Wauseon's Zane Krall reacts after winning his 220-pound match against Ray Stone of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.
COLUMBUS -- It would be a bad idea if Dalton Nicely and Zane Krall drilled moves against each other in Wauseon's wrestling room.
At 138 pounds, Nicely would get injured mixing it up against the 220-pound Krall.
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Instead, the friends make each other better in non physical ways, and that relationship came to fruition Friday evening as they secured berths in the Division II state finals.
Wauseon hadn't had a state finalist since 1995, and on Saturday at Value City Arena, two Indians will compete on an elevated platform before a crowd of roughly 18,000 spectators.
"Extra practices, extra conditioning, we're always there together to push each other," Krall said.
Nicely advanced with an 8-4 decision over Oak Harbor's Luke Cramer, and Krall outlasted Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's Ray Stone, 6-5, in a tiebreaker. Bolstered by a strong showing from freshman Wade Hodges, Wauseon has amassed 49 points and is tied for fifth with Steubenville. St. Paris Graham (156) has a gaping lead over Lexington (81) and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (69.5).
Losing in the semifinal round were Central Catholic's Alex Mossing (132) and Oak Harbor's Alex Bergman (152). Those two, along with Cramer and Central Catholic's Levi Pickerel (285), will finish anywhere from third through sixth Saturday. Wrestling for seventh place will be Hodges (113), Central Catholic's Nate Hagan (120), Bryan's Shelden Struble (138), and Eastwood's Kyle Patterson (182).
Nicely (46-6) scored an early takedown to take control of Cramer in a rematch from last week that Nicely won in overtime. A late reversal finalized the bout, and Nicely clapped his hands together in approval after the final whistle blew.
Next up for him is Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit's Nate Skonieczny, a returning state champion who is ranked No. 2 in the country. Nicely lost to him 12-11 last season.
"Only six more minutes of wrestling," Nicely, a senior, said. "All I have to do is be the best for those six minutes to win a state title."
Dalton Nicely of Wauseon defeats Luke Cramer of Oak Harbor in a 138 pound semifinal match during the Division II State Wrestling Tournament Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.
Like Nicely, Krall (47-3) is placing for the first time as a junior. After a scoreless overtime period, he scored a reversal and back points to upend Stone. Krall will face CVCA's Matt Meadows, a winner by technical fall, in the finals.
"Been working for it my whole life," Krall said. "Finally paid off."
Twenty seconds separated Mossing from a championship berth before he allowed a reversal to Lima Shawnee's Colin McDermitt and fell 2-1. A sophomore, Mossing (45-11) places for the second time.
"Can't really be upset," he said. "It's the state semis. Lose by a point, it's not that big of a deal."
Bergman was beat 26-11 by Graham's Bo Jordan, which surprised no one. Not even Bergman.
Jordan, the top-ranked wrestler in the nation at his weight, is on track to win four state titles and has lost just once in three years.
"When a kid's stronger than you, bigger than you, and faster than you, it's kind of hard to win," said Bergman, who has lost three times to Jordan.