Who is the best wrestling team in the state of Ohio? Wadsworth won the Division I state title last year, dethroning power St. Edward. Monroeville in Division III has three wrestlers gunning for their fourth state individual championship. Overlooked in these accomplishments is the team that very well may be the best not only in Ohio, but in the country.
St. Paris Graham
The Division II school has dominated the competition over the last few years, and has built itself up to be one of the premier wrestling schools in the country. When Graham and St. Edward meet in a dual meet, as they will on Saturday, it will be a matchup of two of the top five teams in the country.
Graham’s credentials…Graham is currently ranked as the number two team in the country according to Amateur Wrestling News. They started off their year by winning the prestigious Walsh Ironman Tournament, beating nationally known Blair Academy for the team title. They are loaded with state champions and state place winners. Coach Jeff Jordan may have his best team yet. Graham dominated St. Edward in last year’s dual meet, beating the Eagles 39-20.
St. Edward’s credentials…The team that finished second in the state last year is yurrently ranked 5th nationally by Amateur Wrestling News. The Eagles finished fifth at the Walsh Ironman, and did it with wrestlers just returning from their state championship football season. Those kids are now in wrestling shape, and the Eagles have been on a roll since then. They just defeated three of the top 25 natinally ranked schools in a quad last weekend.
Key wrestlers and matchups…THE matchup to watch is at 112 pounds where St. Edward sophomore and rising star Edgar Bright faces off with Graham state champion Ryan Taylor. The other matchups are nothing to sneeze at either, as state champions and state qualifiers litter each lineup. At 152, St. Edward state runner-up Mark Martin takes on Graham third place finisher Matt Stephens. At 160, St. Edward fifth place finisher Domenic Abounader takes on Graham state champion Isaac Jordan, and at 119, Eagles state champ Dean Heil takes on Graham stellar freshman Micah Jordan.
Could be a sign of bigger things to come…The one down side to this dual is that St. Edward is a Division I school, and Graham is a Division II school. However, if the new Ohio bylaw passes in May regarding enrollment count in the public vs private debate, these two teams may be slugging it out for state championships in the near future.
It’s a battle for bragging rights in the state of Ohio. Any diehard wrestling fan shouldn’t miss this one. You may not see any better high school wrestling talent in a dual meet than what you will see on Saturday.