Tri-Valley High wrestling senior Sky Wisecarver is headed back to the OHSAA Division I Individual Wrestling State Tournament – this weekend at OSU’s Schottenstein Center – for the second straight year, joining a select few of Scottie wrestlers who have earned multiple trips to the holy grail of high school wrestling.
Wisecarver’s third place overall finish at last weekend’s OHSAA Division I Districts at Hilliard Darby, enabled the nails-tough Scottie senior grappler a rare second chance at achieving his goal at the pinnacle of prep wrestling.
“But realistically, I’ve got my sights on a top eight, All-Ohio podium finish, to improve on my performance from last year’s State Meet,” said the TVHS Class of 2019 senior, (pictured below) who claimed a Sectional title as well at the 106-pound weight class two weeks ago at the Division I, Marysville Sectional Meet.
Wisecarver had plenty of Scottie teammate wrestling company at last weekend’s D-I Hilliard Darby District Meet – nine total TV wrestlers to be exact – as second-year Tri-Valley wrestling coach Jon Hardman explains:
“The OHSAA Division I Districts at Hilliard Darby was filled with great performances, and gut wrenching moments, as well. We (TVHS) finished in 10th place, scoring more points at the D-1 district than ever before. Despite this, we only managed to get one Scottie wrestler out. So many of our wrestlers were so close, only to fall just points short of qualifying,” said Coach Hardman.
Here is a breakdown of the performances of all nine TVHS Scottie wrestlers that qualified for – and competed – at last week’s District Meet, detailed by Scottie wrestling’s Coach Hardman:
106 pound weight class: Senior Sky Wisecarver managed to bounce back after a tough semifinal loss to Dublin Scioto’s Dylan Le. Sky took third place overall and is our sole state qualifier.
120 pound weight class: Sophomore, Cullen Van Rooyen was upset in the first round to an opponent that he beat handily last season. He managed to defeat a solid opponent in his second bout, before falling to returning state qualifier Bo Branson from Pickerington Central.
126 pound weight class: Joseph Eckelberry (sophomore) was upset in the 2nd round to a returning state qualifier from Hilliard Bradley. He wrestled hard and battled all the way back to the go-to match. He faced the same opponent that beat him last week in the finals of sectionals (Dublin Coffman’s Ismael Ayoub). Joseph lost a very tough battle by one single point. He finished in 5th place and is a state alternate. If a competitor falls ill or gets injured, Joseph will get a shot. This is rare at the state tournament, but a possibility.
138 pound weight class: Karter Jones (sophomore) had a tough draw, falling to two solid seniors. He was nursing a knee injury all week after injury defaulting down to 4th place in sectionals. I am happy Karter got the opportunity to qualify, but wish he was healthier heading into the tournament.
160 pound weight class: Dylan Hines (junior) was another near qualifier. He lost in the quarter finals and battled all the way back to the goto match. He suffered a close decision loss to Emmett Cain from Deleware Hayes HS. Dylan then dropped his 5th-6th place match and ended the day in 6th place.
182 pound weight class: AJ Collins (junior) lost to the eventual champ in the first round. He was able to win his second match before falling in his third. AJ has improved so much since last year; we were pleased that he qualified for districts and was able to win a match. He will build off of this experience heading into next season.
195 pound weight class: Senior Sawyer Hanby lost both of his matches in his return trip to Darby. Sawyer is only in his third year of wrestling. To qualify for districts twice is unlikely for someone without much experience in the sport. We are happy with the effort and success Sawyer had this season.
220 pound weight class: Sophomore Andy Hill weighed in at 190 lbs. He was an alternate from the sectional tournament that made it into districts due to the injury of another competitor. Andy was giving up so much weight, we were just happy that he had the opportunity to see the level of competition. When AJ and Sawyer moved down a weight class, Andy (who had been wrestling 182) bumped all the way up. He still had a great sectional and was able to win 2 matches there. We are proud of the effort Andy gave and growth he made.
285 pound weight class: Seth Schneider (sophomore) was one of the highlights of the day. Seth lost in the first round to the eventual champion. He then wrestled his way all the way back to the goto match, throwing multiple opponents and winning in exciting fashion. Seth, much like Eckelberry, fell just one point shy of qualifying for state, falling to Darby senior Rodney Beneker 3-2. Seth then lost his 5th-6th place bout, but it was apparent that the one point match had taken its toll on Seth.
“As a team, we did well,” stated Coach Hardman. “Finishing in 10th place out of 40 teams is pretty good for a small D-I school. I am happy that our wrestlers battled hard and showed that we can compete with anyone,” continued Coach Hardman. “It was emotionally draining to watch several of these kids come so close and fall one point or a few points short. The bright side is that we are a young team overall and many of these kids will get another shot next year. Right now, we are focusing on Sky’s State Meet trip, and what he has to do to get on the podium this weekend in Columbus. This is his last shot at it, and his mind is in the right place. It should be an exciting weekend,” concludes Hardman.
Sky Wisecarver faces a familiar opponent in his first round match on Thursday afternoon, March 7, at the Schottenstein Center, (on the campus of the Ohio State University), going up against Mason High School (one of the largest Division I schools in the state) senior, Pacey Najdusak, an All-Ohio 7th place finisher at last year’s State Meet, who defeated Wisecarver 11-2 in the first round of the 2018 OHSAA D-I State wrestling meet.
Good Luck Sky Wisecarver, and congratulations on your 2nd straight Division I OHSAA Individual State Wrestling Meet tournament appearance!