“My goal since I was 3 years old was to win state,” Sams said. “And this is my last shot.”
Sams turned up the conditioning his senior year to make sure he was ready to grind for six minutes every match at the state tournament and Saturday’s finals showed the gears are still shifting at the end of the match.
Sams recorded three takedowns in the final 30 seconds of the title match.
“I wanted to prove my point that I am wrestling as well as the best in the state,” Sams said. “I think everyone is looking over me.”
Lakota East’s Jon Spaulding also showed he has a running engine, recording an escape and takedown in overtime to claim a 5-2 win in the 285-pound final.
“I wasn’t tired, but I didn’t wrestle the way I wanted to,” Spaulding said. “I’m not where I want to be, but it’s a process.”
The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state tournament.
Fairfield’s Zach Shupp (right) looks for an opening to attack La Salle’s Lucas Byrd during their 106-pound title match in the Division I district tournament at Fairmont’s Trent Arena on Saturday. Byrd emerged with a 2-1 victory. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS
Division II: The resurgence of the Talawanda program continued at the Division II district tournament at Wilmington.
Senior Preston Bressler (170) qualified for state with a third-place finish, while sophomore Sean Mondello (152) also advanced by placing fourth
Returning state qualifier Jake Gentry of Ross finished second at 113 to return to state. Gentry will be joined by teammate Karson Chasteen (285).
Fenwick’s Alex Kowal will also make a return trip after bouncing back from a semis loss to Franklin’s Trent Scott at 145 to finish fourth.
Scott will be joined by teammate Wyatt Hillard (220). Madison’s Gunnar Dawson (160) and Zach Banks (195) also advanced.
Division III: The showdown lived up to the hype.
In a battle of returning state placers in the 220 final at Troy’s Hobart Arena, Carlisle’s Reece Human came up a point shy against defending state champ Ben Sullivan of National Trail.
Sullivan claimed a 7-6 win to avenge his loss to Human in the district semis last year and set up the two for a possible rematch in the state title match.
On deck: The 80th state wrestling tournament runs Thursday through Saturday at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
Wrestling begins Thursday with Division III at 3 p.m. Division II will start at 4:10, with Division I at 5:40.
Area State Qualifiers
106: Zach Shupp, Fairfield, Jr., 31-5
120: Jabari Thomas, Fairfield, So., 33-11
145: Sam Meddings, Fairfield, Sr., 35-9
170: Andrew Sams, Fairfield, Sr., 35-2
285: Jon Spaulding, Lakota East, Sr., 37-4
113: Jake Gentry, Ross, Jr., 34-11
145: Trenton Scott, Franklin, Sr., 22-4; Alex Kowal, Fenwick, Sr., 47-4
152: Sean Mondello, Talawanda, So., 39-9
160: Gunnar Dawson, Madison, Sr., 34-3
170: Preston Bressler, Talawanda, Sr., 31-14
195: Zach Banks, Madison, Jr., 34-13
220: Wyatt Hillard, Franklin, Sr., 42-4
285:. Karson Chasteen, Ross, Sr., 44-3
220: Reece Human, Carlisle, Sr., 26-1