86 miles from Tiffin, 91 from Fostoria, 75 from Carey.
The trip to Columbus from the area doesn't seem so long on paper. However the journey has seemed much longer for those who qualified for the state wrestling championships at the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
From summer camps and offseason workouts to early season tournaments and the run through sectionals and districts, its been a long road, but one gladly traveled for all those making the trip.
Wrestling gets underway at 3 p.m. today with the opening-round matches in Division III.
Eleven local wrestlers will be making the trip in an attempt to finish the season the way every wrestler dreams: on top of the state podium.
Columbian's Seth Williams will be the lone area representative in Division II. He will be in the 152-pound weight class.
OHSAA State Championship Pairings
152: Brandon James (Ravenna Southeast) 41-5 vs. Chris Brunett (Germantown Valley View) 28-17; Bradley Ponchak (McConnelsville Morgan) 45-6 vs. Seth Williams (Tiffin Columbian) 45-3; Kyle Warner (Uhrichsville Claymont) 32-5 vs. Kyle Burns (Milan Edison) 50-1; Alex Cash (Jefferson Area) 32-6 vs. Jon Edwards (Greenville) 43-1; Justin Stitzlein (Millersburg W. Holmes) 39-4 vs. Alex Bergman (Oak Harbor) 37-9; Brandon Rang (Akron Coventry) 41-8 vs. Jerald Spohn (New Lexington) 47-5; Brian Downs (Peninsula Woodridge) 37-9 vs. Jimmy VanDyke (Wash. C.H. Washington) 31-7; Trent Mays (Steubenville) 34-7 vs. Bo Jordan (St. Paris Graham Local) 44-0.
120: Zack Nelson (Apple Creek Waynedale) 46-1 vs. Tivo Ysasi (Fremont St. Joseph) 36-7; Cole Zeigler (W. Lafayette Ridgewood) 48-5 vs. Cody Steiner (Waynesville) 35-4; Adam Reed (Cardington-Lincoln) 13-4 vs. Aaron Willbanks (Brookville) 35-7; Derek Gregan (W. Salem Northwestern) 31-14 vs. Cade Mansfield (Defiance Ayersville) 41-0; Dalton Scott (Col. Bishop Ready) 26-9 vs. Andrew Hoskins (Jamestown Greeneview) 42-10; Kyle Ferguson (Akron Machester) 41-5 vs. Damien Showman (Seneca East) 43-1; Casey Johns (Middlefield Cardinal) 32-1 vs. Dustin Ferguson (Bloomdale Elmwood) 43-7; Donte C.J. Williams (Martins Ferry) 35-7 vs. Austin Reese (Mechanicsburg) 34-2.
126: Bobby Smith (Col. Bishop Ready) 37-2 vs. Joe Brodman (Tiffin Calvert) 39-7; Dion Perez (Massillon Tuslaw) 35-10 vs. Jason Sandlin (Carlisle) 32-3; Nick Hermann (Atwater Waterloo) 40-6 vs. Brandon McComick (Lima Central Cath.) 31-8; Grant Rathburn (Col. Bishop Hartley) 30-11 vs. Cody Laney (Hicksville) 33-3; Dalton Hilitibran (Mechanicsburg) 38-3 vs. Josh Weber (Loudonville) 29-11; Jesse Gross (Norwalk) 36-6 vs. Gennar Feucht (W. Jefferson) 42-2; Ben Timmons (Kansas Lakota) 32-3 vs. Thomas McLaughlin (Nelsonville-York) 32-7; Alvi Ibarra (Cin. Madeira) 33-9 vs. William Spangler (LaGrange Keystone) 41-5.
138: Luke Kern (Delta) 40-1 vs. Dylan Kleman (Columbus Grove) 34-10; J.J. Diven (Atwater Waterloo) 44-5 vs. Evan Hansel (Newark Cath.) 34-10; Ryan Harris (Beachwood) 39-4 vs. Ian Baker (Shadyside) 25-3; Ryan Widmer (Gibsonburg) 42-5 vs. Colt Lovejoy ( Harrod Allen East) 43-2; Zane Nelson (Apple Creek Waynedale) 44-4 vs. Zac Cline (Caldwell) 47-4; Kyler Deeter (Covington) 48-5 vs. Caleb Barnett (Greenwich) 43-5; Josh Lyttle (Day. Northridge) 41-6 vs. Angelo Eufracio (Fostoria) 47-7; Dylan Marthey (Massillon Tuslaw) 32-16 vs. Thomas Williams (Johnstown Northridge) 55-3.
