COLUMBUS Four Suburbanite-area schools sent wrestlers to the Ohio High School Athletic Association state wrestling championships and several reached the podium.
Coventry, Green, Springfield and Manchester were all represented at the tournament, with the Comets and Panthers sending two wrestlers each and the Bulldogs and Spartans sending one. The top placer among that group was Manchester junior Zach Larue, who placed fourth at 126 pounds in Division III. Teammate Jake White was eighth at 120 pounds as the sophomore dropped a tough decision in the seventh-place match for Division III.
Coventry’s duo of senior Joe Wright and junior Miles Knuckles found the going tough as well, with Wright placing seventh at 126 pounds in Division II and Knuckles bowing out in the first round of the consolation bracket.
"It was a lot better this year than last year. I joked all year about not being the only guy going down there," Wright said of having Knuckles along with him at the state tournament.
Knuckles, who dropped both of his matches at the state tournament, said that the experience was a lot to take in, believes he will be better for it as he points toward his senior season.
"Next year, I don’t think I’ll be so overwhelmed," Knuckles said. "But I tried to treat it like any other tournament, stay calm and do what I needed to do."
Wright admitted that even though he knew the tournament represented the end of his high school career, he tried not to overthink things once he got to Columbus. After dropping his first match to drop his record to 40-5, Wright defeated Ethan Mueller of Minerva by a 9-3 score to stay alive in the consolation bracket.
A 7-4 win over Granville’s Douglas Terry kept his roll going and even after dropping a 2-1 decision in the following round, he closed out the tournament and his Coventry career with a 5-4 decision over Dayton Chaminade Juilienne’s Isaiah Wortham to claim seventh place.
"I didn’t have too many thoughts because I just wanted to stay focused and win my last match," Wright said.
Graber had his own 5-4 outcome, with his first match ending with a 5-4 loss to Jordan Ward of Cincinnati Moeller. After dropping a one-point decision, Graber won his first consolation match before Brunswick’s Matt Fields eliminated him with a 3-0 decision in the second round. Springfield's Jack Rogan placed sixth at 170 pounds in Division II after winning his first match of the tournament.
Among the four local teams represented in Columbus, Manchester ranked highest in the team standing with 20 points and a 28th-place finish in Division III. Coventry had four points in the Division II standings.
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