State team tourney gets started tonight
By Chris Miles
The sport of wrestling much like track and field has long been viewed as an individual sport within the realm of team competition.
The better a group of individual wrestlers do in each individual competition, the better the team scores.
Those theories will begin to change as the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) will crown state team champions this year for the first time through a dual meet state tournament which gets underway tonight.
All four Madison County wrestling teams will be in action in the opening round of the tournament.
West Jefferson the No. 1 seed in the Division III Region 22-B tournament will tangle with No. 8 seed Westfall at West Jefferson (approximately 7:30 p.m.).
Roughriders coach Nick Christopher said his team is looking forward to the new tournament.
“We are really looking forward to participating in the state duals,” Christopher said. “As far as being seeded No. 1, it came as a bit of a surprise to be honest, but the kids have been working hard and improving.”
Although the single elimination state team tournament ultimately carries more weight than your typical late-January dual, the West Jeff coach said he’s approaching it as if it was just another dual.
“There is no difference in this dual or any other to me,” Christopher said. “You put yourself in the best position to win the meet.”
The winner of the West Jeff-Westfall dual will face either No. 4 Columbus Academy or No. 5 Zane Trace on Jan. 30.
Also in the D-III Region 22-B bracket No. 3 Madison-Plains will square off with No. 6 Southeastern at Bishop Hartley (6 p.m.).
The winner will advance to meet either No. 2 Hartley or No. 7 Paint Valley.
London is the No. 9 seed in the D-II Region 15-A bracket and will meet No. 8 Western Brown in the first round (6 p.m.) at Miami Trace.
The winner of the dual will immediately turnaround and face the No. 1 seed Miami Trace 20 minutes later.
Jonathan Alder was selected the No. 4 seed in the D-II Region 14-A bracket and will host No. 5 Mifflin tonight (approximately 7:30 p.m.).
If the Pioneers advance they will meet No. 1 seed Whitehall Jan. 30 at a site to be determined.
The state dual tournament isn’t a new concept. It for years has been contested but not sanctioned by the OHSAA.
West Jeff’s Christopher said the concept of competing as an individual for a team is still an important part of his approach to wrestling.
“The team is stressed not the individual,” he said. “If you as an individual do your part, the team benefits.
“This is not like other team sports where you have several members working together at one time, this is each individual, who is a part of this team doing their assignment to the best of their abilities.
“This is how we prepare for each contest that we have, so to me the preparation is the same.”
The state team tournament will conclude Feb. 9 at St. John Arena at Ohio State University.
The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will all be conducted that day.
The individual state championships will still be held at the Schottenstein Center at OSU Feb. 28 through March 2.
Madison-Plains to host D-III wrestling sectional
MPHS will once again open its doors as a host for the D-III Central District wrestling tournament Feb. 15-16.
It’ll be the fourth straight year the school has hosted the state’s individual wrestling postseason opener. The other Central District sectional site is Cardington Lincoln.
Golden Eagles director of athletics Matt Mason said its an event Plains fans and wrestlers look forward to hosting.
“It’s something we’ve hosted the last three years,” he said. “It gives our wrestlers a chance to wrestle at home.
“And we get to keep the concession revenue.”