There will be several new faces from Fulton County heading down to Columbus this Friday through Sunday to compete in the OHSAA Individual Wrestling State Tournament.
A total of eight first-time qualifiers from Archbold, Delta, Swanton and Wauseon will throw their hats in the ring, vying for a state placement or perhaps, a state title.
Leading the group of first-time qualifiers for Wauseon in Division II, is senior heavyweight Sammy Sosa. He is 41-7 on the year.
Sosa opens up with Zach Hershbeger of Wooster Triway (30-7). However, his road gets much tougher from there, with a potential second round matchup against Cole Potts of Columbus St. Francis DeSales (38-3) who took fourth at state a year ago.
And, in the semifinal he could get Jacob Burns of Archbishop Hoban, who is 43-2 on the year and thought to be a contender for the state title.
Also making his first trip to state for the Indians is sophomore Lawson Grime (35-15). He finished fourth at 138 pounds at the Norwalk District last weekend.
Grime has a tough draw, facing Nick Moore of St. Paris Graham who is coming off consecutive state runner-up performances at 132 pounds and 126 pounds, respectively.
Junior Damon Molina (113), who boasts a 36-14 record, and senior Jarrett Bischoff (160), who comes in at 41-11, will get another crack at state for Wauseon.
Molina qualified at 106 pounds last season but did not place, and Bischoff makes his return following a two-year absence from the Big Dance. He took sixth at 120 pounds as a freshman in 2017.
Molina joined Sosa as a district champion over the weekend while Bischoff was runner-up.
At state, Molina has a first round date with Cole Renier of Logan Elm (30-22).
Bischoff opens with Khail Louive of Minerva (33-12). However, his second round opponent could be the most daunting, as he potentially will face Dylan Dodson of Newark Licking Valley who is 47-0 on the year.
Archbold, competing in Division III, has one returning state qualifier and two newbies.
Making his second straight appearance for the Blue Streaks is senior Brennan Short (145), who is 53-8 on the season. He finished third at the Napoleon District last weekend.
Short takes on Austin Amens of Galion Northmor (38-8) in the first round. However, the quarterfinal could pit him with Brier Marthey of Massillon Tuslaw (35-2), a projected top four finisher at state.
Junior Carson Meyer (170) is 47-3 on the year for Archbold. He is coming off a sectional and district championship in consecutive weeks, and will be looking to add to that this weekend.
Meyer, making his first state appearance, opens against Kameron Hughes of Martins Ferry (37-8). After that it gets tough, as he is on the same side of the bracket as Devin Oligee of Middletown Madison (51-3), Micah Hershberger of Apple Creek Waynedale (45-6), and projected state champion Conor Becker of Galion Northmor (30-0).
Junior Andrew Francis (126) is also new to the state tournament arena.
Francis drew Brett Szuhay of Mantua Crestwood (26-2) for his first round matchup. He could also face projected state champion Camron Lacure of Legacy Christian Academy (35-4) in the quarterfinals.
At the forefront for Delta is two-time state placer and defending 106-pound state champion, junior Zack Mattin. Wrestling at 113 this season, Mattin comes in unbeaten at 42-0.
He is projected to win the 113-pound title.
Mattin opens with Jarrett Hornish of Wayne Trace (38-3). In addition to Hornish, Jason Shaffer of Troy Christian (23-6), Nolan Frye of Cuyahoga Heights (42-4), and Matt Ellis of Legacy Christian Academy (31-6) are potential threats to Mattin repeating as a state champ.
Sophomore Austin Kohlhofer (220), a first-time qualifier for the Panthers, comes into state on fire behind sectional and district championships in back-to-back weeks. In fact, at the Napoleon District last weekend, he bested two of the wrestlers ranked ahead of him in the state, including a pin over projected state champion Wil Morrow of Patrick Henry in the title match.
Kohlhofer (28-6) faces Travis Reed of London Madison Plains (39-10) in the opening round.
Also making their first state appearances for the Panthers are sophomore Evan Hanefeld (16-8) at 106 pounds and junior Max Hoffman (33-13) at 170 pounds.
Hanefeld opens with Anwar Alli of Marion Pleasant, who is 44-1 on the year.
Hoffman is in the loaded 170-pound weight class, same as Meyer of Archbold. He gets Andy Williamson of Mount Gilead (45-5) to begin the tournament.
Junior Brodie Stevens is the lone representative for Swanton, and also a first-time qualifier. The Bulldog heavyweight, who comes in at 39-8, wrestles Jayden Heltsley of Arcanum (34-4) in his opening match.
The state wrestling tournament begins Friday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University. The Division III championship preliminaries are at 3 p.m. Friday, followed by the Division II preliminaries at approximately 4:10 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010