McDanel, Thurston lead group of 11 local wrestlers to state championships


Teays Valley seniors Cam McDanel and Joey Thurston each won Division I district championships this weekend to headline a group of 11 area wrestlers who will be competing in the state championships next weekend. 

HILLIARD — Camden McDanel won his third straight district title while it was the first for Joey Thurston as Teays Valley qualified three wrestlers to the Division I tournament. 

Senior Gunner Havens was the runner-up at 113 pounds to qualify to the state tournament for the fourth time. 

“Those three guys have been staples in our program since they were six years old,” TV coach Todd Nace said. “They do what we ask them to do and they deserve these big wins and big time matches. It’s great for them to do that.” 

Senior Joey Thurston shows his emotions after an overtime win to claim the district championship. (see more photos of TV’s finals)

McDanel (38-2) won his first three matches with first-round pins and faced off with Olentangy Liberty’s Brady Quillin (41-8) in the 190-pound finals. McDanel pinned Quillin in the second round of the title match. 

“I came in with the same idea I always come in with, stay level-headed because anybody can beat anybody,” McDanel said. “Brady is my teammate, we go to the same club. It was kind of awkward wrestling him in the finals, but I had to do what I had to do.”

This is the fourth time McDanel has earned a spot at the state tournament (his freshman year he was wrestling at St. Paris Graham). The tournament was canceled due to COVID-19 when he was a freshman and then he placed second as a sophomore and a junior. 

“I’m going to keep doing the training I’ve done all year, it’s worked pretty well,” he said of his plan for the next week. “Train as hard as I can Monday and Tuesday, lay back a little bit Wednesday and Thursday, make sure I’m on weight, make sure I’m feeling good and then just ball out. It’s the last tournament of my high school career.”

Senior Camden McDanel pinned BradyQuillin to win his third straight district championship Saturday. (see more photos from TV’s finals matches)

Thurston’s heavyweight championship match was the last to be completed Saturday night and didn’t disappoint as he needed to go into overtime against Luke Fleet (Olentangy Liberty) to win the title 4-2.

“It’s all I’ve been doing this year is looking up at him on the podium. I’ve been waiting for this day to finally see that guy again in the finals,” Thurston said. 

And the difference this time around, “It was just my mind, it was my mind the whole way – remembering my pain after losing to those Central District guys the whole year. Just remembering that pain, that’s all it took.”

Thurston (34-7) won his first two matches by pin and advanced to the finals with a 3-1 decision. 

While the Vikings finished fourth as a team, Thurston’s match did decide the team champion. He picked up a crew of fans from Dublin Coffman who were cheering for him at the end as the Shamrocks beat Liberty 236.5 to 233 for the team title. 

“Those guys can have fun with that victory if they want, but this is my victory,” Thurston said. “I was trying to win it for my team.”

Now he’ll be focused on trying to wrap up his high school wrestling career with a spot on the awards podium next Sunday in his third trip to the state tournament. 

“I’ve just got to be doing the same things I’ve been doing these last three weeks,” he said. “Training my mind and training physically as hard as I ever have to get my name on our board with a number beside it.”

Senior Gunner Havens took second at 113 pounds Saturday to earn his fourth trip to the state championships. (see more photos from TV’s finals matches)

While Havens didn’t claim a district title Saturday, in placing second he became only the second TV wrestler to qualify to four state meets, after Brocky Leidecker did it from 2009 to 2012. 

Havens (31-7) started out his 113-pound tournament with a 4-1 decision, advanced with a 24-second pin and moved on to the finals with a 14-7 decision.

In the finals he faced off with Liberty junior Jaxson Rosselli (39-3), who placed fourth in the state as a freshman and third as a sophomore.

“It didn’t go as I wanted there at the end. It was a tough match,” Havens said. “I definitely didn’t wrestle my best, but I had a tough opponent there. 

