Editor’s note: Dan Roberts, who has written about high school wrestling in the Record-Herald for many years, has compiled and updated his list of the top 75 grapplers ever to compete at the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational.
The 2016 tournament is set for Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., at Miami Trace High School.
*Denotes new addition to list in 2015
The following wrestlers were “bumped” from the list in 2016 to make room for the new inductees: Jimmy VanDyke (Washington); Tadd Reisinger (Washington), Nelson Roberts (Greenville), Skylar St.Peter (Athens), R.J. Waugh (Sheridan), Justin Hasely (Marietta) and Ryan Holsinger (McClain)
75. Bryan Sheets (Miami Trace) A two sports star for the Panthers. One of the first to compete at this tournament. He went 38-2 as a senior winning a District title and reaching the State Tournament. Sheets distinguished himself further as a successful head coach and administrator at Miami Trace.
74. Cameron Shaw (Washington) The Blue Lion upper weight came on strong his final two varsity seasons earning qualification to the State Tournament both years. The youngest of the three Shaw brothers, he placed seventh in the State at 182 pounds in Division II in 2012. Shaw had narrow losses in two McDonald’s/Miami Trace finals avenging his 2013 loss at the District “go-to-State” bout against Darren Scott of Sheridan. Shaw was a two-time SCOL and Sectional Champion.
73. Nathan Kern – (Circleville) – Kern won one McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational title and placed in two others. However, it was his dramatic ultimate tie-breaker win at 120 pounds in 2012 over two-time champion, Kole Trigg of Washington that brings his name on to the list. It was one of those rare matches that got the whole crowd excited or mad. Kern exemplified the tradition of skilled Circleville lower weights through the years. An unfortunate knee injury ended his senior year the week of the District Tournament.
72. Ben Foor (Miami Trace) A four-time District qualifier and State qualifier. Foor capped off a great senior season with his second McDonald’s title at 152 pounds. A thickly-muscled competitor he was a terror on the feet with his great strength.
*71. Shawn Murphy – (Washington) Murphy appeared in the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational as a freshman taking fourth place. His team opted not to return but his successes mounted during his four year varsity career. He won 154 matches, reached the District four times by placing second at the Division II Sectional Tournament his final three years and fourth as a freshman. A 2015 State qualifier at 132 pounds, he is among the top five in career wins for the Blue Lions.
*70. Jerimiah Jones – (Miami Trace) It is often said you save the best for last. Jerimiah Jones went from average to outstanding during his four years on varsity. He excelled in his final two seasons. Intense weight training and excellent training partners helped him along to two McDonald’s/Miami Trace finals as well as two Division II Sectional titles, two league titles and two third place finishes at the Division II District at 195 pounds. He reached the Brecksville Tournament finals before losing to eventual State Champion Matt Stencil of Oregon Clay.
69. Dallas Lazear (Athens) A young man who grew from a 138 pound wrestler as a sophomore to a 182 pound competitor as a senior. Lazear was a second, third and fourth finisher at the Division II District Tournament earning himself three qualifications to the State Tournament. He helped lead the Bulldogs to a tournament title here in 2014 by placing second to State Placer, Russell Miller of Miami Trace. Lazear reached the finals at this tournament three times winning it his sophomore year. He was an accomplished freestyle wrestler representing Team Ohio on the national level.
68. Joey Young (Athens) The mighty Joe Young won a title here at the 2009 tournament. He got in a terribly tough 189 pound class in 2010 finishing third. He then made the drop to 171 pounds where he advanced all the way to the State semifinals losing a close decision. Young finished the season in fourth place at the Division II State Tournament.
*67. Bryson Laytart – (Miami Trace) He was one of the most consistent wrestlers ever in the Miami Trace wrestling program. He qualified to three Division II State Tournaments never quite placing. He earned four District placements, two McDonald’s/Miami Trace titles, two Sectional titles and two league titles in his high school career completing in 2015. Laytart won 111 matches in this final three seasons alone. He was skilled as a counter wrestler waiting patiently on his opponent to make a mistake if necessary.
* 66. Levi Congleton – (Warren Local) Having six exceptional lower weights in the 2015 eligibility list made it extremely difficult to put one over another. In addition to Congleton, there are Dominic Vaginer (Logan Elm), Nathaniel Kehn (Sheridan), Cole Tawney (Gallia), Bryson Laytart (Miami Trace) and Shawn Murphy (Washington) who all had stellar careers each graduating in 2015. Congleton won head-to-head against Kehn as a sophomore but was defeated by Tawney in the 126 pound finals of the McDonald’s/Miami Trace as a senior before turning the tables on him in the Division II Sectional and reaching the State with a second place finish at District exiting with a 49-4 record.
