Area grapplers look to earn All-Ohio status this weekend
District champion Peyten Kellar will become the first Warren High freshman in the history of the Warrior grappling program to compete in this week’s Individual State Wrestling Championships.
All the Ohio Division II mat action, a double-elimination tournament, is scheduled to get underway at 4:10 p.m. Thursday and resume at 10:35 a.m. Friday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. The first-place championship matches are slated for 5:45 p.m. Saturday.
“I’m nervous, but I like it,” said Kellar, the owner of a 48-4 record in the 106-pound weight division.
Kellar will be joined at state by Warren sophomore Brady Oberdier (46-10), who placed fourth at district to qualify in the 160-pound weight class
“It’s quite an achievement to get a freshman and a sophomore to state,” said Warren head wrestling coach Jim Rhodes. “These are our first state qualifiers since 2015.
“At district, Liam Kellar (Peyten’s older brother) was in a loaded 152-class and missed going by one match. Ronnie Hill at 182 (2-2 district record) had two projected high placers and he went out at the same time as Liam (2-2). Both had tough brackets.”
Rhodes said that last weekend’s D2 district tournament at Claymont High “was probably the toughest in the state.”
“You’ve got Steubenville, Carrollton, Claymont, West Holmes, Indian Valley among the top teams there,” the coach added. “So, I’m very proud of all of our eight — Eli Ross (120, 0-2), Dylan Anderson (170, 0-2), Nate Gessel (195, 0-2) Tristen Duffey (138, 0-2), Liam, Ronnie, Brady, and Peyten.”
At district, Kellar posted a 4-0 mark with two pins, a major decision, and a 4-3 decision in the final.
“Peyten beat Cael Woods from West Holmes who was 44-1 going into finals,” Rhodes said.
Kellar’s triumph in the finals was also a come-from-behind effort as he trailed 2-0 early on. Rally, he tied it was a takedown, and then took the lead on a reversal.
“He (Woods) got an escape point at the very end,” Kellar said.
In Kellar’s opening bout at state, he is scheduled to wrestle Germantown Valley View senior Ethan Mayo (29-8), a fourth-place district finisher at Wilmington.
“I’ve never wrestled him before,” Kellar said. “So, in the first period, I’ll probably wrestle slower to see what he has.
“Then, in the second period, I’m hoping to take over.”
This week, Kellar will be preparing for state on the Warren practice mat with his brother and teammate Liam and teammate Ross.
Oberdier posted a 4-2 mark with three straight falls at district to punch his ticket to state. He sealed the deal with a 14-7 decision against Indian Valley’s Jacob Armstrong in the consolation semis.
“Brady lost his first match at district,” Rhodes said. “He was winning 16-9 when he got caught and pinned.”
Oberdier rebounded, though, in the consolations, winning four straight, before losing a 6-2 decision to Morgan High junior Wesley Pauley (4-1 at district) in the third-place match.
“To get to states after losing your first round is the toughest way,” Rhodes said.
“Brady had to beat two sectional champs to get through.
“Pauley is a returning state qualifier from last year at 160. Brady beat him 11-7 earlier this season.”
Oberdier is slated to wrestle Wilmington district champ Ryan Thomas (41-1) of St. Paris Graham Local in his opening match at Schottenstein. Thomas is a senior.
In the same weight class, Pauley (51-5), the Most Valuable Wrestler at the MVL Championships at Maysville High in February, will be battling Wilmington district runner-up and senior Isaac Allen (38-8) of Wilmington.
At the D3 district meet at Heath High, Caldwell High qualified three grapplers to state in junior runner-up Marshall Niswonger (113, 39-7), sophomore third placer Collin Wiley (138, 39-10), and senior fourth-placer Trevor Hayes (195, 25-18).
All the D3 state preliminaries begin at 3 p.m. Friday.
In opening bouts, Niswonger is slated to wrestle sophomore Chase Caprella (38-2) of Harrod Allen East; Wiley versus senior Jared Ford (40-4) of Troy Christian; and Hayes vs. senior Nick Shephard (38-0) of Navarre Fairless.
Also competing at the Columbus showcase event will be Shenandoah freshman 106-pounder Alex Overly (34-11) and Federal Hocking senor 195-pounder Colten Roark (28-6).
Overly will be pitted against district champion Wyatt Riddle (18-1) of Lees Creek East Clinton, while Roark faces junior Ryan Boyle (48-7) of Rootstown.
Waterford’s Haden Offenberger thrived as a district alternate, placing fifth in the 132-pound class. Now, the Wildcat freshman is hopeful an opportunity presents itself again as a D3 state alternate.
“Haden had a pretty good run (at district),” said Waterford head coach Greg Offenberger. “Making the most of it, he came up just short. Every match he won was an upset. Not too bad for a guy who wasn’t even supposed to be there.”
In an opening round bout, the younger Offenberger decisioned West Jefferson’s Jesse Keane, 2-0, in overtime.
The Waterford grappler then got pinned in the second period (3:17) by Coshocton’s Blake Barrick in a quarterfinal.
Bouncing back in the second round consolations, Offenberger flattened Justin King of Sandy Valley in 2:42.
In the consolation quarter final, Offenberger downed Jacob Boulet of Barnesville, 11-5. This was a rematch from sectionals that he lost in overtime.
In the consolation semi (the go to match to state), he lost 12-7 to Elliot Dean of Bridgeport
But in the 5th-6th place final, Offenberger rallied to earn a 7-5 decision against Nate Weaver of Mount Gilead and as a result was named a state alternate.
“Haden wrestled the best he has ever wrestled,” Coach Offenberger said, “and let everyone know he belongs on this stage. “He was ignored in state rankings all year. I’m pretty sure this will get him noticed.
“His biggest weapon is his stamina. When other guys are getting tired in the third, he gets stronger and senses their weakness.”
Also named as an alternate at state was Marietta High senior Ethan Duvall, who was 1-2 at 145 at the D2 Claymont District.