Heading into the season, Granville High School wrestling coach Kyle Bergeron said he was hoping his program could advance six athletes to the Division II state tournament.
The Blue Aces ended up with four qualifiers, but that’s still an improvement from what they accomplished last season.
Seniors Alex Eckels (195 pounds), Mathieu Holt (182) and Luciano Mendicino (152) all are making return trips, and they will be joined by sophomore Keegan VanMeter (160) at state March 9-11 at Ohio State.
Mendicino finished sixth at 152 last season but enters this year as a No. 4 seed. He’s 34-7 and opens against Ashland’s Sid Ohl, who is 52-2 and placed seventh at 145 a year ago.
Holt was runner-up in the district tournament March 3 and 4 at Heath, as Granville placed seventh (86) behind champion Uhrichsville Claymont (155) as 41 teams scored. He’ll open against Mogadore Field’s Landon Westover (36-5).
VanMeter also enters as a No. 2 seed and is 19-7. He opens against Canton South’s Khord Moore (41-7).
Eckels is 29-9 and is a No. 4 seed as he preps to open against Wauseon’s Tony Banister (40-7), who was eighth in 2015 and the state runner-up last year at 195.
Also competing in the Division II state tournament from Licking County are senior Jake Martinez (138) and juniors Gunner Carpenter (120) and Addison Fogle (126) of Licking Valley.
Martinez was the state runner-up last season while Carpenter was eighth in 2015 at 113. Martinez is 40-3 entering his state opener against New Richmond’s Ryan Wolf (40-15), Carpenter is 32-9 as he prepares to open with Akron Hoban’s Lukus Stricker (42-2) and Fogle is 37-5 heading into his opener against Tiffin Columbian’s Caden Blust (37-3).
In Division III, Newark Catholic sophomore Billy Luft is 37-7 and opens at 138 against Ada’s Chase Summer (38-3), who was fourth at 132 last season.
Also advancing to state in Division III were Northridge’s Forest Belli (152), Hunter Corbin (170), Klay Reeves (113) and Steele Strout (160).
Four local boys teams
make district semis
Newark is among four Licking County boys basketball teams to advance to a district semifinal.
The second-seeded Wildcats beat 46th-seeded Columbus West 68-21 on Feb. 28 and play 15th-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a Division I district semifinal March 8 at Pickerington North. The winner faces ninth-seeded Pickerington North or 13th-seeded Gahanna in a district final at 1:30 p.m. March 11 at Ohio Dominican.
In Division II on March 7, fifth-seeded Johnstown played sixth-seeded Bloom-Carroll at Watkins Memorial and seventh-seeded Heath played 10th-seeded Linden-McKinley at Granville in district semifinals. The winners of those games play in a district final at 8:30 p.m. March 10 at Worthington Kilbourne.
In Division III, eighth-seeded Newark Catholic plays second-seeded Grove City Christian in a district semifinal March 8 at Hamilton Township. The winner plays top-seeded Harvest Prep or 11th-seeded Gahanna Christian in a district final at 3:30 p.m. March 11 at Bloom-Carroll.