By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TROY — Doug Curnes will take quality over quantity every time.
“This isn’t a huge tournament, but it’s a good tournament,” the Troy wrestling coach said of Saturday’s Troy Invitational wrestling tournament. “If you look at it, we’ve got some ‘hammers’ who are going to be competing here.”
There will be 14 teams competing in Saturday’s tournament, which — compared to some other tournaments — is a relatively small number. There will be no shortage of individual talent, however, as there will be at least four state placers, nine state qualifiers and more than a dozen wrestlers who are state-ranked this season competing.
“There will be a lot of Division III kids here, but I don’t care if they are Division III or not — wrestling is wrestling,” Curnes said. “There are going to be kids here who would be state qualifiers and state placers no matter what division they were competing in. It’s a good tournament. I’ll take quality over quantity.”
In addition to Troy, two other Miami County teams — Miami East and Covington — will be competing Saturday. Miami East won the tournament last year, while Covington took second. Those two teams are projected to compete for the team title again this year.
Miami East currently has four wrestlers ranked in the top 20 in the state at their respective weight classes in Division III: Olivia Shore (third at 106 pounds), Max Shore (fourth at 113), Matthew Welker (13th at 170), Brenden Dalton (fourth at 220). Dalton was a state qualifier last season.
Covington currently has five wrestlers ranked in the top 25 in the state at their respective weight classes in Division III: Kellan Anderson (first at 106), Cael Vanderhorst (sixth at 120), Riley Richards (25th at 132), Keringten Martin (sixth at 152) and Gage Kerrigan (14th at 195). Anderson and Vanderhorst both were state placers last season, while Martin and Kerrigan both were state qualifiers.
Troy’s Shane Shoop (170) won a title at last year’s Troy Invitational, while Carlos Quinero (145) placed third.
Joining the three local teams at the tournament will be: Arcanum, Ben Logan, Greenville, Hamilton, Lima Senior, Northmont, Sidney, Delphos St. John’s, Wayne, Wayne Trace and Cincinnati St. Xavier.
Curnes said his team is relatively healthy and all of his wrestlers are quickly approaching the weight classes in which they’ll likely compete in the postseason.
“We are missing Nick Middlestadt, but we are hoping to get him back for sectionals, possibly even the (Greater Western Ohio Conference) tournament,” he said. “Other than that, we are pretty healthy. We’ve got a few kids who are under the weather a little bit, but the masses are healthy. We’ve got guys who are making weights. We’ve got some younger guys who are getting better every day. I think they are getting tired of getting beat on and are starting to see what it is they need to do.”
Curnes said he always looks forward to hosting the Troy Invitational.
“It’s a lot of work — there’s a lot of little intricacies that go on behind the scenes that nobody sees — but it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “We like that we don’t have to travel. We have our home scales, our home mats and we can wrestle in our home gym.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong