MANSFIELD – Fredericktown’s Carson Mills and Ashland’s Sid Ohl probably have no business being in Saturday’s semifinals of the 53rd J.C. Gorman Invitational.
Mills, a 2014 champ, scratched at 126 pounds earlier in the week when an urgent care doctor warned him his right knee could suffer long-term damage if he competed this weekend.
January 9th 2015 WRESTLING: 53rd J.C. Gorman Invitational
Ohl dislocated his right shoulder in the third period of his quarterfinal match at 145, trailing by a point.
And yet here they both are, each two wins away from capturing a Gorman crown inside Mansfield Senior’s Pete Henry Gym.
“I’m going to have to go over the video because I don’t even know what I did. It’s all a blur,” said Ohl, his shoulder wrapped in ice.
What the one-armed Ashland sophomore did after getting hurt was hit a reverse with 30 seconds left and pin previously once-beaten Tyler Grine of Fremont Ross at 5:57.
“I think it was just repetition of moves, just muscle memory that got me through,” said Ohl, son of former Ontario state champ Perry Ohl. “It’s probably the fifth or sixth time in the last six months the shoulder has popped out, but this time it was the worst.”
Mills’ injury didn’t turn out to be as bad as originally thought. He got a second opinion from a specialist and was told it was just fluid on the knee. That enabled him to grab a last-second spot in the tournament.
He had to move up to 132 — he’s certified at 120 — but at least his hopes for a repeat title were alive.
Neither the knee or competing up in class gave Mills a problem. He breezed through his three matches, recording two technical falls and a pin to move within one win of a possible showdown in the finals with Lexington’s Brandon Leynaud, who is also a returning champ.
“I love it,” Mills said about how things worked out. “The competition is a lot better at 132 and I think it’s only going to make me better.”
Mills was the only champ last year who wasn’t a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. He rose from the fifth-seeded slot on the bracket to win the 120 class. His season took off from there and he finished seventh at the state tournament.
As this year’s No. 1 seed, he won’t be catching anyone by surprise. He gets Bay’s Vince Sitello, third at districts last year, in his semi. Leynaud, the second seed, gets a district runner-up in Bellevue’s Luke Leonard.
“There’s no guarantee that either (Leynaud or Mills) will repeat,” Lex coach Brent Rastetter said. “Their opponents are legitimate. It’s going to be an explosive semifinal round.
“I think that weight class have the best four kids in the semis. There might be deeper weight classes, but as for top-end kids, all four could be state placers.”
Leynaud picked up where he left off in last year’s Gorman, with a technical fall, pin and major decision. Last year he stormed to the 126 title behind four pins.
“This almost feels like a home meet,” Leynaud said. “We’ve wrestled a lot here over the years and are comfortable with it. We’re going to have to be comfortable because the (Division II) districts are here this year.”
Behind Leynaud and five other semifinalists, three-time defending champ Lex led last year’s runner-up, Sandusky Perkins, by a 96.5-84 margin after Friday’s quarterfinals. Loudonville was third (72.5), with Ashland (65.5) fourth and Anthony Wayne and Bellevue sharing fifth (63) in the 31-team field. Bryan and Hillsdale dropped out because of the weather.
Also reaching the semis for Lex were Chuck Mikelait (138), Jon Watkins (145), Nate Temple (heavyweight) and a pair of potential three-peat champs — unbeaten Drew Kasper (182) and 2014 MVP Bailey Faust.
Kasper’s not normally a pinner, but he was on the mat a total of 4:20 in his three matches Friday, winning all with first-period pins.
“I’m usually a grinder, waiting till the last second,” he said, an obvious reference to last year’s overtime win over Mansfield Senior’s Traevon Dickerson in the 182 finals. “But pins are a big thing, getting those (extra) points.”
The last time Kasper, 24-0, was undefeated this late in the season was in eighth grade.
“My perfect season ended when I was in the semifinals at (junior high) state and dropped to sixth,” he said. “This year I’m not going to let it happen. My goal is to go through my entire senior season undefeated.”
In addition to Faust and Kasper, Mansfield Senior’s 2014 state runner-up Jesse Palser (170) is gunning for his third title. Other top seeds to advance included Loudonville’s Colton Ullman (138) and Josh Weber (152) and Galion heavyweight Deaken McCoy. Weber was a champ last year at 138 and McCoy won at 220.
