COLUMBUS — Move over Paige Nemec, you’ve got company.
In 2010, the Crestwood graduate became the first female to reach the state wrestling tournament when she went 1-2 to just miss placing.
On Thursday, Miami East’s Olivia Shore became the first female to win a championship match when the World Team and Team Ohio member beat Crestwood state placer and Garfield Heights District champ Brett Szuahy.
Shore erased a six-point second-period deficit and scored an early takedown in sudden victory. Should she win one match today, she’ll become the first female state placer.
All that stands in her way is Milan Edison’s Alec Homan in the quarterfinals.
Homan was a third-place finisher last week at the Lakota District.
“It’s been a dream since I was 6 years old,” Shore said. “It’s something I really want to do and I’m not going to stop until I get it done.”
Mason Brugh joined a group of 62 freshmen when the Wadsworth standout qualified for state. That number is down eight from last season, but is the second-best showing in the 82-year history of the sport. Seniors dominate the list with 299 and are followed by the juniors (199) and sophomores (112).
Best of the Bees
The Brecksville Holiday Tournament still holds the title of best Christmas tournament when it comes to state qualifiers. Although it has six more schools (51), the BHT sent 164 from Ohio, while the Medina Invitational Tournament had 107 qualifiers.
Of the 51 schools, the BHT only had two without a state qualifier (Lakeside and Keystone). Four schools from the MIT (Cloverleaf, Chippewa, Mayfield and Dayton Carroll) were minus a state representative.
Medina County pride
Wadsworth is lapping the area field in terms of state champions and state placers with 21 and 118, respectively. Highland (15, 68), Brunswick (4, 40), Buckeye (6, 34), Black River (5, 35) Medina (2, 24), Cloverleaf (1, 11) fall in line behind the Grizzlies.
Their 118 state placers trail only St. Edward (316), St. Paris Graham (218), Maple Heights (152), Walsh Jesuit (130) and Columbus DeSales (120).
Wadsworth keeps moving up the list and is now tied for eighth for most state finalists by school. The Grizzlies passed Sandusky St. Mary and Richmond Heights last season and are now tied with West Tech (48). Massillon Perry, Garfield Heights and Columbus DeSales are the next step on the ladder with 52. Wadsworth will need time to catch St. Edward (180) and Graham (129).
Highland’s Brady Linder (152) and the Medina trio of Ethan Silvis (160), Seth DiCola (182) and Blake Chrisman (195) each lost two matches and are eliminated from the tournament.
In D-II, returning Buckeye state qualifier Anthony Ashley (126) dropped his opening match, but came back to beat Archbishop McNicholas’ Pierce Taylor to remain alive. Teammate Eddie Pinc (113) lost both matches.
The 672 individuals vying for a state title this weekend come from 294 schools. That number is seven less than last season. … Like last season, 20 wrestlers come in with an undefeated record. Also, like last season, 18 have the chance to walk out unscathed. In D-I, St. Edward’s Padraic Gallagher (14-0) and Olentangy Liberty’s Connor Brady (27-0) are on a collision course to meet in the finals after both won opening round matches. Shaker Heights standout Najee Lockett (38-0) and Liberty returning champion Carson Kharchla (27-0) could also meet in the finals after opening-round wins. … For the first time this century, every defending state champion has a chance to repeat as all 15 are spread out between weight classes. … Jacob Lagoa can’t defend his title after transferring from Ashtabula St. John to Ashtabula Lakeside and sitting out the second half of the season. Brecksville’s Julian Tagg and Gabe Tagg can’t either. Both are at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado.