PHILO - And then there were 10.
That's the number of area wrestlers who have punched their tickets to this week's Division III OHSAA State Wrestling Championship at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
Of the 10 grapplers, five schools are still participating in wrestling for this season.
SHADYSIDE’S ALEX Quinn raised his record to a
perfect 41-0 with a
51-second pin of Paint Valley’s Pegan McFadden in the Division III 152-pound championship bout Saturday night at Philo High School. Additional images can be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Shadyside and Martins Ferry lead the way with three each. The Tigers and Purple Riders will each send three to the state tournament.
St. Clairsville is sending a pair, while Monroe Central and River will have one entrant each when the state tournament opens Thursday afternoon in Columbus.
Shadyside's dynamite senior trio of Alex Quinn, Chase Kinemond and Ian Baker will once again be carrying the torch for the Tigers as they all wrestle at the state tournament together for the first time during their illustrious prep careers.
Quinn will head to the state tournament with "unfinished business" after reaching the semifinals last year before falling to the consolation bracket and settling for a third-place finish.
"I am not going to lose my head when I get out there this year," Quinn said. "I only have four high school matches left and I want an undefeated season."
Quinn's quest for perfection is alive and well after district action. He took nary a prisoner in capturing his second consecutive 152-pound district title. He's now 41-0 and posted pins in three of his four matches this weekend, including a pin of Paint Valley's Tegan McFadden at the 51 second mark of the first period.
"I can't lose my focus mentally (at the state)," Quinn said. "This is my last shot and I am going to be more mentally ready. There's no next year or other chance if I don't get it done this time. In the finals, I could tell the kid was on his heels early, so I just had to take advantage."
Senior Chase Kinemond has been waiting for the chance he's about to receive since March of 2010 when he placed in the state tournament.
Since then, Kinemond has battled an injury, which kept him out of the postseason as a sophomore and a football-sustained knee injury, which forced him to miss all of last season.
However, Kinemond made the most of his last opportunity and is now heading back to Columbus as a district champion.
"Getting back to the state has definitely been a goal of mine because watching the last two state tournaments in the crowd has been hard on me," Kinemond said. "I've been waiting for this moment for a long time."
Kinemond, like Quinn, had basically no troubles whatsoever in stringing together four straight victories. Actually, he recorded two pins and two shutouts en route to the gold.
"Once I won the semi-final match, it was a great feeling," Kinemond said. "Knowing that I was going back and having another shot at the title was big."
In the title bout, he almost faced his first deficit of the weekend when Bloom-Carroll's Zach Gibson got in on a leg.
However, Kinemond regained leverage, turned into it a takedown and three near-fall points. From there, he never looked back en route to the 8-0 major decision.
"(Gibson) got in deep on my leg, so I had to fend that off and then I was able to get things going from there," Kinemond said. "That was big because I was up five points from the get-go."
Baker, who started the Tigers' finals parade at 145 pounds, was edged out by Northridge's Thomas Williams by a tough 2-1 final. Baker's only point came on a late escape. His attempts at a takedown came up short and Williams got the gold for the second straight season, earning his 214th career victory in the process.
Baker, who was all-Ohio last season, will head back to Columbus and meet a third-place finisher in a district. The OVAC and sectional champion is now 41-3 on the season.
Martins Ferry's Damon Outward is making his third trip to the state tournament and is in search of that all-Ohio status that's eluded him thus far.
"I am pretty happy," Outward said. "I have to go (out there), attack and just see how it goes. I have to continue to wrestle how I've wrestled all of my matches and attack."
The Riders' 126 pounder will enter this season as a district champion after posting a 5-1 decision against Sandy Valley's Joe Newman in a rematch from last week's sectional final at Barnesville.
"The score was a lot tighter (last week)," Outward said. "I feel like with this past week of practice, I increased my ability that much."
The title bout was scoreless after one, but Outward recorded an escape and a quick takedown to make it 3-0. The only point he allowed was a neutral to begin the third period.
Outward is now 45-5 on the season.
Purple Riders' senior Zac Coole rounded out the Riders' impressive showing with a runner-up finish at 220 pounds.
Coole got to the finals with a pin and a pair of narrow, one-point victories. However, West Jefferson's Corey Ginn, who now has 49 wins on the season, proved to be too much in the finals, handing Coole a 10-2 setback.
Coole will head to Columbus with a 42-8 mark and will meet a bronze medalist in the first round.
Ferry sophomore Theo Zoumpoulidis has had an impressive postseason thus far. He fell short in the title bout at 106 pounds, dropping a 6-0 decision to Northridge's Jake Adkins.
Zoumpoulidis will face a third-place finisher in the first round on Thursday and will take a 26-12 record to the state tournament.
St. Clairsville senior Justin Callarik finished fourth at 138 pounds, dropping a 8-6 decision to Columbus Bishop Ready's Dalton Scott. Callarik lost his opening-round bout on Friday and battled his way through the consolation matches to get to the state tournament.
Callarik will face a district champion in the first round at the state and is now 36-9 on the season.
For the first time in his impressive career, Corey Ernest will be wrestling on the last weekend of the season.
Ernest had little trouble in advancing to the championship semifinals, but was felled 8-3 by Columbus Bishop Ready's Patrick Garren in the semifinals.
After missing out last season, Ernest went to the consolation bracket and posted a hard-fought 4-2 victory in OT to assure his trip to the capital city.
He wound up with a fourth place finish in the tournament and is now 39-5 on the season.
Monroe Central sophomore Rodney Richter advanced to the district final with relative ease, posting a technical fall, major decision and a decision in the semifinals. However, he was dealt a 18-10 major decision setback by Newark Catholic's Caleb Ohi.
Richter will face a bronze medalist in the first round of the state tournament and will sport a 20-3 record when the event opens.
River's J.D. Dotson punched his ticket to the state tournament at 220 pounds. It'll be the senior's first trip to the state.
He finished fourth in the 220-pound bracket and is now 34-7 on the season. He was decisioned in the consolation final by World Harvet Prep's Tony Peoples.
Staskey can be reached at email@example.com