The only top seed to fall was unbeaten Tyler Capodice of Perkins at 106. He was pinned in the semifinals by Madison sophomore Carson Speelman, who opened with a 4-2 win over Northmor’s Jake Neer, 12-3 coming in.
Saturday’s semifinals begin at noon. A recognition program will be held at 4:30, followed by the Parade of Champions at 5:10, a Special Recognition Award at 5:20, and first-, third- and fifth-place matches at 5:30.
53RD J.C. Gorman Invitational
Site: Pete Henry Gym, Mansfield Senior
Team scoring (through quarterfinal round): Lexington 96.5, Sandusky Perkins 84, Loudonville 72.5, Ashland 65.5, Anthony Wayne 63, Bellevue 63, Manchester 59, Fremont Ross 58, Sandusky St. Mary 55, Massillon 48, Madison 45, Northmor 43, Norwalk St. Paul 42, Galion 39.5, Bay 39, Tiffin Columbian 38, Cambridge 36.5, Fredericktown 32, Hopewell-Loudon 30, Clear Fork 29, Mansfield Senior 27, Black River 23, Shelby 22, Norwalk 20, Bucyrus 12, Crestview 10, East Knox 10, Cardington 9, Ontario 7.5
Saturday’s Semifinal Pairings
106: Carson Speelman, Madison 14-3 vs. Caleb Yates, Anthony Wayne 16-3; Cameron Gessner, St. Mary’s 12-1 vs. Alec Bailey, Manchster 7-3
113: No. 1 Joey Bowen, Manchester 13-2 vs. Logan Ball, Cambridge 11-2; Cody Hutt, Anthony Wayne 17-1 vs. Chet Swartzmiller, Hopewell-Loudon 14-4
120: No. 1 Jake Donahue, Massillon 21-1 vs. Juwan Minniefield, Perkins 12-2; Alize Merrell, Madison 13-2 vs. Joshua Wenhold, Manchester 9-2
126: No. 1 Keysean Amison, Perkins 18-0 vs. Cody Moosman, Anthony Wayne 14-5; Jacob Supina, St. Mary 5-2 vs. Carson McIe, Galion 13-6
132: No. 1 Carson Mills, Fredericktown 26-2 vs. Vince Zitiello, Bay 17-2; Luke Leonard, Bellevue 14-1 vs. No. 2 Brandon Leynaud, Lexington 21-3
138: No. 1 Colton Ullman, Loudonville 15-0 vs. Chuck Mikelait, Lexington 17-6; Drew Kinzel, Clear Fork 17-1 vs. No. 2 Wes Fritz, St. Paul 7-3
145: No. 1 Derek Gross, St. Paul 12-3 vs. Sam Neer, Northmor 15-2; Sid Ohl, Ashland 20-4 vs. No. 2 Jon Watkins, Lexington 21-3
152: No. 1 Josh Weber, Loudonville 15-0 vs. Seth Boggs, Perkins 22-4; Jordan Weissinger, Fremont Ross 15-1 vs. No. 2 Roman Williams, Columbian 16-0
160: No. 1 Collin Keil, Anthony Wayne 18-1 vs. Damion Vitt, Hopewell Loudon 17-2; Tucker Bender, Loudonville 11-0 vs. No. 2 Logan Hickenbottom, Cambridge 8-1
170: No. 1 Jesse Palser, Mansfield Senior 14-1 vs. Stefan Johnson, Fremont Ross 7-2; Drew Lowery, Loudonville 14-0 vs. No. 2 Hayden Miller, St. Paul 13-3
182: No. 1 Drew Kasper, Lexington 24-0 vs. Trent Newlan, Ashland 13-5; Colton Lybarger, Fredericktown vs. No. 2 Kyle Johnson, Northmor 16-2
195: No. 1 Bailey Faust, Lexington 21-2 vs. Ryan Slone, Black River 14-2; Tristan Weirich, Ashland 18-3 vs. No. 2 Carson Dye, St. Mary 8-0
220: No. 1 Kordell Chaney, Perkins 19-5 vs. Matt Beniard, Bay 22-3; Jared Hoy, Bellevue 21-4 vs. No. 2 Jerek Cropper, Manchester13-1
Hwt: No. 1 Deaken McCoy, Galion 18-0 vs. Blake Cary, Loudonville 11-0; Tristen Roberts, Massillon 12-1 vs. No. 2 Nate Temple, Lexington 19-5