*65. Cole Tawney – (Gallia Academy) I am certain Cole Tawney had many epic battles with opponents. One of the fiercest was in the finals of the 2015 McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational with an impressive pin in the second period against Warren’s Levi Congleton. A few weeks later, it was Congleton’s turn to win earning a decision over Tawney in the Sectional Finals. Tawney placed third at the Division II District twice and reached the podium at the State in 8th place at 126 pounds in 2014. His long arms were well suited to a nasty cradle. He was 44-6 as a senior.
64. Nathaniel Kehn – (Sheridan) Kehn improved steadily throughout his successful career. He won the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational as a senior and then went on to take second at the District behind Graham’s State Champion, Mitch Moore. He finished the season on the podium in 6th place at the 2015 Division II State Wrestling Tournament at 113 pounds. He won two Sectional titles and finished runner-up as a sophomore.
63. Kole Trigg (Washington) This is the one clear-cut addition to the 2014 inductees into to the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational “Greatest”. Trigg utilized superior strength and toughness in his four year terror of the lower weights in southeast Ohio. He won 125 matches in his final three years of competing. He was a four-time McDonald’s finalist and a three-time State Qualifier finishing as runner-up at the Southeast/Southwest Division II District Tournament in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He was a fifth place State Alternate at the District as a freshman. Trigg captured four SCOL and Division II Sectional titles in his outstanding HS career.
62. Matt Cunningham (Miami Trace) A three-time State qualifier and winner of two McDonald’s/Miami Trace titles; the 140 pounder was a brawler with his best work achieved riding the legs and turning opponents time and again with top side ½ Nelsons. He continued his career at West Liberty State in West Virginia.
64. Andrew Gaskins (Sheridan) An interesting addition to the Top 75 list. Gaskins placed here but was never a champion losing in the 2008 finals to Josey Neff of Miami Trace. Gaskins, however, made the State tournament his personal playground placing twice in his final two seasons with fourth being his highest placement at 135 pounds in Division II.
63. Zach Smith (Madison Plains) The first of several Eagle wrestlers who will appear on the list. Smith was a three – time placer at the McDonald’s winning a title in 2005. He went on to place at the State Division II tournament at 160 pounds as a junior. He was a very aggressive wrestler who won lots of close matches.
62. Adam Steele (Chillicothe) Another excellent middle weight wrestler for the Cavaliers. Steele won two McDonald’s titles including one over Zack Smith of Madison Plains. He exited this tournament undefeated his senior year.
61. Chris Zwiesler (Miami Trace) A two-time McDonald’s champion and three time State qualifier. Zwiesler was Division I runner up at the very tough Northeast District. He competed at 145 pounds and won two GMVWA titles as well.
60. Jess Sears (Miami Trace) Two-time champion. He pinned Alex Garcia of Columbus Academy in the finals his senior year. His wicked cradle did in the State runner up as it did for many opponents.
59. Dan Shonk (Sheridan) Shonk is the epitome of the tough Sheridan upper weights the Generals groom each year. Stout and strong and very hard to score on. Shonk won two titles here and placed 6th at the State at 171 pounds.
58. Justin Mautz (Philo) The Electrics competed only briefly at the McDonald’s tournament, but Mautz left a lasting impression. The 171 pound wrestler won one title here and then placed 5th at the State later in the season. A long and lankly wrestler; he rode legs exceptionally well.
57. Tyler Jackson (Athens) – A highly-successful wrestler in the lower weights. The scrappy wrestler was a key to the Bulldogs rise as southeast Ohio wrestling power. He won two McDonald’s/Miami Trace titles and was a two-time John Deno Classic champ in his home gym. A three-time District qualifier, Jackson reached the State in 2012 at 113 pounds narrowly missing placement.
56. Nathan Bowers (Miami Trace) 130-145 – A three-time winner of the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational. The Panther wrestler reached the State Tournament two times placing sixth as a senior in 2012. He was long and could use a spadle move with surprising results to any opponent who fell victim to it. He and his brother, David (#11 on list) are one of many pairs of brothers on this list and the only Miami Trace wrestling siblings to hold the distinction of All-State.
55. Jon Edwards (Greenville) 103-152 Edwards reached the State at 103 pounds as a freshman earning All-State status. He returned to the State in 2012 at 152 pounds and just missed out on placement. He finished his senior year at 44-3. He was a three-time McDonald’s/Miami Trace champion at increasing weight classes of 119, 135, and 152 pounds. Only Chaz Gresham won titles at a bigger expanse of weight classes in this tournament. Edwards was slick on the feet winning bouts often with high scoring affairs.
54. Keaton Webb (Miami Trace) Webb won the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Tournament three times. The lower weight reached that State Tournament three times placing 8th at 119 pounds his junior season. His outside fireman’s takedown put many opponents on their back. He had over 100 career victories. A very talented pianist and composer, Webb balanced wrestling his senior year with being the lead in the school’s musical, “Footloose.”
