By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — This evening, nearly 30 county wrestlers stand on the precipice of realizing their greatest dreams.
In one week, one of the most prestigious state high school wrestling tournaments in the nation will take place at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus — but to get there, they each must earn a top-four finish at their respective district wrestling tournaments this weekend at three different locations.
Here’s a look at what local wrestlers will be up against this weekend:
The Trojans will send five wrestlers to the Division I district meet at Fairmont High School, the most in coach Doug Curnes’ six years as head coach: Kobe Scott (132 pounds), Frankie Quintero (145), Shane Shoop (152), Davin Snyder (182) and Christian Nation (220).
Scott was a sectional runner-up, while all of his teammates placed third at sectionals. The Trojans are not projected to send any wrestlers to state in a talent-rich district, although upsets can and will happen throughout the statewide district tournaments this weekend.
Troy’s most recent state qualifier was heavyweight Alex Dalton in 2014.
The Red Devils are sending four wrestlers to districts at Wilmington: Russell Ramsey (106), Caleb Blake (145), Jack Peura (152) and Logan Ferrell (285). Both Peura and Ferrell were sectional champions.
Peura is a returning state placer and a heavy favorite to return to state again this year. Ferrell is projected by some as a district favorite, while Blake is expected to be in the mix for one of the four state spots in a wide-open weight class.
The Buccaneers will have eight wrestlers competing in the Division III district at Hobart Arena, the largest contingent of any Miami County school: Connor Ryan (113), Coleman Ryan (120), Jared Ford (126), Ryan Ford (138), Gage DeHart (152), Lance Miller (160), Brandon Magee (182) and Seth Thomas (220).
Ryan Ford has placed third at state each of the past two seasons and would have to be considered the Buccs’ best bet to return to state again this season. Magee is having a breakout season and is another favorite to make it to state.
Miller was a state qualifier last season, but will face a tough draw after placing fourth at sectionals last weekend. Both Connor and Coleman Ryan are projected to contend for spots at the state meet.
The Vikings will have five wrestlers at districts: Graham Shore (113), Alex Isbrandt (126), Zane Strubler (132), Dalton Loughman (195) and Ben Ferguson (285).
Shore, Isbrandt and Ferguson all were state placers last season and sectional champions last week. Barring major upsets or injuries, all three are expected to get through districts and return to state again this season.
Strubler, too, possibly could join his teammates at the state meet if he wrestles well at districts.
Troy Christian has five wrestlers going to districts: Jacob Edwards (103), Drew Whaley (113), Michael Sergent (120), Levi Sims (195) and Seth Douglas (285).
Edwards is a returning state qualifier and a sectional champion last week. He’s favored to return to state again this season. Douglas also was a state qualifier last season, but will face a tough road back after placing fourth at sectionals last week.
Sergent placed third at state two years ago, but was defeated early in the Troy district tournament last year and missed a return trip to state. He’ll be looking to rectify that stunning development this weekend.
Milton-Union has three wrestlers competing this weekend at districts: Dylan Schenck (126), Kamron Paulus (132) and Chase Mayabb (145).
Both Paulus and Mayabb are multi-time state qualifiers and both are projected to finish in the top four at districts and make return trips to state again this season.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong