The Ross High School wrestling team’s trip to the state capital Sunday ended far sooner than hoped. But some of the Rams should be back in March, and the experience gained at the Division II dual team state championships could lead to a longer stay next time.
Sixth-seeded Ross, facing a first-round opponent with state-ranked wrestlers in 12 of the 14 weight classes, dropped a 47-21 decision to No. 3 Lisbon Beaver Local. The Rams rallied to win the final four matches behind its upper-weight hammers after falling behind 47-0.
Wrestling in the cozy confines of Ohio State University’s historic St. John Arena is always special. Doing it and gaining valuable match experience for next month’s individual state championships — held down the street at OSU’s Schottenstein Center — is a bonus.
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“That’s something we take pride in,” Ross coach Rich Dunn said of his program’s fifth appearance at the state duals. “We’ve been close the two years we weren’t here and not a lot of teams can say they’ve been here five times.”
According to the OHSAA stats, Ross is one of six schools to qualify for the tournament five times or more. The tournament started in 2013.
Ross was looking to duplicate its success as a low seed from past tournaments. The Rams are one of three teams to win a match as a No. 6 seed and the only team to win as a No. 7 seed.
But against Beaver Local, making its first state dual appearance, Ross ran into trouble. The Beavers won the first 10 matches on four pins, three decisions, two technical falls and one major decision.
Ross senior Garrett Boyle won his 182-pound match 6-2 to get the Rams going. Senior Logan Iams followed at 195 with a pin in 4:19. Senior Tom Coleman did the same at 220, putting his opponent down in 33 seconds. Junior Alex Coleman capped the Rams’ 21-0 run winning by forfeit at 285.
“We’ve got some pretty good big guys. That’s kind of what we depend on,” Dunn said. “We’re strong in the middle and our little guys fight their hearts out. Beaver Local had no weak spots in their lineup. It gives all of our guys a challenge. That’s great.”
Holding Beaver Local to 47 points also provided a sense of accomplishment for Ross. Of the nine teams seeded No. 3 or better in all three divisions, the 47 points tied for the second fewest behind No. 3 Versailles’ 40.
“Look at the scores and how many No. 3 seeds get held to 47 points?” Dunn said. “They had some pretty touch matches to get through us. We didn’t give up. You couldn’t take anything away from our guys. Our guys fought all the way through. They had to fight for every point they got.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to get the guys up here. We had to go through some tough teams. Chaminade Julienne and Monroe are having excellent years and to beat them to get here was an accomplishment. We’re proud of it.”
Graham won the D-II title.
Next up for Ross is the Southwest Ohio Conference championships at Northwest on Saturday. Ross has finished second behind Harrison the past three seasons.
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