53. Devin King (Sheridan) King was a tall and lean upper weight for the Generals who won an impressive 49 matches as a senior. Not in the same mold as their typical strong and stalky hulk, King was skilled at using leverage to his advantage. The winner of two McDonald’s/Miami Trace titles, he was most impressive in his senior year by tech. falling or pinning all of his opponents. He and Evan Loughman, who competed at heavyweight on the same Generals team, was a very formidable tandem to deal with in the upper weights. A late season illness did not keep him from qualifying to the State Tournament but it most certainly hindered his bid at becoming a State Champion. His father, Chris King, was a long-time coach for the Sheridan Generals and an inductee into the tournament’s “Friend Of Wrestling”.
52. Josey Neff (Miami Trace) Neff was exceptionally quick on his feet winning over 120 career matches in the 135 to 145 pound range. He earned two Miami Trace/McDonald’s titles and reached the State Tournament three times in his career. He is one of several pairs of brothers on this list. Younger brother, Codey is at #29 currently.
51. Sam Moore (Miami Trace) Moore won two McDonald’s titles at 215 pounds. He was a three-time District placer and reached the podium at State in his senior year capturing 7th place. He was an anchor on one of the finest wrestling teams Miami Trace has placed upon the mats.
50. Hayden Bottorff (Miami Trace) A bittersweet inclusion to the list as Bottorff was not able to compete his senior season due to a knee injury. He would have been one of top contenders for a Division II State title after earning two qualifications to the State Tournament and a District title to his credit in his three years of competing. Coached by a Division II NCAA National qualifier, Jack Anders, Bottorff was a squat and strong force who made tremendous improvements every year. He won the 2013 McDonald’s/Miami Trace title at heavyweight.
49. Jack Anders (Miami Trace) Anders can be included as one of the best heavyweights the area has seen. A two-time champion of this event, he placed fourth at the State in Division II in 1992 losing to the well-heralded Luke Fickell in the semifinals.
48. Bo Kasler (Circleville) A rare three-time champion of the McDonald’s tournament in the lower weight divisions. The Tiger grappler was a three-time Mid-State League champion and three-time District qualifier. He reached State as a senior. He was very adept at riding and scoring points with a cross face series.
47. Dallas Holbrook (Washington) Holbrook was a pinning machine. He won two titles here and was District qualifier his senior year competing at 160 pounds. When takedowns were in vogue, this powerful young man was very adept at finishing off matches by fall. He was the eldest brother of three fine Washington HS wresters.
*46. Brandon Pahl – (Warren Local) It seems Big Men get a lot of mention on the Top 75 list. Pahl was one of the biggest and best. He won a McDonald’s/Miami Trace title at 285 pounds in 2015 defeating Sheridan’s Evan Loughman in the finals by injury default. That success helped propel the Warrior wrestler to a runner-up finish at both the Division II Sectional and District. Both finishes were losses to Loughman. Pahl earned two All-State wrestling awards finishing on the podium in 4th in 2014 and 7th in 2015. He was also an outstanding lineman for the Warren Local Warriors.
45. Jake Daniels (Madison Plains) A great upper weight who went to the State and placed in Division III his senior year. He climbs high on this list due to this big win in the finals in 2003 to help the Golden Eagles capture their first and only McDonald’s Tournament. Jake is currently the head wrestling coach of Logan Elm High School.
44. Chip Black (Miami Trace) Another of the three time winners of the McDonald’s Tournament. He was a four time District qualifier and a State qualifier as a senior. Black was golden on the feet and just as good at turning opponents with well leveraged tilts.
43. Trent Duffy (Miami Trace) Duffy excelled on the mats all four years while competing for the Panthers. He was exceptionally quick. He reached the State Tournament three times placing twice. He won his last three McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational Tournaments after placing third his freshman year. Duffy accumulated tournament titles in bunches. He won four South Central Ohio League championships and four Division II Sectional titles placing among the top six at the District all four years. He won over 165 matches in his career. Duffy always had a smile on his face and was skilled member of the Miami Trace “Soundsations” singing and dancing troupe.
42. Levi Barnett ( Sheridan) Barnett did not get to participate in this tournament as a senior due to weather conditions. He did however reach the State semifinals, losing an overtime match. He eventually placed 4th at 145 pounds to confirm his excellent abilities to win close bouts against high level competitions.
41. Brandon Taylor (Gallia Academy) 170 – Taylor lost by technical fall in the finals of the 2011 McDonald’s/Miami Trace tournament to State 3rd place finisher Paul Gryniuk of Washington. He came back to win a title in 2012 defeating Justin Hasley of Marietta in the finals in a close bout. Taylor just zoomed from there winning the Division II District title then placed third at the State recording four pins in doing so. He was 49-2 his senior year. Dangerous on top; he peaked at just the right time to finish very close to winning a State Title for the Blue Devils.
