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Tuesday, January 22, 2013Regional Wrestling: Upper Sandusky set to host inaugural state duals
Who has the best high school wrestling team in Ohio?
This year, we're about to find out as the first Ohio High School Athletic Association state dual meet tournament gets under way this week.
The first round of the tournament, the regional quarterfinals, will take place Wednesday. The regional semifinals will be Wednesday Jan. 30 and the regional finals Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Each regional champion (eight in each of Ohio's three wrestling divisions) will advance to the OHSAA state dual meet championships on Feb. 9 at Ohio State University's St. John Arena.
Two area schools, Columbus Grove and Upper Sandusky, will serve as hosts for regional semifinal matches on Wednesday.
Upper Sandusky was voted the top seed in Division III Region 18-A and for good reason. The Rams will take on the winner of Wednesday's regional preliminary match between Van Buren and McComb.
The Rams have had a terrific season, winning tournaments at Bucyrus, Plymouth and most-recently at Lima Senior.
Upper Sandusky has high hopes and expectations as the dual meet tournament begins but the Rams are most excited about getting another chance to showcase their talented team in front of a home crowd.
"Our guys are looking forward to getting another chance to wrestle at home in front of their families and classmates," said Upper Sandusky coach Chris Rodriguez, who is in his eighth season as head coach at his alma mater.
The Rams have gotten production at the top of the lineup from kids like freshmen 106-pounder Thurston Dyer (21-3) and juniors Carson Mengerink (18-5 at 113 pounds) and Derek Hansen (23-4 at 126).
But Upper Sandusky's lineup appears to be strongest in the middle weights with senior Taran Gillen (13-7, 145), junior Alex Kenner (26-1, 152), senior Cory Frey (25-3, 160) and junior Tylor Pritchard (24-4, 182).
Junior Dylan Robertson (13-8, 195) and senior Ian Baker (16-10, 220) are no pushovers either.
"The big thing is our seniors have been great leaders this year. They work hard and set a great example for the rest of the kids," Rodriguez said.
"Our kids work hard in practice and that has carried over into our matches this season. It's been a lot of fun so far."
The other first-round match at Upper Sandusky will feature Carey against Gibsonburg.
Columbus Grove will host Antwerp in an opening-round Division III regional match.
Other first-round match ups involving area teams in Division III include: Elmwood against Fostoria and Evergreen versus North Baltimore at Delta, Cory-Rawson against Galion at Woodmore, and Bluffton against Ada and Riverdale competing against Delphos St. John's at Coldwater.
Findlay, the only area squad not in Division III, is seeded fifth and will take on Fremont Ross in a Division I, Region I-A match at Perrysburg.
The Trojans will be looking to turn the tables on the Little Giants after dropping a 37-32 decision to Fremont Ross on Jan. 12.
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