The Copley Indians fielded two wrestlers at this past weekend’s OHSAA Division I State Wrestling Championships and came away with a champion.
Senior Sam Wheeler, a University of Oklahoma recruit, won the 189-pound event with a narrow 1-0 win over Cincinnati Elder’s Kevin Hyland. Wheeler’s eventual road to the title was paved with pins in his first two matches. In his opening match, Wheeler pinned Paul Winkler of Clayton Northmont at 1:24, then stopped Willoughby South’s Mario Palmisano at 5:17 to advance to the championship semifinals.
In the semifinals, Wheeler edged Jo Jo Tayse of Massillon Perry, 5-4, to advance to the finals against Hyland.
Wheeler now joins Dave Wenger (1977) and Dave Smith (1998) as the only Copley state wrestling champions.
At 145-pounds, Indians’ Jon Garrison finished sixth after starting off strong in his opening two matches. In his first match, Garrison won a 4-2 decision over Josh Toprani of Olentangy Orange then stopped Devon Range of Lyndhurst Brush via major decision, 12-3, to advance to the championship semifinals.
Tanner Lemon of Massillon Perry stopped Garrison, 9-6, to put Garrison into the consolation bracket. In his next match, Garrison lost to Mentor’s Warren Ashton, 5-0, and moved to the fifth place match. Against Stow’s Connor McMahon, Garrison lost his third straight match, dropping a hard-fought 5-4 decision.
Coach Jim Dies’ team finished 14th overall with 34 points, well-behind winner Lakewood St. Edward (187 points). Massillon Perry (109), Wadsworth (96), Cincinnati Elder (72), and Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller (66) round out the top five.
The championships, held at the Jerome Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University in Columbus, enjoyed a five-session attendance total of 61,856. In the championship finals, over 14,000 (14,121 actual) saw 14 wrestlers crowned champion – include Copley’s Wheeler. In total, 100 schools and 224 wrestlers participated in 14 weight classes.
How they finished: 1. Lakewood St. Edward 187 points; 2. Massillon Perry 109; 3. Wadsworth 96; 4. Cincinnati Elder 72; 5. Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller 66; 6. Solon 57; 7. Medina 51; 8. Twinsburg 50; 9. Mayfield 45.5; 10. Springboro 43.5.
Area notables: 11. Cleveland St. Ignatius 37; 14. Copley 34; 16. Elyria 26.5; T17. Lyndhurst Brush 26; 20. Mentor 22; T27. Brecksville-Broadview Heights 17; T30. Maple Heights 15; T33. Lakewood 14; T35. Cleveland Rhodes, Macedonia Nordonia, North Canton Hoover 12; 39. Stow-Munroe Falls 11; T44. Chardon, Olmsted Falls 8; T46. Willoughby South 7; T50. Midpark, North Royalton 6; 55. Lorain 5.5; T56. Shaw 4; T62. Westlake 3; T68. Brunswick, Euclid 2; T73. Cuyahoga Falls, Strongsville 1.