By JAMIE BAKER
To say Patrick Henry freshman Kent Petersen beat the odds in qualifing for the state wrestling tournament would be an understatement.
There were 994 wrestlers competing in Division III district tournaments across the state last weekend.
Petersen was the only wrestler in Division III who qualified for districts by finishing fourth in his sectional and worked his way through the bracket to wrestle for a district title.
In fact, Petersen is the only wrestler in any of the three divisions to finish fourth in his sectional and qualify for this week’s OHSAA state tournament at Value City Arena.
Petersen pinned Ottawa-Glandorf’s Derek Ebbeskotte, who won last week’s sectional weight class in which Petersen finished fourth, in overtime in the district semifinals to ensure a spot at state.
“When I beat the kid who won our sectional in the semifinals, that felt good, really good,” Petersen said with a smile. “I was more excited there than I was last week, because there was more to wrestle for. It was a big rush leading up to that match.”
The Patrick Henry freshman, who fell by fall in the district final to Willard’s Moises Lopez, will take a 25-9 record into Thursday’s state tournament preliminary round.
Petersen will take on Magnolia Sandy Valley senior Hudson Cole (44-5) in his state opener. The only freshman in the Division III 195-pound class at state says he’ll be ready.
“I did think I had a shot at making it to the district finals and I came out this weekend and made it happen. It’s an amazing feeling to know I’ll be at state,” Petersen said.
“I’m proud and excited and I know it’s going to be tough next weekend. There are a lot of good guys but I’ll be ready for it.”
THREE AT 160: There will be plenty of familiar faces for area wrestling fans in the Division III 160-pound division.
Three wrestlers who know one another pretty well, Van Buren’s Chance Sonnenberg, Cory-Rawson’s Dylen Hartman and Ada’s Austin Windle, will compete for the eight spots on the awards stand.
Sonnenberg (37-4) will be looking for his second straight state medal after finishing fifth for the Black Knights last year. He will take on Cincinnati Reading senior Ray Day (36-7) in his first-round bout.
Windle became Ada’s first state qualifier in the program’s short history when he finished third at the Division III district at Troy. The 39-6 junior will wrestle Otsego senior Jordan Hendrix (37-9) in his opening-round match.
Hartman, a senior with a 38-8 record, is excited to get to state but he isn’t satisfied just yet.
“I’m going to work hard this week and hopefully pull off an upset or two next week and get down there and place,” Hartman said. “We’ve only had one other state placer at the school and I want to be the second.”
It’s been 31 years since a Cory-Rawson wrestler has placed at state. Cory-Rawson’s last state placer was Keith “Rhino” Risner, who finished fourth in the Class “A” unlimited weight class in 1983.
FOUR-TIMERS: Two wrestlers will be looking to join the ranks of Ohio’s four-time state champions this weekend.
St. Paris Graham’s Micah Jordan, the nephew of U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, will be gunning for his fourth state title in the Division II 145-pound division. He will try and join his brother Bo, father Jeff and uncle Jim as a four-time champ.
Dayton Christian’s Jacob Danishek will be seeking to win his fourth crown in the Division III 152-pound division.
Both Jordan and Danishek are ranked first in their weight classes nationally.
MORE COVERAGE: Look for more coverage of area wrestlers who have qualified for the OHSAA state tournament in Wednesday and Thursday’s Courier.
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