By Ben Robinson
COLUMBUS – Two out of the four Miami East wrestlers won their opening
bouts at the 79th Annual OHSAA State Wrestling Tournament on Thursday
to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round.
First, Graham Shore (44-5) was dominant, cruising to a 19-2 technical
fall win over Cody Welch of Nelsonville-York. The Viking sophomore,
who knocked off defending state champion and nationally ranked Tommy
Hostkins of Dayton Christian in last week’s district final, will
battle Waynedale’s Christian Wellman (51-2) in tomorrow morning’s
quarterfinals at 113 pounds.
“Graham looked good,” said Miami East coach Mark Rose. “His motor was
running and he was dominant. To get a tech fall at state, that say
Alex Isbrandt (41-6) also advanced to the quarterfinals at 126 pounds
thanks to a gritty performance in a 4-3 win over Luke Coniker of
Steubenville Catholic. Coniker had built a 3-0 lead early, but
Isbrandt was able to close the gap to 3-2 in the final period. With
seconds ticking away, the Viking sophomore turned Coniker for two back
points in the final seconds to pull out the win.
He will wrestle Damian D’Emilio (44-6) of Genoa Area in the
quarterfinals tomorrow morning.
“Alex pulled one out by the skin of his teeth, gutting the two-count
in the last two seconds,” Rose said.
For Zane Strubler and Ben Ferguson, both suffered heartbreaking
defeats in their opening matches.
Strubler (35-12) fell to Stan Bleich of Elyria Catholic by the score of 9-3,
Ferguson dropped a close 4-3 decision to Oak Harbor’s Brandon Garber
“Both Ben and Zane fought hard,” Rose explained. “A loss in the first
round doesn’t kill you, it just makes your road (to the podium) that
Ferguson was able to keep his quest to reach the podium for the second
straight year alive with an 8-4 win over Austin Mathis of Orwell Grand
Valley, but Strubler dropped out of the tournament with a 6-2 loss to
Kolby Rayner of Caldwell.
Wrestling resumes Friday morning at 10 a.m.