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Walsh Ironman high school wrestling tournament in Ohio should be toughest tourney of 2023-24 season

The nation's toughest in-season high school tournament takes place this weekend in Ohio.
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Note: All rankings noted are from SBLive Sports National High School Rankings

The high school wrestling season is underway in just about every state in the nation and this weekend all eyes will be on Ohio for the Walsh Ironman, which is considered the country’s toughest in-season wrestling tournament. Here is a brief preview to prepare you for the action.

The most ridiculous weight is probably 165-pounds. The top four wrestlers will be on hand with two of them being World Champions at some point in their careers. No. 1 Angelo Ferrari (Melissa, Texas) is the favorite to capture his third Ironman title as he has a win on his resume over No. 2 Joe Sealey (Wyoming Seminary, Pennsylvania).

No. 3 William Henckel (Blair Academy, New Jersey) was given the number four seed despite having split with Sealey and owning a win over No. 4 LaDarion Locket (Stillwater, Oklahoma), who is the three seed, at last year’s Ironman. Lockett and Sealey are world champs.

No. 6 Ethan Birden (Dublin Coffman, Ohio) defeated Sealey at last year’s Ironman, so he is dangerous too. In all, there are eight top 25 grapplers in this bracket. The others are No. 12 Clay Giddens (Bixby, Oklahoma), No. 18 Emmitt Sherlock (Gilman, Maryland), and No. 21 Jude Randall (Edmond North, Oklahoma).

The 132-pound class features eight of the top ten, but only three of the top five. No. 1 Marcus Blaze (Perrysburg, Ohio) is a world champion, who recently beat Purdue’s Matt Ramos in a college open. No. 3 Ben Davino (St. Charles East, Illinois) and Jordyn Raney (Union County, Kentucky) round out the top five guys. Davino was given the number one seed since he is a defending Ironman champ.

Our sixth through tenth ranked 132-pound wrestlers will be taking to the mats, Nikolaus O’Neill (Malvern Prep, Pennsylvania), Dillon Campbell (Legacy Christian, Ohio), Mason Gibson (Bishop McCort, Pennsylvania), Draegen Orine (Seckman, Missouri), and Jake Hockaday (Brownsburg, Indiana).

Ironman

No. 13 Matthew Botello (Wyoming Seminary), No. 15 Matty Lopes (Blair Academy), and No. 20 Gunner Andrick (Point Pleasant, West Virginia) are the last top 25 guys at 132.

The 120-pound weight class is missing the No. 1 guy, but two through five are here, along with No. 8 and ten through 12. They are, in order of ranking, Leo DeLuca (Blair Academy), Beric Jordan (Stillwater), Nathan Desmond (Wyoming Seminary), Lukas Littleton-Mascaro (Malvern Prep), Ethan Rivera (Lake Highland Prep, Florida), Keanu Dillard (Bethlehem Catholic, Pennsylvania), Louie Gill (Reynolds, Pennsylvania), and Mack Mauger (Blackfoot, ID).

Dillard owns a win over Gill, and Gill recently defeated Mauger. No. 24 Isaiah Jones (Bixby) is the last-ranked wrestler in the bracket. Jones recently handed No. 14 Chris Kiser (Ponca City, Oklahoma) a loss.

The 126-pound final could give us a rematch of last year’s 120-pound Ironman final won by No. 1 Luke Lilledahl (Wyoming Seminary) over No. 2 Jax Forrest (Bishop McCort, Pennsylvania). No. 5 JJ McComas (Stillwater) was a Fargo and Super 32 finalist, but his three losses to No. 4 Gage Walker (Bixby) last season (State Duals, Regions, and States) don’t go away because of those accolades.

No. 7 Seth Mendoza (Mt. Carmel, Illinois) fell to McComas at Super 32. No. 8 Jayden Raney (Union County), No. 13 Sebastian Degennaro (Jensen Beach, Florida), No. 17 Noah Nininger (Staunton River, Virginia), and No. 18 Porter Matecki (Whitfield, Missouri) conclude the nine ranked competitors at 126.

