By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
It was a good day for Greater Catholic League South Division wrestlers at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I State Wrestling Championships held Saturday at the Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus. La Salle’s Lucas Byrd, Antonio McCloud of Elder and Moeller’s Jake Thompson each won individual state championships in their respective weight classes to help the three GCL South teams finish among the leaders in the final team standings – with La Salle coming in at No. 4, with 96.5 points; Elder finishing at No. 6, with 64.0; and Moeller claiming the No. 12 spot, with 37.0. Lakewood St. Edward finished first, totaling at 170.5 points.
Byrd became just the second wrestler in La Salle history to win a state title, earning the championship at 113 pounds with a 4-3 decision over Dylan Shawver of Elyria. McCloud – a state qualifier last year – became only the fifth wrestler in Elder history to earn a state title, defeating Harrison senior Cameron Sauerwein, 13-3, in the final at 220. Thompson, who lost his state final match at 182 pounds last March, was back in the title match again at 195 pounds – and this time Thompson was victorious, joining 12 other Moeller wrestlers as individual state champs with a 9-6 win over Dakota Howard from Lakewood St. Edward. Thompson, who finished 50-2 this season, plans to attend the United States Air Force Academy.
It was a takedown in the last minute of his final match that enabled Byrd to join Neal Neyer as the only state wrestling champs in La Salle’s history. Neyer won his individual crown at 155 pounds back in 1976. The win was extra special for Byrd, a junior who has committed to wrestle at the University of Maryland. Byrd’s older brother, Max, is a member of the Lancers’ coaching staff after graduating from La Salle in 2012 and placing four times at state. With the match tied 2-2 late in the third period, Byrd earned the decisive two points for the victory and a 46-4 record this season.
Three other GCL South wrestlers earned runner-up finishes. La Salle freshman Dustin Norris nearly etched his name in the Lancer wrestling record books before being taken down in the final minute to fall to Fairfield senior Zach Shupp, 3-1, in the final. It was a state runner-up finish for the Lancers’ ninth-grader, who has been one of his team’s top wrestlers all season. Elder senior Austin Murphy nearly joined McCloud as a state champion in an exciting match that ended with a 6-4 loss to Jaden Mattox of Grove City Central Crossing at 160 pounds. And, in the final weight class, senior Jack Heyob of St. Xavier lost a 2-1 decision to Jordan Earnest of Wadsworth at 285.
La Salle turned in a solid performance as a team, with the following placers: Casey Wiles, third (126 pounds); Antonio Allen, fifth (120); Blake Wilson, fifth (182); Michael Baker, sixth (195); and Trey Sizemore, seventh (160). William Doepker also placed for Elder, finishing seventh at 106, while Moeller’s Jordan Ward came in sixth at 132. St. Xavier finished tied at No. 23 in the team standings, with 19 points.