Prep wrestling: Ross knocking on the door again in state duals

Rich Dunn, Ross wrestling

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Rich Dunn, Ross wrestling

In the six years the Ohio High School Athletic Association has held a state team tournament in wrestling, Ross has been a constant contestant.

The Rams advanced to the state semifinals in the first year of the duals and have made it that far three times. Twice they have been regional runner-ups.

»RELATED: Area’s top teams advance in state duals

Wednesday at Chaminade Julienne High School, the Rams will try to make it four trips to St. John’s Arena in Columbus for the state tournament when they face off with Goshen in the Region 15 semifinals at 5:30 p.m.

A win puts Ross in the regional finals for the sixth time against the winner of the dual between Chaminade Julienne and Valley View.

“Reaching at least the regional semis for the sixth straight year is a credit to the coaching staff from the youth program through the middle school and high school,” Ross coach Rich Dunn said. “I am extremely blessed to be surrounded by a coaching staff that supports the whole program. Every one of my assistants and volunteers are dedicated to keeping Ross at the top. Ross would not be successful without them.”

The Rams fell in the regional finals to Western Brown last year, but the Broncos have moved up to D-I.

This year’s trio of teams joining Ross are relative newcomers to the semis.

Valley View advanced last year before being eliminated by Graham while Goshen and CJ are making their first appearances.

Dunn likes the parity and variety of the team tournament each year.

“It is nice to see other teams get a chance to advance,” Dunn said. “I have a great deal of respect for Valley View, CJ, and Goshen. They are well coached teams and have earned their spot in the regional semis.

“Goshen has seen a rapid improvement under Coach (Dan) Hill. They will be a challenge for us because they have several wrestlers that are having a great year.”

Goshen will be facing a Rams team on a roll. Ross put up more than 60 points in both duals Wednesday night, defeating Wyoming 69-9 and Monroe 63-14 to advance.

“I am pleased with how the team stepped up to the challenge to win convincingly,” Dunn said. “Monroe is young but has been improving all year long. At several weights they were very competitive with us. I don’t think anyone expected us to score 63 points against them.”

Division I: Fairfield coach Jason Laflin had a lot to be happy about Wednesday night.

He was happy to get two duals in instead of one after being voted the second seed. And he was happy with what he saw from his squad as they advanced to the Region 7 semifinals at Mason against the Comets at 6 p.m. Wednesday night.

“I thought we had energy and focus that I hadn’t seen in a while,” Laflin said. “We will need to continue to grow moving into the home stretch.”

Fairfield will get a big test in that growth movement against Mason. The Comets have won the region the past two years while also dominating the Greater Miami Conference tournament.

“Coach (Matt) McIntire is proven winner,” Laflin said. “He will have his team ready to go. We did get to see them at the Harrison duals and they were missing quite a few starters at the time so this will be our first look at them being full strength this season.”

One of the advantages the Indians have is experience. Mason graduated over half of its starting lineup from last year’s state semifinal team while the Indians return a key group.

“I hope it means a lot,” Laflin said. “Wrestling is funny sometimes in the sense that an inexperienced kid may use his inexperience as a weapon. If he is hungry and aggressive, he is dangerous.”

Buckeye invasion: The second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will put their perfect dual meet record on the line Sunday against No. 24 Purdue at 1 p.m. at Graham High School.

Coach Tom Ryan holds duals at high schools across the state as a way to allow more fans to see the team.

OSU’s Bo and Micah Jordan will make their first appearances on the mat at Graham since winning four state titles at the school. Bo is a senior. Micah a redshirt-junior. Both are returning All-Americans.

Mechanicsburg four-time state champ Kaleb Romero is being red-shirted by the Buckeyes.

OSU will be without NCAA, world and Olympic champ Kyle Snyder. The heavyweight will be representing the U.S. in Krasnoyarsk, Russia at the Golden Grand Priz Ivan Yarygin 2018, billed as “the toughest tournament on the planet.”

On deck: The Eaton Invitational concludes Saturday after getting started Friday night. Twenty-two teams are in the field with wrestling beginning at 10:30 a.m. today with a round of consolation matches.

Finals will be held approximately one hour following the final consolation match.

Northmont is the defending champ while Milton-Union was second.

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