Wrestling: Grove City Greyhounds expecting more success next year
The Grove City wrestling team capped its season by having a pair of underclassmen compete in the Division I state tournament March 13 and 14 at Hilliard Darby.
Junior Brayden Benson (182 pounds) and sophomore Braxton Sheets (120) each went 1-2 as the Greyhounds collected two points to tie for 66th behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (184.5) as 78 teams scored.
“It was a great experience for both of them,” coach Ryan Mitchell said. “This is a year where neither one of those guys had any expectations coming in, so it’s a double bummer that we didn’t get to go to the Schottenstein Center this year. It’s great to have that experience when there’s no pressure on you to walk out of that tunnel.”
The tournament was moved to Darby after Ohio State declined to host the event because of COVID-19.
After being pinned in 1 minute, 23 seconds by Elyria’s Jake Evans in the opening round, Benson rebounded to beat Springboro’s Parker Smith 7-4 in his first consolation match.
Benson finished the season 25-4 after losing to St. Edward’s Hudson Hightower by technical fall (18-1).
Sheets bounced back from a 21-8 loss to eventual state champion Sean Seefeldt of St. Edward in the opening round to beat Cincinnati Moeller’s David Gelman 6-4 in overtime in his first consolation match. Sheets was then pinned by Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ Kaden Jett in 2:05 to finish 28-6.
“Those guys being underclassmen, they’ll be back next year and hopefully they’ll be back at the state tournament and they’ll bring some of their teammates,” Mitchell said.
Benson and Sheets each advanced to state by finishing fourth at district, which was held March 6 and 7 at Darby.
The Greyhounds qualified nine wrestlers for district and finished in the top 10 (10th, 55) for the first time since placing eighth (67.5) in 2003. Dublin Coffman scored 228.5 points to win the district title.
Grove City also captured its first OCC title since the 2004-05 season, as the Greyhounds went 5-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
“It was great to win our OCC division,” Mitchell said. “Our kids put in a lot of work and it’s a good thing for the school to be able to put another year up on that (OCC title) banner. It’s been a long time coming and we’re going to try to put some more up there.”
The Greyhounds shared the OCC-Cardinal title in 2004-05 with Pickerington Central at 4-1.
Other key contributors were seniors Josiah Bever (152, 14-16), Carlin Hamilton (19-5, 195) and A.J. Stoll (13-5, 132), juniors Triston Beane (18-7, 132/138), Tony Carrillo (11-5, 170) and David Jordan (15-7, 138/145), sophomores Isaac Carter (19-11, 220), Andrew Palmer (17-5, 113) and Slade Waller (22-7, 126) and freshmen Storm Beane (15-6, 160) and Elijah West (11-7, 145).
Hamilton and Waller each had a team-high 15 pins.
“We have a lot of kids in the room who put in work and it began last spring,” Mitchell said.
Comets driven by
A young Central Crossing squad made big strides despite not having a Division I state qualifier.
The Comets were a sophomore-dominated team with just three seniors. They finished third (3-2) in the OCC-Buckeye behind Lancaster (5-0) and Newark (4-1), and they also were third (138.5) at the Feb. 27 sectional behind host Upper Arlington (241) and Olentangy Orange (223).
Central Crossing had six district qualifiers, with five eligible to return. Senior Abel Garantche (220) was runner-up at sectional, but could not compete at district after being injured in practice. He finished 29-7.
“Abel had a foot injury at practice before the district, and we couldn’t get him ready to go,” coach Jamie Ramirez said. “Whether it’s skin conditions or quarantines or whatever, it all can be taken away pretty quickly. That’s a life lesson you can take with you. Abel’s talking about competing at college and he’ll be a good one.”
Junior Max Webb (heavyweight, 1-2 at district, 19-4 overall), sophomores Caleb Eads (106, 1-2, 26-9), Ryder Gwartney (182, 0-2, 21-10) and Jamie Ramirez (138, 0-2, 31-9) and freshman Oliver Savage (113, 1-2, 16-22) competed at district.
“This sophomore class we have is pretty big,” coach Ramirez said. “Most of them have been wrestling with us since youth league. They know the sport and they want to put in the work to get better. They won’t just show up in October for their junior year. They’ll work to get better.”
Also expected to return are junior Tre Helsel (170, 22-14), sophomore Donnie Morris (132, 13-14) and freshman Braden Sheets (152, 22-10).
•OCC-Buckeye standings: Lancaster (5-0), Newark (4-1), Central Crossing (3-2), Reynoldsburg (2-3), Pickerington Central (1-4), Groveport (0-5)
•Seniors lost: Michael Bradshaw, Ali El-Barati and Abel Garantche
•Key returnees: Caleb Eads, Ryder Gwartney, Tre Helsel, Donnie Morris, Jamie Ramirez, Oliver Savage, Braden Sheets and Max Webb
•Postseason: Third (138.5) at sectional behind champion Upper Arlington (241), tied for 34th (7) at district behind champion Dublin Coffman (228.5)
•OCC-Ohio standings: Grove City (5-0), Gahanna and Westerville Central (3-2), New Albany and Pickerington North (2-3), Westland (0-5)
•Seniors lost: Cameron Berio, Josiah Bever, Nick Getz, Robert Getz, Carlin Hamilton and A.J. Stoll
•Key returnees: Triston Beane, Isaac Carter, Brayden Benson, Braxton Sheets and Slade Waller
•Postseason: Fourth (183.5) at sectional behind champion Westerville North (275), 10th (55) at district behind champion Coffman (228.5), tied for 66th (2) at state behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (184.5)