Every prep wrestler has the same goal: Get to Columbus.
To do that, to advance to the Value City Arena, Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University from Feb. 28 to March 2, an individual grappler needs to qualify at this weekend's district tournaments.
Warren and Marietta will be competing at the D2 district meet at Goshen at 2 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, while Belpre, Waterford, Caldwell, Monroe Central and Shenandoah will be at the D3 event at Philo at 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.
Waterford’s Austin Lang goes for a pin during Ohio Division III sectional wrestling action at Alexander High last Saturday. The Wildcat standout was the 126-pound champion, and will now compete at district at Philo High this weekend.
Warren’s Cory Parsons, top, looks to get a takedown on his opponent during Division II sectional action at Alexander last Saturday. The senior Warrior was the 113-pound champion, and will now attempt to qualify for the state tournament for the third time at district at Goshen this weekend.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to state.
"It's a lot tougher now, and a lot can happen," said first-year Warren head wrestling coach Mike Pahl, whose Warriors placed fourth in the sectional at Alexander.
"At the sectional, the three schools above us all had full teams," Pahl continued.
Warren will be featuring six wrestlers in the opening round of competition - Levi Congleton (106 pounds), Cory Parsons (113), Austin Antill (170), Zach Pike (182), Chris Massey (220), and Brandon Pahl (285). Braden Hewitt (138) will be an alternate.
Congleton, the school's single-season record setter in falls (33 current) with a 42-1 record this season, is scheduled to face Bellbrook freshman Nick Weaver (14-10) in the opening round Friday. The Warrior sophomore was a sectional champion at Alexander while his opponent placed fourth at Milton-Union.
Parsons, a two-time state qualifier and the school career record-setter in pins (93 current) and wins (153) with a 37-4 record, will be pitted against Bethel Tate's Travis Bee (20-16). It'll be senior versus senior with the Warrior wrestler a sectional champ and his opponent a fourth-placer at Western Brown.
If Parsons wins his first bout, he'll more than likely go up against returning 106-pound state champion Cameron Kelly (25-3) of Bellbrook.
Antill, a senior with a 31-11 mark and fourth place finish at sectional, will be squaring off against Milton-Union sectional champ and junior Lane Thomas (34-6) of Graham Local.
Massey, a junior with a 14-14 record and fourth place finish at sectional, will be paired up against Milton Union first-placer and senior Sam Oakes (31-7) of Northwestern.
Pahl, a sophomore with a 36-5 mark and third place finish at sectional, will be tangling with Western Brown runner-up Gavin Peacock (39-5) of Ross.
Marietta has three district qualifiers in Garrett Davis (152), Will Cogswell (182) and Nick Spurr (195).
Davis, a sophomore with a 31-12 record and a runner-up finish at Alexander, will be facing Western Brown third-placer and sophomore Wyatt Walton (23-9) of Taylor.
Cogswell, a senior with a 30-9 mark and sectional runner-up placement, is slated to square off against Washington Court House third-placer Travis Hawk (23-13) of Washington.
And, Spurr, a senior with a 29-11 record, will be pitted against Western Brown champion and senior Tyler Bridwell (41-4) of Ross.
As the D3 sectional champion at Alexander, Belpre advanced nine wrestlers to district at Philo - Gavin Stalnaker (106), Jordan McCutcheon (113), Tyler Martin (182), Jamie Barrett (195), Manney Tullius (132), Daniel Law (138), Hayden Lowe (285), Matt Colvin (152), and Derek Davis (160).
On Friday, it'll be Stalnaker (28-5) vs. Shadyside's Wyatt Skapik (24-15); McCutcheon (21-13) vs. Coshocton's Kyle Bergeron (18-22); Tullius (35-6) vs. Tim Violet (34-12); Law (11-5) vs. Bryce Coleman (34-14); Colvin (22-19) vs. Colin Visconti (18-5); Davis (25-12) vs. Zach Gibson (39-5); Martin (24-14) vs. Robert Miller (19-23); Barrett (31-9) vs. John Barber (27-24); and Lowe (24-19) vs. Anthoney Verhovec (36-9).
Caldwell will have five grapplers on the district mat - Kale Rayner (170), Kameron Rayner (138), Jared Leasure (182), Tyler Wiley (126); and Caleb VanMeter (160).
Kale Rayner (34-3), a returning state placer (8th), will be pitted against Caleb Johnson (25-18). Also, it'll be Kameron Rayner (39-15) vs. Trimble's John Shifflett (27-18); Wiley (38-9) vs. Nick Hoffman (32-6); VanMeter (37-8) vs. Cody Ross (28-18); and Leasure (38-4) vs. Zach Rudy (30-19).
Monroe Central's district qualifiers included Rodney Richter (113), Chase Carothers (132) and Zac Potts (152), a returning state placer (8th).
It'll be Richter (17-2) vs. Brock Moreland (14-10); Carothers (25-6) vs. Coshocton's Brennen Alverson (24-24); and Potts (26-9) vs. Will Martello (27-12).
Waterford will feature Austin Lang (126) and Blake Heiss (182). It'll be Lang (44-7) vs. Cole Zeigler (37-5); and Heiss (31-21) vs. Zach Crofut (28-10).
Shenandoah's lone district qualifier Landon Tomcho (126, 32-11) will be pitted against Luke Hutchinson (37-4).