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Published: Thursday, 3/1/2007

Start's Jones on the mend, but Spartan won't compete on state mats

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Start's Roshawn Jones was injured during a district match Saturday and had a disc removed from his neck Monday. Start's Roshawn Jones was injured during a district match Saturday and had a disc removed from his neck Monday.
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The last few days have produced both good news and bad news for Start's Roshawn Jones.

The good news for Jones, a senior who ranks among the state's top wrestlers, is that the injuries he suffered at the Division I district meet in Mentor, Ohio, Saturday don't seem to be serious.

Jones hit his head awkwardly on the mat early in his 145-pound championship bout with Dan Gonsor of Lakewood St. Edward. According Start coach Marc Contos, Jones was taken to the emergency room at St. Anne Mercy Hospital here in Toledo late Saturday, then transferred to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

On Monday Jones had surgery during which one disc in his neck was removed and another was adjusted before two vertebrae were fused together.

Contos said Jones was released from St. Vincent on Tuesday and will not have to wear a halo brace, as was originally thought. Contos also said doctors are confident Jones will make a full recovery.

But the bad news is that the injury will prohibit the senior from wrestling in the state wrestling championships, which begin today at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

Jones' spot was taken by Rudy Hendon of Bowling Green, making Hendon one of 16 wrestlers from northwest Ohio who will wrestle in the Division I portion of the tournament.

Among those hoping to make a splash in Division I are three

Mentor district winners.

Waite's Scott Fuller, a junior, improved to 22-1 with his title at 119, while teammate Vinny Lopez, also a junior, took top honors at 135 and 32-3.

The third local champ is Gabe Garcia of Southview, a senior with a 36-4 record who is one of three locals who advanced at 152.

The others are senior Mac Henry of Bowling Green (35-7) and junior Evan Roth of Whitmer (39-3).

According to the Brakeman Report, an annual forecast of the top wrestlers in each weight class, other top candidates to earn all-Ohio honors from this area include Springfield senior Matt Dennis, who is 29-4 at 130, and a pair of 189-pounders in Whitmer senior Tim Samson (39-4) and Southview sophomore Greg Isley (32-6).

Lakewood St. Edward is the overwhelming favorite to win its 11th consecutive title in Division I.

The Eagles, who are looking to claim their 23rd title overall, set district records by advancing all 14 of their wrestlers to the state meet, crowning 11 district champs and scoring 366.5 points, nearly 250 more than their nearest competitor.

While St. Paris Graham is the favorite to win its seventh consecutive title in Division II, a pair of local schools may factor in the team race.

Oak Harbor advanced eight wrestlers to the state meet - only St. Paris Graham, with 12, had more - while Eastwood hopes its five wrestlers will provide enough points to compete for a top finish.

What the Eagles lack in quantity, they make up for in quality. They had four individuals win titles at the Ontario district: junior Justin Flores (40-9) at 119, senior Jan Ulinski (46-3) at 125, junior Eric Cubberly (47-1) at 152 and junior Jeremy Foster (47-1) at 171.

Oak Harbor's state contingent also includes some of the top-ranked Division II wrestlers in the state.

The group is led by juniors Kirk Tank, who is 36-1 at 145; Keith Witt, 24-4 at 160, and Cody Magrum, the defending state champ at 171 who is 29-4 this season.

Other top local wrestlers include Jeremy Espinoza of Rossford, a senior who is 36-0 at 130, and Dave Pickerel of Central Catholic, a sophomore who is 31-4 at 215.

In Division III, Genoa's Nick Purdue, a senior who won the title at 171 last season, is favored to win the 189-pound crown this year. He enters the tournament with a 40-3 record.

For the second straight year Purdue is joined in Columbus by teammate Kurt Wolff (39-7), a senior who will wrestle at 171 this year after finishing as the runner-up at 160 last March.

Others include Josh Reindel, a sophomore from Cardinal Stritch who is 36-4 at 135, Derrick Yant, a junior from Delta who is 42-2 at 160, and a pair of heavyweights from the Suburban Lakes League in Jacob Southwick of Otsego (34-5) and Elmwood's Toby Tahy (33-8).

Troy Christian, which advanced 12 wrestlers to the championships, and Marion Pleasant are the favorites to win the title and end the five-year reign of Sandusky St. Mary.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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