The 145-pound weight class has the top three on hand, Pierson Manville (State College, Pennsylvania), Jack Consiglio (Malvern Prep), and Melvin Miller (Bishop McCort). Miller has the potential to win it all as his Super 32 title suggests, but the freshman is still battling inconsistency as his loss to Shane Wagner (Faith Christian Academy, Pennsylvania) at the Surge attests. Miller was fifth at The Surge with his other loss being to Consiglio.

No. 5 Jaydon Robinson (Winter Springs, Florida) is being severely overlooked by many who seem to forget he was a PowerAde champ last year with wins over Cameron Catrabone (Williamsville, New York) and Mac Church (Waynesburg Central, Pennsylvania). Perhaps, too much focus is on Robinson not placing at Ironman last year.

No. 9 Brogan Tucker (Graham, Ohio), No. 13 Layton Schneider (Edmond North), No. 14 Gavin Linsman (Liberty, Missouri), No. 16 Logan Rozynski (Blair Academy), No. 18 Kade Brown (St. Edward, Ohio), and No. 23 Chase Van Hoven (Brooke Point, Virginia) are the last of the ten top 25 grapplers appearing in the 144lb bracket.

Eleven top 25 competitors show up on the 175-pound slate, including No. 1 Tyler Eise (Ponderosa, Colorado), who is looking to improve on last year’s fourth place showing. No. 4 Adam Waters (Faith Christian Academy), No. 5 Gage Wright (Parkersburg South, West Virginia), No. 8 Nate Blanchette (Central Catholic, MA), and No. 9 Talon McCollom (Edmond North) complete the top ten in attendance.

Blanchette has a win over Wright on his ledger from the NHSCA Junior Nationals, but there is also a loss to No. 11 Colin Kelly (Mt. Carmel) on his sheet, so we placed Blanchette between the two.

Rounding out the ranked wrestlers at 175 are No. 13 Gunner Cramblett (Graham), No. 14 Peyton Westpfahl (Liberty), No. 17 Dominic Federici (Wyoming Seminary), No. 21 Carson Thomas (LaSalle, Ohio), and No. 24 Elijah Penton (Winter Springs).

Seven of our top 25 at 215 will be present, and possibly an eighth as Wood Cross, Utah is on the team list, but No. 8 Jay Henderson is not listed amongst the seeded wrestlers. Three of the top five are, though, with No. 2 Jude Correa (Wyoming Seminary) leading the way with No. 4 Max Shulaw (St. Francis Desales, Ohio) and No. 5 Rune Lawrence (Frazier, Pennsylvania).

No. 10 Will Clark (Crown Point), No. 12 Michael Mocco (Cardinal Gibbons, Florida), No. 13 Oscar Williams (Edmond North), and No. 17 Rylan Kuhn (St. Pius X, Missouri) complete the ranked 215lbers.

At 150 we have eleven of the top 25, but only four in the top ten, No. 3 Kollin Rath (Bethlehem Catholic), No. 6 Vince Bouzakis (Wyoming Seminary), No. 8 Claudio Torres (Lake Highland Prep), and No. 10 Jaxon Joy (Wadsworth, Ohio).

Filling out the rest of the spots are No. 12 Kody Routledge (Edmond North), No. 16 Ryan Bennett (St. Edward), No. 17 Jason Mara (Meridian, Idaho), No. 18 Gianni Moldonado (Lake Gibson, Florida), No. 19 Will Denny (Marist, Illinois), No. 21 Ty Wilson (Dublin Scioto, Ohio), and No. 23 David Mayora (Lombard Montini, Illinois).

