Van Buren's Chad Sonnenberg gets tangled up with Edgerton's Josh Goebel, who he beat 11-3 in a Division III state semifinal.
COLUMBUS - It wasn't semi-good nor was it semi-bad. Rather, the state semifinal round for Division III area wrestlers went quite poorly.
Of the six area competitors in last night's prequel to tonight's championship, only Van Buren junior Chad Sonnenberg was victorious. The five losses ranged from heart shattering to one-sided.
All who wrestled in yesterday evening's session at the Schottenstein Center are guaranteed to place in the top eight today. But only Sonnenberg can claim gold, and that's seemingly a tall order as he'll battle one of the nation's best in Monroeville's Cam Tessari.
"I don't know for sure if I can beat him, but I know I'll give him my hardest shot," said Sonnenberg, who defeated Edgerton's Josh Goebel 11-3.
The Patrick Henry duo of Alex Lopez and Xavier Dye each dropped semifinal bouts, as did Montpelier's Luke Boehm, Cardinal Stritch's Kyle Gladieux, and Swanton's Mimmo Lytle.
Monroeville will almost surely earn the school's first state wrestling championship as the Eagles have accumulated 93 points to distance themselves from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (61) and Bedford St. Peter Chanel (52.5).
Lopez' loss came in one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. Trailing top-ranked Mike Kovach of Chanel 4-1 Lopez scored two takedowns to tie the match at 5-5 entering the third. Lopez (46-1), though, was unable to escape in the final period and ultimately lost in double overtime when he allowed a reversal.
Dye, on the other hand, was beaten soundly, losing 10-1 to Christian Academy's Alex Utley at 171 pounds. The Patriot junior will finish anywhere from third to sixth.
"We don't think about the worst [case scenario]," Dye said. "I have to get third. You have to finish as high as you can down here."
Elmwood's defending state champion Nick Goebel (112) lost 6-2 during the morning's quarterfinal round but responded with a pair of wins to remain in standing to finish third. His teammate, Dexter Lee, will wrestle for seventh at 103. At 119 pounds, Liberty Center's Luke Kern will finish seventh or eighth, and McComb's Jacob Haas can capture anywhere from third through sixth.
Boehm (145) became Montpelier's third state-place winner when he won in the quarterfinals, but an ankle injury forced him to default in the semifinals against Covington's Andrew DeHart. Boehm was trailing considerably when he chose to forgo the remainder of the match. He expects to wrestle today.
"I can still live with this," Boehm said. "I'm happy with everything that's going on."
Gladieux dropped a 10-7 decision to Carlisle's Nick Leforce at 160 pounds in a match that saw Gladieux score two uncontested takedowns in the final seconds.
Lytle (285) was thrown to his back in the second period and pinned in 3:04 by Independence's Greg Dailey. Dailey was leading 1-0 at the time of the fall and had just been warned for stalling, a fear that likely prompted his first true offensive attack of the match.
"We were wrestling a great match, being physical, but their hips got close and we were standing too tall, and the unfortunate happened," Swanton coach Greg Hallett said.
Sonnenberg said he considered dropping to 135 earlier this season but chose to stay at 140 so he could wrestle Tessari, a junior with two state titles on his resume. Both Sonnenberg and Tessari are unbeaten.
"I really wanted a shot at him, so my time is now," Sonnenberg said.
Lake's Brandon Tantari has reeled off three straight wins after a setback in Thursday's opening round. Tantari outlasted Amanda-Clearcreek's Kaleb Miller 3-2 in yesterday evening's consolation quarterfinal round and remains in position to take third.
"I just want to say I put everything into it and look myself in the mirror and have no regrets," Tantari said.
- Ryan Autullo