Ross High School added another wrestler to its school-record contingent Thursday when junior 152-pounder Andrew Dunn was elevated from state alternate to participate after Hillsboro junior Kordell Ford was unable to wrestle due to illness.
“We got official word (Wednesday night) about 8 o’clock,” said Rams coach Rich Dunn, who is Andrew’s uncle. “He was at church when he found out, and he’s pretty low key anyhow so there wasn’t a lot of screaming and yelling. But everyone who saw him there said he was grinning from ear to ear.”
Dunn dropped an 8-2 decision to Warren Howland sophomore David Brian Whisler in the first round at the Schottenstein Center and then saw his season end with a 6-5 loss to Columbus Whitehall’s Ifa Abuduljelil in the consolation bracket.
“He wrestled well,” Rich Dunn said. “He prepared all week in case the opportunity came.”
Losing a chance to compete at state was a tough break for Ford, who finished fourth at state last year at 160 and was 46-3 this year, including a 7-0 victory against Dunn in the consolation semifinals — the go-to match — at the district tournament.
This is the second time Rich Dunn has had an alternate make it into the field. Brad Shearer did it as a sophomore in 2002 and went 0-2 at 103.
Champ dethroned: Graham wrestlers went 7-1 in the first round, with the highlight being junior Lane Thomas’ 7-1 victory against defending state champion Chris Moore, of Clyde.
Also winning for the Falcons were undefeated senior and three-time defending state champion Bo Jordan (160) by technical fall and junior two-time defending state champion Micah Jordan (132) by major decision.
Sophomores Eli Stuckey (106) and Eli Seipel (113) and freshmen Brent Moore (120) and Alex Marinelli (152) also cruised into the quarterfinals and contributed to the 22 team points that had Graham atop the Division II standings at the end of the first round, four ahead of Claymont.
Comeback kid: Bellbrook’s defending state champion Cameron Kelly heard the rumors all week that he had knee surgery and was done for the year.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of his demise had been greatly exaggerated.
Kelly did suffer a torn MCL on Sunday while wrestling at Jeff Jordan’s facility, but he cruised into the Division II state quarterfinals at 113, winning 7-2 against returning state placer Jake Zemaitis of Manua Crestwood.
“I could hardly walk Monday and I was devastated,” said Kelly, who is sporting a giant brace on his right knee. “I thought my season was over.”
On Tuesday, Dr. Joe Dicicco diagnosed Kelly and fitted him with a brace and a portable stim machine so he could defend his title.
“Without him, I wouldn’t be here,” Kelly said. “My game plan changed a little bit, but I felt more comfortable on my feet and on top.”
Jack of all trades: Centerville resident Steve Long is working his 18th state tournament as an official, but his work for the tournament began well before the mats were put down.
Long, who owns Long’s Graphic Design, designed the wrap-around banner at the end of the Schottenstein Center. The banner, 133 feet by 7 feet, contains a dozen illustrations of past wrestlers at the state tournament.
“I just created everything out like I was doing an oil painting,” Long said, noting each illustration took 12 hours. “I thought it would be a neat idea to do this and Bruce Mauer (at the OHSAA) liked it.”
Next season a second wrap will be at the other end of the venue near the podiums and will include the likeness of such greats as Graham’s Bo Jordan.
Up Next: Wrestling continues today at 10 a.m. with the championship quarterfinals. Semifinals are slated to begin at 6:30.