ROSS TWP. — The Ross High School wrestling team has made it to the state duals tournament in four of the past six seasons, but the road to Columbus will be a little tougher this year.
Qualifying teams will have to win four matches in one day to advance, as the regional tournament no longer is spread among two days a week apart.
Top-seeded Ross will host the Division II, Region 15 tournament Saturday and meets No. 16-seeded Shroder in the first match. Rams coach Rich Dunn said being at home and earning the No. 1 seed should help, but it could be a long day against some challenging competition.
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“We’ve been a pretty strong team in several tournaments, and in duals we’ve competed pretty well with those but this weekend will be some pretty tough competition with teams like Chaminade Julienne, New Richmond, Monroe, Indian Hill and Valley View all having some pretty good years too,” Dunn said.
“This year to save money and cut travel for teams, they put it together on a Saturday, which makes it a little more difficult, especially as teams advance, because you have to wrestle four matches. In the past it was two matches on a Wednesday and then two more matches the next Wednesday, so it’s going to be tough.”
The Rams made it to the state semifinals last year, winning a quarterfinal match 37-36 by criteria against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. They also advanced to state in 2016, and all five seniors on the team this year were a part of that one as well.
That means 106-pounder Josh Reid (19-9), 145-pounder Brayden Ploehs (22-7), 170-pounder Garrett Boyle (24-6), 182-pounder Logan Iams (23-3) and 220-pounder Tom Coleman (26-3) are looking for a third trip to state duals.
“We’ve always expected to go,” said Ploehs, who made it to the state individual tournament as a freshman and has been solid ever since. “It feels like the road to state is through Ross now since we’ve made it four of the last six years, and even when we’re not the No. 1 seed, we’ve always felt like the favorite because of what our coaches have taught us and how they put us in position to be successful.
“It’s just a matter of making sure everyone is in the right mind-set, everyone has the same goal in mind and that we all back each other up and are cheering on teammates win or lose to keep morale up for a long day.”
Junior heavyweight Alex Coleman (27-2), 160-pound junior Mehki Bouldin (21-7) and 152-pound sophomore Sean Beltran (22-5) also lead the Rams, who graduated two from last year’s team but had a few others decide not to return.
The rest of the lineup switches around, but Dunn said “it’s a solid crew that’s been working hard.”
Ross has only been to one other team dual tournament this season; however, the first one was good practice. The Rams went 3-2 at an event in West Virginia with the losses coming to Ohio Top 10 team Indian Valley and national Top 10 team Parkersburg (W.Va.) South.
Dunn said Saturday’s competition just depends on the matchups.
“We have a slogan that we use that ‘Everyone just has to do their job.’ In some of the matchups, some of our guys will be going up against highly ranked guys,” he said. “So in those matchups, we’re not expecting them to pull a big upset but just to wrestle well and try not to get pinned or give up bonus points. In matches against lesser experienced wrestlers, we expect to get a win. It just depends on how the matchup goes, but if everyone does their job, we should be OK.”
Last year’s state tournament experience has Ross hungry to get back — and ready.
“It gives a little bit of confidence, a little bit of incentive,” Dunn said. “When you get the feeling of winning a big match like that — traveling to the state tournament, we were fortunate to get a win in a pretty exciting way — that sits with you and gives you incentive to want to do it again.”
Division II, Region 15 Duals
At Ross High School
Match 1 — Ross (1) vs. Shroder
Match 2 — Goshen (9) vs. New Richmond (8)
Match 3 — Eaton (5) vs. Badin (12)
Match 4 — Taylor (13) vs. Chaminade Julienne (4)
Match 5 — Indian Hill (3) vs. West Carrollton (14)
Match 6 — Valley View (11) vs. Carroll (6)
Match 7 — Oakwood (7) vs. Franklin (10)
Match 8 — Norwood (15) vs. Monroe (2)
Match 9 — Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner
Match 10 — Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner
Match 11 — Match 5 winner vs. Match 6 winner
Match 12 — Match 7 winner vs. Match 8 winner
Match 13 — Match 9 winner vs. Match 10 winner
Match 14 — Match 11 winner vs. Match 12 winner
Martch 15 — Match 13 winner vs. Match 14 winner
Division I, Region 8 Duals
At Lakota East High School
Match 1 — Middletown (16) vs. Mount Healthy (17)
Match 2 — Colerain (9) vs. St. Xavier (8)
Match 3 — Moeller (5) vs. Anderson (12)
Match 4 — Oak Hills (13) vs. Sycamore (4)
Match 5 — Elder (3) vs. Hamilton (14)
Match 6 — Northwest (11) vs. Lakota East (6)
Match 7 — Princeton (7) vs. Lakota West (10)
Match 8 — Talawanda (15) vs. Fairfield (2)
Match 9 — Match 1 winner vs. La Salle (1)
Match 10 — Match 2 winner vs. Match 9 winner
Match 11 — Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner
Match 12 — Match 5 winner vs. Match 6 winner
Match 13 — Match 7 winner vs. Match 8 winner
Match 14 — Match 10 winner vs. Match 11 winner
Match 15 — Match 12 winner vs. Match 13 winner
Match 16 — Match 14 winner vs. Match 15 winner
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