“I didn’t wrestle my best, far from my best, actually. The kid was tough, I’m not going to say the kid wasn’t good, but I think the score should definitely have been closer and I think I’m able to win that match.” 

Havens, who was eighth as a sophomore and fifth as a junior – both at 106 pounds – won’t mind going a little higher on the podium next week.  

“I’m feeling good going into next week. I definitely want to place and become Teays Valley’s first three-time state placer,” he said. “I think I became the second four-time state qualifier in school history, so that was pretty exciting.”

The focus in the coming days will just be to stay focused and take care of business.

“Joey has some unfinished business — he knows he almost placed last year,” Nace said. “Gunner is ready to get back on the podium and Cam wants that first-place match and get to be a champion. It’s been 1975 since we’ve had one.”

Along with the three qualifiers, Aiden Kennedy went 4-2 to place fifth at 157 pounds and Gavin Karshner went 4-2 to place sixth at 215 pounds. 

“It was a rollercoaster. Yesterday I thought we wrestled really well,” TV coach Todd Nace said. “I’m really proud of all the young kids who won matches. Robinette defaulted out and he was the only one who went 0-2. Everybody else won a match, maybe two matches. It was a really special event for us.”

While junior Owen Robinette defaulted on both his 150-pound matches, junior Austin Blackburn went 2-2 at 165, sophomore Roman Younger went 2-2 at 138, junior Wesley Henderson went 1-2 at 144 and freshman Josh Zimmer went 1-2 at 120.

Click here for complete results.

Hoty, Bolt place second at Division III district

CADIZ — Five area athletes punched their tickets to the Division III state championships with four hailing from Westfall and one from Amanda-Clearcreek. 

Westfall senior Antony Hoty placed second in the 113-pound weight class at the district meet held at Harrison Central High School and junior Gage Bolt took second at 165.

Junior Bryce Wickline was third at 175 and senior Hunter Probasco was fourth at heavyweight.

Amanda-Clearcreek sophomore Peyton Beavers will join them in the Division III state tournament after placing third at 150 pounds. Brodie Martin and Jacob Durr also placed for the Aces. 

Hoty (42-5) began the tournament by pinning Connor Shultz (Mechanicsburg) in 24 seconds and followed that up with a pin of Austin Springer (Edison) in 1:24. He moved on to the finals with a 13-1 major decision over Ethan Amens (Northmor). 

Hoty faced Shenandoah junior Tristen Rossiter in the finals. Rossiter advanced to the finals with a pair of pins and an overtime victory. Rossiter won the district title pinning Hoty in 1:22. 

Junior Gage Bolt advanced to the 165-pound finals with a 10-4 decision over Karson Milhoan (Barnesville), pinned Edison’s Ethan Waggoner in 3:21 and won a 10-1 major decision over Bishop Ready’s Evan Montgomery. 

In the finals, he went up against Newark Catholic senior Brendan Sheehan. Sheehan had advanced with a pin and two decisions. Sheehan came out on top in the match with a 7-6 decision. 

Wickline opened with a pair of wins — 4-0 over Cage Miller (Newcomerstown) and 5-0 over Parker Cook (Mechanicsburg) — before falling into the consolation bracket after a 5-4 loss to George Hulsey (Martins Ferry). Wickline won his consolation semifinal with a pin in 1:48 of Jacob Brown (Shadyside) and then won a 10-2 major decision over Elgin’s Nels VanGundy to place third. 

Probasco opened his tournament by pinning Mechanicsburg’s Braedon Buxton in 2:36. The heavyweight was then pinned by Marshall Bier (Hannibal River) in 53 seconds to fall into the consolation bracket. 

Probasco pinned his way to the consolation finals — 2:23 against Frank McClelland (Malvern), 3:25 against J.T. Jenkins (Zane Trace) and 4:08 against Jase Norman (Caldwell). In the conso finals, he met up with Bier again, getting pinned in 1:49.

