By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
No athletic program in Miami County has had the success at the state level that the Troy Christian wrestling program has achieved.
Despite being in existence for less than two decades, the Eagles have won four Division III state championships (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2013) and finished as the state runner-up twice (2006 and 2012).
With seven wrestlers competing this weekend at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state wrestling meet in Columbus, Troy Christian should be in prime position to be near the top of the leaderboard when the final team standings are announced Saturday evening.
The heavy favorite to take the team title will be Genoa Area, which leads all Division III teams with nine individuals competing in the tournament, including three-time state champion Dylan D’Emilio and the Sanchez twins, Oscar and Julian, both of whom are expected to contend for state titles.
After Genoa Area, however, Troy Christian has the second-most representatives in Division III with seven. Leading the pack is junior Ethan Turner (126 pounds) who won a state title last year at 113 and placed third at state as a freshman. Joining him will be junior Caleb Schroer (106), freshman Troy Kennedy (113), sophomore Austin Awan (138), senior Ryan Whitten (145), junior Craig Montgomery (170) and senior Nick Baker (220). Montgomery was a state qualifier last year, while the remaining five will be making their first trips to the state meet.
Other contenders for the team title will include Rootstown with five wrestlers and Milan Edison with six wrestlers.
Ending the drought
Milton-Union hasn’t had a state placer since Jeff Penny placed third at 112 pounds in 2006.
Bulldog senior Dylan Schenck would like to break that trend this weekend. Competing at 152 pounds, Schenck was a state qualifier last year and, according to the high school wrestling website borofanohio.net, is a projected state placer this season. To place, Schenck will need to win at least two matches before he loses two in the double-elimination tournament.
If Schenck can win his opening match Thursday, he would face a returning state placer, Nelsonville-York’s Noah Inboden, in the second round.
From the Gambills to the Knoops and many others, the Miami East wrestling program has a long history of wrestling families competing at the highest level.
That history will take a slight twist this year as sophomore Olivia (106 pounds) and freshman Max (120) Shore will become not only the first sister and brother in school history to compete together at state history, but also the first such duo in state history. A large part of the reason for that is Olivia is only the second girl ever to compete at the state wrestling meet, joining Crestwood’s Paige Nemec, who wrestled at state in 2010.
Nemec would go 1-2 that year, missing out on a spot on the podium. Should Olivia Shore win two matches this weekend, she’ll become the first girl in the history of the state tournament ever to place. Younger brother Max is a leading contender to place at state this weekend.
Both are the younger brother of Graham Shore, a state champion last year and one of only five four-time state placers in school history.
Next year, the Vikings likely will have a chance at sending three siblings to sate. Younger brother Cooper, an eighth grader, is 40-0 this season and headed to the Ohio Athletic Committee junior high school state meet. He did not give up a single point the entire year until the OAC district finals.
Covington is sending three wrestlers to state, all three of whom are projected state placers this season.
At 106 is sophomore Kellan Anderson, who is one of only six undefeated Division III wrestlers in the state. At 49-0 this season, borofanohio.net has Anderson as the projected state champion. Anderson placed sixth at state last year.
At 113 will be sophomore Cael Vanderhorst, who placed eighth at state last year. Both he and Anderson are on pace to join Andrew DeHart as the only four-time state placers in school history.
Senior Keringten Martin will be competing at 152. He was a state qualifier last year and is a projected state placer this year.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong