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Freshmen helped power Edison to state duals

By KEVIN SHIELDS • Feb 8, 2019 at 7:00 AM

MILAN — Coming off a junior high state championship in eighth grade, Shadrick Slone entered high school with a big ceiling for himself.

Just maybe not this high right off the bat.

“I had some high goals, but I didn’t think I was going to start off 40-5,” said the Edison freshman. “Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this much success right away.”

Few high schoolers make that good of a transition at any weight class, much less at classes 145 and above. But if there’s an exception, it’s this freshmen group for the Chargers.

In last Saturday’s Division III Region 17 championship match with Delta, six freshmen started for Edison. Five were at weights 132 and up, and four at or above 152. Trailing 18-17 after the 138 match, the Chargers rolled off six straight wins — half coming from freshmen — to run away from the four-time state dual team champions.

“It’s pretty exciting. I don’t think any of us expected to do as good as we’re doing right now,” said Jacob Thompson, who wrestles at 182. “It’s been a lot of fun. I haven’t really noticed the pressure if there’s supposed to be some on me.”

Edison, which has won a school-record 33 dual matches this year, earned the No. 2 seed at Sunday’s OHSAA state team duals tournament. The Chargers will open with seventh-seeded Bidwell River Valley in the 1:15 p.m. quarterfinals inside Ohio State’s St. John Arena.

Only unlike when it featured 11 upperclassmen in the starting lineup during its 2017 state title run, this year’s Edison group will feature only five upperclass starters. The six freshmen starters all feature records of .500 or above.

“I’ve kept waiting for them to have those freshmen mistakes and freshmen moments, but they’re just not having them,” said Chargers coach Davy Hermes of his ninth graders. “They continue to be pleasant surprises.”

After senior Jordan Keegan gave Edison the lead in the finals match, Slone beat a state-ranked senior by a 9-7 decision at 152 to keep the run going.

“He just doesn’t stop. He’s relentless,” said Hermes of Slone. “He’s not the best athlete. His feet aren’t fast but he knows that. He’ll outwork anybody.”

Logan Lloyd, another freshman, then won 4-0 at 160 before Thompson followed junior Griffin Soviak with a pin at 182, all but sealing the Chargers’ third appearance at the state tournament, and first since winning in 2017.

Thompson got a pin in only 28 seconds of last year’s finals of the OAC junior high state duals as Edison topped Beaver Local 54-42 for the state title. A lineman this past fall on the football team, Thompson came into the season at or around 200 pounds.

Lloyd wrestled at 126 in the junior high finals, now he’s typically going against upperclassmen at 160.

“I could be somewhere, and probably should be around 140 right now,” Lloyd said. “There’s a lot of strength difference between me and most of my opponents, but I just try to do my best.”

Having coach Hermes being involved with him from an early age has only made being part of the varsity team feel like an old shoe to Lloyd.

“There’s just something about Davy, we know him so well,” Lloyd said. “He’s been our coach going all the way back to the biddy level, and he’s stuck with us all the way through the program. Having the same guy for that long really helps us know our place.”

Long before 106-pounder Alec Homan — a Monroeville transfer — decided to enroll at Edison, he got a taste of the type of program Hermes ran from attending those biddy practices at a young age.

“I like being on a competitive team like this,” he said. “It makes facing tough teams like Genoa very exciting when all eyes are on you to get points. I knew coming in that we were going to be a very young team, but tough.”

Edison has won back-to-back Sandusky Bay Conference wrestling titles, scoring more points than anyone across the three divisions doing so.

“The guys in this room are really tough, and you can tell they’ve seen good competition in here for awhile now,” Slone said. “Facing a state-ranked guy like Jordan Keegan everyday helps. Then coach Hermes is always working on our techniques and making sure we develop.

Hermes expects there could be as many as 10 underclassmen in the lineup come this time next year.

“The next four or five years could be the strongest years in Edison history, which is saying a lot when you won a state team duals championship just two years ago,” he said.

 

SIzing up River Valley

The Raiders, making their first-ever state appearance, were the No. 5 seed in Region 22 where they knocked off Bishop Hartley 42-36 in the finals after beating three-time qualifier Amanda-Clearcreek by a 43-31 margin in the semifinals.

Joseph Burns (113 pounds), Jacob Edwards (120), Seth Bowman (132), Nathan Cadle (138) and Eric Weber (182) were all 4-0 in the regional for River Valley. Edwards is currently ranked No. 14 in the state in Division III, according to Billy Schaefer in his Boro Fan Almanac (borofanohio.net). Will Hash is 17th at 145 and Weber is 11th at 182.

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