The top dogs don’t start filling in the 157-pound bracket until we get to No. 10 Aaron Stewart (Warren Township, Illinois). No. 11 Paul Ognissanti (Blair Academy) follows Stewart along with No. 13 Anthony Evanitsky (Wyoming Seminary), No. 14 Hunter Sturgill (Baylor School, Tennessee), No. 15 Landyn Sommer (Stillwater), No. 17 Eddie Enright (Mt. Carmel), No. 19 Jadon Skellenger (Bishop Kelly, Idaho), No. 21 Eugene Harney (Sycamore, Ohio), and No. 23 Max Stein (Faith Christian Academy).

At 106-pounds we could have another one-versus-two final (based on ranking, not seeds) with No. 1 Joe Bachmann (Faith Christian Academy) and No. 2 Ignacio Villasenor (Pomona). A faction of the six ranked wrestlers that fill in 106 will likely not finish on the podium. 106 is notoriously hard to predict in the early part of the season because there are so many talented freshmen who have yet to make their mark.

Next in line at 106 are No. 5 Shamus Regan (Wyoming Seminary), No. 7 Rocco Cassioppi (Honengah, Illinois), No 10 Ayden Dood (Perrysburg), No. 13 Caleb Noble (Warren Township), No. 18 Tyler Conroy (Malvern Prep), and No. 21 Caden Correll (Normal, Illinois).

The 113-pound bracket features four top-ten entries with No. 3 Dominic Munaretto (St. Charles East) favored to repeat as champion. Hoping to dethrone him are No. 6 Ayden Smith (Notre Dame-Green Pond, Pennsylvania), No. 8 Ethan Timar (St. Edward), No. 9 Grey Burnett (Perrysburg), No. 11 Nicholas Garcia (Marmion Academy, Illinois), No. 12 Davis Motyka (Wyoming Seminary), No. 13 Hunter Taylor (Liberty), No. 17 Rylan Seacrist (Brecksville, Ohio), No. 20 Aydan Thomas (Stillwater), and No. 22 Johnny Green (Aurora, Ohio).

The heavyweight title should come down to No. 3 Carter Neves (Blair Academy) and No. 5 Sampson Stillwell (St. Michael The Archangel, Missouri). But 285 lends itself to more uncertainty than 106 given the nature of heavyweight matches so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see these guys fulfill that promise or an unranked man steal the show.

No. 9 Richard Thomas (Edmond North), No. 11 Spencer Lanosga (Jesuit, Louisiana), No. 12 Aidan Fockler (Massillon Perry, Ohio), No. 16 Paul Clark (Crown Point), No. 17 Nick Pavlechko (State College), No. 19 Mark Effendian (Faith Christian Academy), and No. 23 Shilo Jones (Mountain View) are the favorites to bring home hardware. Christiansburg, Virginia is listed as a participating team, but No. 8 Parker Farrell did not receive a seed, which leads us to believe he is not competing.

No. 7 Jarrel Miller (St. Edward) was a runner-up at 175 last year. A look at the 190lb entrants shows that Miller has a strong chance to take the next step and win the crown. Standing in his way first would be No. 11 Cade Ziola (Skutt Catholic, Nebraska) who is seeded second to Miller’s third. No. 8 Nate Taylor (Green Farms Academy, Connecticut) is the No. 1 seed.

No. 12 Gunner Henry (Brownsburg), No. 14 Nick Wehmeyer (Malvern Prep), No. 17 Trevyn Gates (Pleasant Grove, Utah), Matt Kowalski (Springboro, Ohio), and No. 25 Jake Dailey (Wyoming Seminary) are hoping to throw a wrench into Miler’s title hopes.

At 138, No. 2 Bo Bassett (Bishop McCort) is a heavy favorite to win his second straight crown as the next highest-ranked participant is No. 11 Tyler Guerra (St. Charles East). No. 14 Omar Ayoub (Dublin Coffman), No. 17 Hunter Hollingsworth (Edmond North), No. 18 Jackson Tucker (Hillsboro, Missouri), and No. 19 Billy DeKraker (Blair Academy) are the final four ranked wrestlers at 138.