Omari Green has unfinished business in the Division I state wrestling tournament.

The Central Crossing High School junior heavyweight cruised through the district tournament March 1 and 2 at Hilliard Darby until the final, where he faced Franklin Heights' Day'Myrin Jones. The Falcons senior won by pin in 1 minute, 29 seconds, leaving Green longing for a rematch at state.

Green is the Comets' lone state qualifier. The top four finishers in each weight class at district advanced to state Thursday, March 7, through Saturday, March 9, at Ohio State.

"I was floating on a cloud of success into the final, and I figured out a different way to wrestle and it worked for a while," said Green, who also lost to Jones 5-2 in a semifinal match in the Comet Classic on Jan. 12. "Mark my words, I can beat that guy. I know I can, and I felt that way both times. I got in trouble this time and I should have beaten him. I honest to God believe if I had not gotten stuck on my back I would have won that."

Green is 35-7 and will be making his first state appearance. He enters with a goal of reaching the podium by finishing in the top eight.

Coach Jamie Ramirez said that could be a possibility because of the strides Green has made throughout the season.

"Omari got pinned right there and he was controlling the ties in the first period," Ramirez said. "It wasn't that way the first time they wrestled. (Jones) kind of controlled the match and this time I thought we were in control. You could tell that (Green) expected to win. The thing about a heavyweight match is that if you slip up one time, you can be done. That's what happened there.

"The good thing is he's a qualifier and our goal will be to get on that podium (this) week. He's more than capable of doing that."

Green pinned Olentangy Orange's Zach Stevenson in the opening round at district in 2:40 before pinning Licking Heights' Myers Slebo in 3:35. He then defeated New Albany's Billy Lee 5-0 in a semifinal.

"Omari's confidence has been the difference," Ramirez said. "He's been going out there and winning matches and now he's going out expecting to win. He puts in the work, so why shouldn't he (have confidence)?"

Green was joined at district by three teammates in senior Hudson Leapley (132 pounds; 1-2), junior Nathan Vanhouten (182; 1-2) and freshman Uniah Neville (113; 0-2). Neville got in as an alternate but sophomore Abel Garantche did not compete at 220 because of a hip injury.

"We have had a young team all year and things started to pick up at sectional," Ramirez said. "We lost (Garantche) to injury, but got (Neville) in as an alternate. We got some young kids some district experience and that will help their mindsets."

Green opens state against a competitor from northeast Ohio in Lakewood's Yousef Awad, who is 29-5. A possible opponent in the second round is Huber Heights Wayne's Jacob Padilla, who is 38-0 and placed eighth at state last season. He would not meet Jones until the final or in a consolation match.

"I have never been to state before, even to watch it, but I feel like it will be like (district) squared," Green said. "There will be more people and bright lights and emotion and things of that nature. It wasn't a problem here, so I should be good there if I keep my game right."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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