Consider it done.
The Norwalk sophomore is the lone wrestler of the Truckers’ trio still alive for a state championship as he dominated Carrollton’s Alex Carrothers in a 7-0 win in the 182-pound championship prelims on opening day of the Division II state individual tournament at Ohio State’s Jerome Schottenstein Center.
Phillips, now 37-6, will face Dayton Chaminade Julienne’s Hunter Johns (39-4) in the championship quarterfinals this morning.
“He really wrestled strong. He attacked the kid and did a lot of good things,” said Norwalk coach Frank Staley of Phillips, who was third at districts. “That’s as good as he’s wrestled in the last few weeks, against a pretty solid opponent.
“He wrestles like that tomorrow morning, he’ll be in the semifinals in the evening,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ethan Hernandez (160 pounds) — a winner of 44 straight matches, until losing 4-1 in the district finals to Wauseon’s Xavier Torres — dropped his second straight match in the morning session, coming up on the opposite end of an 11-3 major decision against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s David Johnson. But he bounced back in the evening, shutting out Vincent Warren’s Brady Oberdier in a 7-0 win in the consolation bracket.
Also still alive in the consolation bracket is sophomore Alec Maloney 43-6) at 195. Maloney was victim of a 25-10 technical fall against Germantown Valley View’s Stone Day (35-1) in his opener, before squeaking out a 9-6 decision over Lodi Cloverleaf’s Cory Stallings in the consolation round.
“That was a barnburner that he won in the last seconds,” said Staley of Maloney’s match.
While only having one move on to the quarterfinals wasn’t the best result, the group as a whole is pleased to still have some possible major goals ahead of them.
“We’re all still alive and everything is still out in front of us, so we’re in good shape,” Staley said. “Going down we didn’t think we had anyone that could finish above third or fourth, which is still in the cards if our guys wrestle the way they’re capable of.”
Bellevue has both of its wrestlers still alive as well. Justin Mayes (160) earned an opening round 7-5 decision over Richfield Revere’s Stefean Farian (45-7). Mayes (45-7), will face Carrollton’s Brandon Daniels in the quartefinals.
Nick Smythe (152) lost by a 12-3 major decision to St. Paris Graham’s Joey Sanchez, before recovering for a 2-1 decision over Thornville Sheridan’s Jarrett Munyan.
Chargers go 4-0 in Div. III
Edison coach Davey Hermes never knows what he’s getting when his state wrestlers step on the mats during Thursday’s championship prelims.
But he was pleased to have his whole group able to head back to the team hotel early after a dominating 4-0 start.
As a group, the Chargers sit tied for fifth overall with Ashtabula St. John in the Div. III team standings with 12.5 points. Genoa leads with 19.5.
“Going in I thought we had a chance to get four wins and the kids came out and wrestled well. You never know what you’re going to get in that first round, some kids freeze up,” Hermes said. “But we got a tech fall, a major and a pin, so I think we’re setup for some good things to happen in the morning, too.
“Jordan Keegan will have the projected state champion (Casstown Miami East’s Alex Isbrandt) in the quarterfinals, but I think he’s a kid he can wrestle with,” he added. “Then I think the other three all have matches that we expect to win and get all three of them to the semifinals.”
Freshman Casey Barnett showed no butterflies, earning a 16-1 tech fall victory over West Salem Northwestern’s Dylan Martin in the 106 prelims.
Barnett, now 56-2, will face Nelsonville-York’s Collin Yinger (36-9) in the quarterfinals. He’s beaten Yinger — a fourth-place state finisher a year ago — twice already this season.
“Casey wasn’t phased by the big stage at all since he’s been wrestling in big tournaments his whole career,” Hermes said. “He’s just so hard to wrestle. Before you knew it, it was 16-1. He puts kids in bad positions and take advantage of it. I think he’s focused and he has his eyes set on the state finals and winning a state championship, which we think he can get.”
At 113, Ray Adams (50-8) put away first-round opponent Jake Edelman (39-5) fairly quickly, ending up with a 17-5 major decision. He’ll face Cincinnati Country Day’s Max Boaz (19-4) in today’s quarterfinals.
“Ray came down here last year and froze up a bit. He didn’t do what he should’ve done and he knew that,” Hermes said. “Today, he was focused and dominated his match.”
State-newcomer Jordan Keegan (31-3) was a 6-2 winner over Wellington’s Mason Wright (37-9) at 138.
“The kid from Wellington was tough, but Jordan was able to wrestle a solid match,” Hermes said.
Rounding out the Edison quartet was Sam Stoll, who recorded a pinfall in 5:22 over Richwood North Union’s Chris Cox-Wilson (39-11).
Still, now 53-3, faces Lewistown Indian Lake’s Connor Dixon.
“Sam does nothing flashy, he just takes care of business and is always in good position,” Hermes said.
Monroeville’s Trey Leroux, who has the second-best record of all the qualifiers in his 285-pound weight class, earned a sudden-victory pin to advance to today’s quarterfinals. Leroux, now 35-2, will face Ashtabula St. John’s Derek Elrod (26-5).