145: Josh Davis (Bellaire) 41-3 vs. Casey Bishop (Brooklyn) 42-5; Jimmy Sandlin (Carlisle) 38-6 vs. Tyler Fahrer (Delta) 40-4; Zach Wilson (Bluffton) 48-1 vs. Cory Larick (Carey) 49-4; Mason Plumly (Barnesville) 42-9 vs. Kurt Moore (Creston Norwayne) 52-3; Jordan Marshall (Troy Christian) 20-0 vs. Mitchell Emmitt (Bloomdale Elmwood) 35-10; Dakota Hook (Nelsonville-York) 36-13 vs. Brett Fortune (W. Salem Northwestern) 43-9; Ricky Ratcliff (W. Jefferson) 44-2 vs. Dakota Stanley (Apple Creek Waynedale) 43-10; Austin Siemon (Cin. Deer Park) 30-9 vs. Wyatt Music (Ashland Crestview) 44-4.
160: Kale Rayner (Caldwell) 48-2 vs. Jacob McAdams (Jamestown Greeneview) 34-9; David Shapiro (Beachwood) 40-4 vs. Nick Hughes (Seneca East) 48-5; Aaron Yonker (Garrettsville Garfield) 35-4 vs. Wyatt Dye (Sand. St. Mary) 20-5; Trae Garlando (Newcomerstown) 45-11 vs. J.R. Conyers (Harrod Allen East) 41-2; Austin Ripke (Archbold) 55-9 vs. Max Brookes (N. Lima South Range) 37-6; Codie Millhone (Zoarville Tuscarawas) 35-12 vs. Logan Looser (Delphos St. John's) 33-12; Trent Thompson (Richwood N. Union) 35-4 vs. Ray Day (Reading) 21-7; Grant Price (Sycamore Mohawk) 31-10 vs. Zebulun Beam (Apple Creek Waynedale) 50-1.
170: Travis Linton (Rootstown) 45-2 vs. Cody McGuire (Fredericktown) 36-8; Bobby Sunderhaus (Lima Central Cath) 30-11 vs. Tony Reynolds (Fostoria) 33-14; Kaleb Matchett (Versailles) 30-10 vs. Ryan Patchin (Metamora Evergreen) 35-16; Tanner Bontrager (Garrettsville Garfield) 28-13 vs. Zach Mays (Nelsonville-York) 46-7; Garrick Montgomery (Ashland Crestview) 44-5 vs. Aaron King (New Lebanon Dixie) 38-9; Christian Edmond (Bellaire) 39-8 vs. Trevor White (Orrville) 38-7; Jonathan McClenathan (Cardington-Lincoln) 35-5 vs. Glenn Zaller (Orwell Grand Valley) 39-7; Logan Horn (Plymouth) 35-13 vs. Armani Robinson (Jamestown Greenview) 36-5.
182: Jake Sheehy (Genoa Area) 51-2 vs. Mark Hilty (Smithville) 47-7; Steven Farrow (Sugarcreek Garaway) 40-7 vs. Brian Olson (Covington0 43-8; Jacob Bresciani (Coshocton) 40-4 vs. Jacob Schlater (Lewisburg Tri-County) 43-3; Kohl Johnson (Upper Sandusky) 21-7 vs. Kevin Stock (Garrettsville Garfield) 40-3; Sam Groff (Magnolia Sandy Valley) 47-4 vs. David Gremling (Lima Central Cath.) 38-5; Zach Sharpe (Millbury Lake) 45-5 vs. Evan Brettrager (Kirtland) 30-4; Christian Peters (oregon Cardinal Stritch) 36-6 vs. Brandon Heidinger (Columbia St. Columbia) 42-3; Brad Minnard (Amanda-Clearcreek) 39-12 vs. B.J. Toal (Troy Christian) 42-1.
195: Logan Heiing (Delphos St. John's) 39-6 vs. Spencer Chenetski (Amanda-Clearcreek) 40-7; Dan Barrett (Bedford St. Peter) 38-7 vs. Travis Jaramillo (Archbold) 48-12; Lucas Dies (akron Manchester) 34-8 vs. Daniel Kwiat (Tiffin Calvert) 36-6; Connor Domsitz (Brookville) 34-10 vs. Connor Shook (Newark Cath) 34-10; Dalton Ishmael (N. Baltimore) 46-0 vs. Matt Zaller (Orwell Grand Valley) 41-4; Gavin Windau (Columbus Grove) 30-11 vs. Tyler Beck (Galion Northmor) 36-7; Kaleb Campbell (New Lebanon Dixie) 37-7 vs. Joey Dismuke (Johnstown-Monroe) 42-10; Dan Renner (Galion) 38-10 vs. Garrett Linton (Rootstown) 44-3.
