in the nation," Coffman coach Chance Van Gundy said. "We want him to experience training with some of the best wrestlers in Ohio the week prior to departing for Fargo. This overall experience could be extremely valuable in the development of his high school wrestling career."
Westerville South sophomore Aaron Morton will compete in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at 160 in the Cadet Division.
"He's doing really well," South coach George Crooks said. "He's having a great offseason."
Other area wrestlers heading to Fargo include Olentangy Liberty junior Carson Kharchla, who will compete in freestyle at 160 in the Junior Division, and Johnstown junior Tristan Bush, who will compete in Greco-Roman at 160 in the Cadet Division.