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Sam Groff remained unbeaten on the season as he won his second straight district championship.
The Sandy Valley senior claimed the 182-pound title at the Division III district tournament at Philo Junior High school this past weekend, and in doing so, qualified for his fourth straight state championships.
Joining him in Columbus is teammate Joe Newman. The junior finished second at 126 pounds.
"Both young men wrestled excellent tournaments," commented Head Coach John Groff. "We worked a lot the past two weeks on wrestling smart and not making mistakes that can be costly at this level."
Groff opened districts with a pin against Logan Wilson of Garaway.
He then major decisioned Zach Crofut of North Union 13-2 and decisioned Carter Harris 6-2.
Wrestling for the district title, Groff edged Jared Leasure of Caldwell 1-0.
Groff will head into the state tournament with a perfect 53-0 record.
"Sam's goal was to win the district again, which made him our first two-time district champion," stated Coach Groff. "Hopefully, he gets seeded at the state tournament. He wrestled well and didn't give up an offensive point throughout the tournament."
Newman won three straight decisions to reach the finals.
He beat Gabe Gibson of Bloom Carroll 5-1, Adam Reed of Cardington Lincoln 5-1 and Austin Lang of Waterford 2-0.
In the finals, Newman lost to Damon Outward of Martins Ferry 5-1.
Newman's record is now 47-5.
"Joe wrestled very well," noted Coach Groff. "When he won in the semifinals, he got the monkey off his back from just missing last year.
"Joe didn't wrestle his best in the finals, so hopefully he can turn it up another notch this Thursday."
Just missing out on state are Brandon Carbenia and Evan Offenberger.
Carbenia (30-12) placed fifth at 113, while Offenberger (40-13) was sixth at 120.
Carbenia lost his opening match to Kristopher Hill of Hartley 14-6.
In the consolation bracket, Carbenia pinned Bobby Orr of Zane Trace, decisioned Leland Hostetler of Tusky Valley 6-4, and pinned Brock Moreland of Mount Gilead.
In the consolation semifinals, with state on the line, Carbenia was beaten by Kristopher Hill 12-4.
Wrestling for fifth and a state alternate position, Carbenia decisioned St. Clairsville Alex Timko 5-3.
Offenberger won his opener by pin against Dylan Little of Newcomerstown.
In the quarterfinals, he was decisioned by Chandler Minnard of Bloom Carroll 8-0.
Sent to the consols, Offenberger pinned Logan Hershberger of Garaway and Tyler Stoneburner of Paint Valley.
In his go-to match, Offenberger was pinned by Billy Shannon of Amanda Clearcreek.
In the fifth-place match, Offenberger was edged by Blake Kiedrowski of Catholic Central 3-2.
Hudson Cole (170) and Nick Smith (195) also competed at districts, both going 1-2.
Cole lost to Dezmond Perkins of Southeastern by pin, beat Parker Fox of Northridge 8-2, and lost to Kale Rayner of Caldwell 7-0.
He ends his season at 33-18.
Smith (27-14) was beaten by Mack White of Amanda Clearcreek 3-0. He bounced back to decision John Barber of Northridge 3-0, before getting pinned by Mark Clifford of Paint Valley.
The 2013 State Wrestling Championships are this Thursday, Feb. 28, and Friday and Saturday, March 1-2, at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
The Division III championship preliminaries get underway at 3 p.m.
Joe Newman - 126
Newman will open up the state tournament against junior Zach Alvarado (33-4) of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Alvarado finished third at the Kettering Fairmont District.
The winner will battle either senior Zack Nelson (54-0) of Waynedale, who finished first at the Goshen District and was fourth at state at 120 pounds in 2012; or sophomore Trenton Soto (34-8), who placed fourth at the Bowling Green District.
Sam Groff - 182
Groff finished third at state a year ago in this same weight class.
On Thursday, he will get things started by taking on sophomore Kile Schaefer (39-14) of West Salem Northwestern.
The winner will face either junior Logan Campbell (47-4) of Ashland Crestview, or junior A.J. Ouellette (33-12) of Covington.
Groff has two state placers in his half of the bracket.
Junior Armani Robinson (46-2) of Jamestown Greeneview was second a year ago at 170, and senior Kevin Stock (7-0) of Garrettsville Garfield was second at 182 in 2012 and fourth at 171 in 2011.
Only one previous state placer is in the lower half of the bracket - senior B.J. Toal (21-2) of Troy Christian, who won the 182-pound title in 2012 and finished second at 171 in 2011.