All other local wrestlers will be competing in Division III.
Calvert, Seneca East and Fostoria each will have multiple wrestlers competing at state. Calvert's Joe Brodman (126) will be making his second straight trip to the meet, while Daniel Kwiat (190) will be making his first appearance.
For Seneca East, Damien Showman brings a 43-1 record to Columbus in the 120-pound weight class, while Nick Hughes will be competing at 160. Fostoria will be represented by Angelo Eufracio at 138 and Tony Reynolds at 170.
The lone Carey Blue Devil making the trip is Cory Larick at 145. Mohawk's Grant Price will be with Hughes at 160 and Lakota's Ben Timmons will in the same bracket as Brodman at 126.
Upper Sandusky sends Kohl Johnson at 182.
Five of the 11 are making a return trip. Williams, Brodman, Showman, Timmons and Price all qualified a year ago. Most coaches agree that it's an advantage to have previously gone through state.
"It really does a lot of good to get down there that first time just to get that experience," Mohawk coach Bud Cook said. "Once you get over the awe and just realize it's just another tournament, I think that is a big part of it."
Seneca East coach Matt Depinet said having Showman already going through the experience will not only help himself, but should also be beneficial to his teammate, Hughes, who is making his first trip.
"You can kind of see the first year going down there, going down through that tunnel, his eyes were wide, and he didn't know what to expect," Depinet said. "There really is no way to get a kid ready for that. You can't replicate that atmosphere. His experience last year will help him a lot and I think it will help Nick a lot. We can tell him as coaches what we went through and what to expect, but I think it comes a little better coming from another kid."
Calvert coach Keven Rinaman went to state last year with Brodman. This year, along with Brodman comes Kwiat, who served as an alternate a year ago. As an alternate, Kwiat got to experience everything except the action. Rinaman said going though the process will be beneficial to Kwiat when he takes the mat.
"Since he was an alternate, he was able to go down there and get on the mat. I tell them 'you have to look up, because it's an amazing view,'" Rinaman said. "A lot kids would look up and get caught in the moment and forget about wrestling. Even though he didn't wrestle, going through that I think helps him in not getting caught up in the atmosphere."
Williams took sixth last year as a freshman while wrestling at 145 pounds. Columbian coach Chad Long is looking for more in Williams' second time around. In the district semifinals, Williams scored a victory over Kyle Burns of Milan Edison, who won state last year in Division III at 145.
"Placing last year as a freshman was tremendous," Long said. "Moving up in weight and already beating a state champion from last year in districts is huge. He has a huge advantage."
Williams comes to state with a 45-3 record this year and opens against Bradley Ponchak of McConnellsville Morgan, who was the third seed out of the Claymont district with a record of 45-6. Long said he is confident Williams can get to the semifinals for another potential meeting with Burns.
"We're expecting him to come out and put a performance on," Long said of Williams. "Depending on what happens with Burns, we assume it's probably him or (Claymont's Kyle Warner in the semifinals). We got him figured out for the most part."
If Williams gets to the finals, its likely he could get another match against St. Paris Graham's Bo Jordan. Only a junior, Jordan already is a two-time state champion with a career record of 129-1. He hasn't lost a match in over two years.
Jordan pinned Williams in the opening round last year, and beat Williams by technical fall last week in the district championship.
"We'd love to get another crack at him," Long said. "He's the best in the nation, but we know we'd have to go out there and give him a great shot."
Division III wrestlers are the first to hit the mat today and Showman opens things up against Kyle Ferguson of Akron Manchester. It's a bit of a revenge match as Ferguson defeated Showman last year in the match for seventh.
Depinet said Showman came into the year dedicated to improving his position his senior year.
"He came out beginning of the year, he was looking to make a comeback from last year," he said. "I think he wanted to prove something to himself. You can tell in the practice room he's been going at it pretty hard."
Showman's lone loss came in the district championship last week against Cade Mansfield of Ayersville. Depinet feels a rematch could have a different outcome.
"We beat him last year to go to state. He's beatable," he said. "We gave up some bad points to the kid and gave him too much of a lead."
