State wrestling: Ross senior reaches 100 wins; Fairfield senior reaches semifinals

Ross senior Griffin Peacock won his 100th career match on Saturday in the Division II state tournament. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED
Ross senior Griffin Peacock won his 100th career match on Saturday in the Division II state tournament. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

MARENGO – Since 2012, heavyweights have been a big deal for the Ross Rams wrestling program. Senior Griffin Peacock added to that legacy Saturday.

Peacock earned career victory No. 100 at the Division II OHSAA state wrestling championships, held at Highland High School north of Columbus. Peacock pinned Keystone’s Luke Moore as the first period expired.

“It was definitely a lot of pressure, but I just had to trust in my ability to wrestle. That’s what it came down to,” Peacock said of bouncing back from a 7-4 loss to Napoleon’s Demitrius Hernandez in the opening round.

“Throws are always like that with heavyweights. When heavyweights are on their back they get pinned.”

Ross has thrown its weight around at heavyweight since 2012. Gavin Peacock, Griffin’s bother, was a state alternate in 2013 and state qualifier in 2014. Jeremy Roseblum was a state qualifier in 2016. Karson Chasteen qualified for state in 2017. Alex Coleman was an alternate in 2018 won the state title a season later. He also qualified in 2020 before the tournament was cancelled because of COVID-19.

“It definitely makes me proud to be a Ross heavyweight, I guess I’d say,” Peacock said. “I’ve got some big shoes to fill since our heavyweight was a state champion a couple years ago.”

Peacock’s season ended one match later with a 6-1 loss in the second round of the consolations.

Peacock’s older brother introduced him to the sport when Griffin was in the second grade. Ross coach Rich Dunn was also Peacock’s coach back then, too. To help Peacock prepare for state, Gavin returned to the wrestling room to work with younger brother.

“Sometimes I was doubtful (if I could qualify for state),” Peacock said. “I knew if I worked hard in the offseason and listened to coaches I’d make it.”

The OHSAA tournament is normally held at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center. Due to COVID-19 precautions this year’s tournament is being held at three separate sites. The D-I tournament is at Hilliard Darby high school. D-III is at Marion Harding High School.

Wrestling resumes 10 a.m. Sunday with the semifinals and goes through all the consolation matches. After a break, championship matches only start at 4:30 p.m.

“I’d prefer for it to be at the Schott,” Peacock said. “Every time my cousin has gone and my brother has gone it’s been at the Schott. It’s a magical place. I’m not mad since we get to have state this year. Last year, I feel bad for our senior who didn’t get to go to state and my friend who didn’t get to go. I’m just glad we get to wrestle this year.”

In the D-I tournament at Hilliard Darby, Fairfield senior Brandon Smith won two matches to reach the semifinals in the 220-pound bracket.

Smith won his first-round match with a 5-4 victory against Lakewood St. Edward freshman Jonny Slaper. He followed that with an 11-5 victory over Dublin Coffman senior Michael Blocher, who entered the bracket as a state alternate.

Smith wrestles Groveport-Madison senior Jake Nelson in the semifinals.

Also in D-II, Badin junior Ely Emmons secured a top-eight podium finish. He remains in the consolation bracket at 195.

Emmons won his first match with a pin in 1:03, then lost pin in 25 seconds in his quarterfinal match. Emmons scored a 12-2 victory in a win-or-go-home consolation match to reach the medal round.

Emmons is the second Badin wrestler to qualify for the state tournament since the program started in 2006 under Dexter Carpenter. Eddie Sanders was the program’s first in 2010.

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