Columbus Grove’s Dylan Sargent looks for an opening against Bowling Green’s Max Fausnaugh during the 220-pound semifinals of the Defiance Border War Invitational. Sargent is one of several area wrestlers to wtch in the upper weights at this weekend’s Van Buren Invitational. (Photo by Jamie Baker.)

Prep wrestling: Prep Wrestling Preview Capsule

41st Van Buren Invitational

WHERE: Van Buren High School.

WHEN: Friday, 4 p.m. two championship rounds, consolation rattails; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. consolations followed by semifinals; championship finals 4:30 p.m.

AREA SCHOOLS PARTICIPATING: Ada, Arcadia, Bluffton, Tiffin Calvert, Carey, Columbus Grove, Cory-Rawson, Elmwood, Fostoria, Hopewell-Loudon, Lakota, Liberty-Benton, McComb, Mohawk, North Baltimore, Ottawa-Glandorf, Pandora-Gilboa, Riverdale, Van Buren.

OTHER SCHOOLS: Allen East, Eastwood, Galion, Gibsonburg, Lincolnview, Otsego, Fremont St. Joseph, Sandusky St. Mary’s, Seneca East, Swanton, Wayne Trace.

RETURNING CHAMPS: Swanton is the two-time defending VBI team champions. Otsego’s Jake Manley and Cameron Pollard are returning champs as are Eastwood’s Brandon Hahn and Gibsonburg’s Brad Mendoza.

COMINGS AND GOINGS: Fostoria is back in the field after a year off with 195-pounder Roger Hall having placement potential for the Redmen. Fremont St. Joseph has also returned and features one of the top Division III 285-pounders in Ohio in state placer Noah Price.

WHAT TO WATCH: As one would expect, the field is deep with 30 schools entered in this year’s event. If they all compete, 17 returning state qualifiers could be entered in this year’s tournament.

The upper weights, particularly 182 pounds, could produce the most fireworks. Area state placewinners, senior DeAndre Nassar (Bluffton), junior Tanner May (Carey) and senior Danny Rosales (Ottawa-Glandorf) have all competed at 182 this season. None of the three have ever won a VBI title. Of course one of the three could opt up or down depending on their situations.

At 220 pounds, Van Buren will have a hometown favorite to watch in Kaleb Snodgrass, who was sixth at the VBI last season. Snodgrass, though, is coming off a huge weekend after winning his weight class at last weekend’s Perrysburg Invitational Tournament. His path to a title won’t be easy with longtime nemesis Will Bechstein of Elmwood and Columbus Grove state qualifier Dylan Sargent in his path.

Price leads a deep field of heavyweights that includes returning state qualifiers Kain Brossia of Elmwood and Columbus Grove’s Jeff Meyer. Arcadia’s John Hill and Carey’s Ethan Schlack could also be in the mix to make the final.

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