At 126, Timmons is a No. 2 seed while Brodman is a No. 4. Timmons claimed an overtime victory over Brodman in the district semifinal. They are on opposite sides of the bracket, meaning their next meeting could be for a state championship.
"Him and Brodman go back and forth," Lakota coach Rick Whetsel said. "I think their record is about .500 against each other and Ben was on a mission. Even after last season ended, he was on a mission to place better than what he did last year. That kid gives me everything he has."
Timmons took fifth a year ago, and has been working hard to move up the podium. Whetsel said Timmons took it upon himself to compete in tournaments and attend clinics over the summer in an effort to make himself better.
Last year, Timmons had to come from behind in several matches. Whetsel is looking to change that trend this time around.
"He has to shoot better. He has to wrestle his own game and not play into their hands," he said. "Last year, every match he got taken down first and had to come from behind. We told him, 'you have to be the one to take control.'"
He will open his tournament against Thomas McLaughlin of Nelsonville-York.
As a No. 4 seed, Brodman has to face a No. 1 in the opening match. He drew Bobby Smith (37-2) of Columbus Bishop Ready.
"He drew the projected state champ right off the bat," Rinaman said. "But no matter what, if you want to be a state champ you have to beat all those guys anyways."
At 138, Eufracio will open up against Josh Lyttle of Dayton Northridge. Fostoria coach Nick Davis says the key to getting on the podium rests in winning the tight matches.
"The state tournament comes down to those close matches. Are you able to ride on top when the kid choses bottom, or getting out when you choose bottom?," Davis asked. "The first takedown will be key. You have to win those close matches. The third period usually is about heart and who wants it more."
At 145, Larick opens with Zach Wilson of Bluffton. Larick comes in as a No. 3 seed with a record of 49-4. He has a tough opening draw in Wilson, who was undefeated before falling in the championship match at the Kettering Fairmont district.
At 160, Hughes and Price are on opposite sides of the bracket. Hughes opens against David Shapiro of Beachwood while Price will face Waynedale's Zebulun Beam.
Price comes in as a No. 4 seed and Cook knows that makes his road that much harder.
"It's never good coming in to the state tournament as a No. 4, but that's part of it. You're going to wrestle somebody that got first at another district," he said. "I think (Price) can definitely be a state placer. Being a No. 4 coming in, obviously he has a little bit more work to do, but I think he can. At this point, all the prep work has been done. More than anything now it's more mental than anything at this point."
Meanwhile, Depinet is looking for Hughes to continue a strong season in which he began wrestling at a higher weight class.
"Nick's been wrestling really good," Depinet said. "He started off at 182, him and Damien have both placed at every tournament. Nick's been a champion at every tournament except Van Buren. Nick's putting together a really good season."
Reynolds opens against Lima Central Catholic's Bobby Sunderhaus. Davis is confident he will see both his wrestlers reach the podium.
"I think both of them will place. It's almost up to them how high they will place," Davis said. "I definitely see both on the podium in the top eight. I think they can meet that expectation. They were both sectional champions. ... They're coming down here ready to place. It's great that we made it, but we're not done yet."
For Upper Sandusky, reaching state is the realization of a goal Johnson set for himself his freshman year. According to Rams coach Chris Rodriguez, he constantly would talk to Johnson after each year about what he had to do to realize his goal.
"Every year he really wanted to make it down and finally he made it this year," Rodriguez said. "We talked about it after every year. He'd come to me 'What can I do? What do I need to work on?' He was very dedicated about improving to the point where he could get to Columbus."
Johnson will open his tournament against Kevin Stock of Garretsville Garfield, who comes in with a record of 40-3. Johnson's record is 21-7, but he has overcome injuries to reach this stage.
"Early in the season he's suffered some injuries, had to sit out some matches and tournaments," Rodriguez said. "Getting healthy again, you saw him turning the corner.
"He's an underdog; people don't expect him to be here. The coaches have faith in him. I'd love to see him get on the podium. I know it's his goal. It's a long road, but I think he can get there."
Calvert's Kwiat will face Lucas Dies of Akron Manchester in the first round. Rinaman says Kwiat is wrestling his best at the right time.
"He's really turned it on," he said. "He's peaking at the right time. His district tournament was awesome. He wrestled extremely well. If he does what he's capable of, he can get on the podium."
The opening round matches will be held today as well as the first consolation round. The tournament continues through Saturday evening, which is when the finals will be held.