Amanda-Clearcreek’s Peyton Beavers started off with a pair of wins in the 150-pound weight class. He pinned Westfall’s Timothy Ward in 3:57 and won an 11-6 decision over Lane Cline (Waterford). A 9-7 loss to Konnor Samson (West Muskingum) sent Beavers to the consolation bracket. 

He then won his semifinal 8-3 over Domonique Millender (Newcomerstown) to secure a spot next weekend. He took third after posting a 13-4 major decision over Elgin’s Kaiden Luikart.

Amanda-Clearcreek freshman Bodie Martin won his opening 144-pound match with a 19-4 technical fall before dropping into the consolation bracket. He pinned his first two opponents before being pinned himself in the semifinal. He took fifth place with a pin of Mason Crouse (Liberty Union) in 1:43.

Amanda-Clearcreek junior Jacob Durr (30-11) lost his opening 120-pound match and then battled back through three consolation matches to the reach the semifinals. He lost his chance to go the state tournament with a 12-3 loss to Sandy Valley’s Evan Natale and then lost his fifth-place match 4-2 to Haedyn Parman (Johnstown Northridge).

A-C senior Landon L’Huillier (11-4) wrapped up his high school career over the weekend dropping both his 138-pound matches.

For Westfall, Wyatt Ward (132), Wayne Kitchen (138) and Joey Wright (144) each lost their opening match and came back to win their first consolation match before being eliminated in the ensuing round.

Noah Furniss (106), Timothy Ward (150) and Wes Moats (190) were 0-2 for the weekend for the Mustangs. 

Barnesville had five individual champions to outpace the competition with 203 points while Newark Catholic was second with 91. Westfall took third with 87.5 team points and Amanda-Clearcreek with 18th with 42.5.

Click here for complete results.

Johnson, Fulgham, Hoover move on to state tournament

STEUBENVILLE — Circleville and Logan Elm qualified 17 wrestlers to this weekend’s district tournament — three were able to battle their way to a berth in next weekend’s Division II state championships. 

Circleville junior Jacob Johnson at 132 pounds, Circleville senior Trent Fulgham (285) and Logan Elm sophomore Gavin Hoover (126) all finished fourth in their weight classes to qualify for the state tournament.  

Hoover (44-7) forfeited his opening match but battled back to the consolation finals with a two pins, a decision and a major decision before dropping a 13-5 major decision to Indian Valley’s Leroy Steagall in the third-place match. 

Johnson (14-6) advanced in his first two matches with 14-7 and 3-2 decisions before losing a major decision to eventual champion Brody Saccoccia of Steubenville. He then secured his spot for next week with a 3-2 decision in the semifinals before losing an 8-2 decision in the third-place matchup. 

Fulgham (40-6) pinned his first two opponents before being pinned in the championship semifinals. He moved on to the consolation finals with a pin in 3:23 and then lost in the finals 13-7. 

Also competing for Circleville at the district were sophomore Andrew Siembida who was 0-2 at 106 pounds, junior Landon Zarbaugh who was 1-2 at 120 pounds, senior Mark Brunner was was 0-2 at 144 pounds, junior Logan Holbrook who was 0-2 at 157 pounds, sophomore Ayden Blue who was 0-2 at 175 pounds and junior Noah Jones who was 2-2 at 190 pounds. 

For Logan Elm, sophomore Dawsen Hudson was 3-2 at 106 pounds, freshman Ayden Hudson was 0-2 at 113 pounds, sophomore Blaine Holzschuh was 0-2 at 120 pounds, senior Brady Allen was 0-2 at 138 pounds, sophomore Hunter Schoenborn was 2-2 at 150 pounds, senior Austin Cordle was 0-2 at 165 pounds, sophomore Bryce Perkins was 0-2 at 175 pounds and freshman Conner Green was 0-2 at heavyweight. 

West Holmes won the team title with 159 points while Indian Valley was second with 114.5 and New Lexington was third with 112. Circleville was 15th with 37 points and Logan Elm was 18th with 31. 

Click here for complete results.

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