40. Justin White (Sheridan) One of the very best defensive wrestlers to compete at this tournament. He was quick and strong. He was, in essence, a balanced package of power. He won two individual titles here and was third at the State Division I tournament at 189 pounds.
39. Bryan Brulport (Sidney) Two-time champion defeating Madison Plains Jason Conners both times in the finals by narrow margins. He exited this tournament undefeated his senior year in 2004 and went on to place twice at the State Division I tournament at 145 pounds.
38. Danny Demick (Chillicothe) A two-time State placer and two-time runner up at this tournament. The heavyweight was fourth in Division II as a junior and fifth his senior year. He is one of several outstanding heavyweights to appear in the McDonald’s / Miami Trace Invitational losing only to State Champion Andrew Carpenter of Sheridan.
*37. Evan Loughman- (Sheridan) The list of Sheridan heavyweights to grace the Top 75 list is impressive. Loughman dominated the region his final two seasons winning two Sectional and District titles. He placed 6th and 3rd at the Division II State Tournament at 285 pounds. He won the 2014 McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational and was runner-up in 2015 due to an injury default to rival and friend Brandon Pahl of Warren Local. Strong with a low center of gravity, he was very tough to take down and even harder to hold down.
36. Tyler Knull (Circleville) Another fine wrestler from the Circleville Tiger wrestling program. Knull qualified all four years to the State Tournament with a career total of 181 wins. He was 8th as a sophomore and fifth as a senior. He won a District title in 2013 and was second in 2014. He won three Division II Sectional titles and was a three-time Mid-States League champion. A winner of two McDonald’s/Miami Trace titles, he was second in 2013 in an epic match with Brandon Carter of Bethel Tate losing 7-6.He was a tiger on the mat. Very aggressive on the feet and always on the attack, he was fun to watch compete. He continued his wrestling at Wheeling Jesuit College.
35. Danny Roberts (Westfall) Roberts earned three McDonald’s titles in his high school career. He was a three time State qualifier and Medina Invitational finalist his senior season. He took runner up at the State Tournament at 160 pounds in Division III his senior year.
34. Scott Gifford (Miami Trace) A 145 pound dynamo with three championships at the McDonald’s Tournament. He was a three time District qualifier and two-time State qualifier. Gifford placed 6th as a senior at the State. He was All-State football as a fullback!
33. Josh Smith (Chillicothe) Smith won two individual titles for the Cavaliers at this event. He went on to win a District title and placed third at the Division I State Tournament at 145 pounds as a senior. He was a compact wrestler with explosive takedown potential.
32. Ryan Eichorn (Miami East) The Miami East Vikings came to the tournament for just two years. Eichorn reached the finals twice winning once. He lost to Westfalls’ Tim Geiger in and epic battle in 1998. Eichron placed second in the State in Divison III.
31. Steve Shriner (Sheridan) A four-time champion at the McDonald’s Tournament. Steve was more angular in build than his brother, Brandon. He just missed reaching the State Finals with a great cradle pin in his arsenal.
30. Tony LeBeau (Miami Trace) Tony was the first competitor of this tournament to capture four titles. He was a four-time District qualifier and winner of over 100 career matches. He won two GMVWA titles and led a trio of brothers that achieved nearly 300 wins for the Panthers.
29. Codey Neff (Miami Trace) He bumped up from 103 as a freshman to 125 pounds for most of his sophomore year. A drop to 112 pounds at the end of the season reaped great rewards for this two time Miami Trace/McDonald’s Champion. He reached the State finals in Division II with a pin in the semifinals. He was defeated by Graham’s David Taylor in the State finals.
28. Paul Gryniuk (Washington) The Blue Lion was an absolute pinning machine holding numerous school pin records for Washington when he finished his high school career. He won the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational three times and reached the State tournament twice. He placed a strong third in 2011 at 171 pounds losing a close decision in the semifinals to the projected state champion and later defeating two-time finalist, Kyle Ryan of Graham, for third place. Ryan had earlier beaten Gryniuk twice in the season.
27. Shane Gifford (Logan Elm) A rough and tumble wrestler with three years of State Tournament experience. Gifford placed twice at the State Tournament reaching as high as 3rd place his senior year at 152 pounds. Gifford twice placed 2nd at this tournament before finally winning it has senior year against a young Houston Evans of Graham.
26. Tieler Severance (Sheridan) Tieler dominated the field for two years at the Miami Trace/McDonald’s Invitational. He placed second at the State in 2007 and made a strong run at a title again in 2008 losing a tight bout in State semifinals. Severance was a pinner who could end the match with the surprising suddenness.
*25. Russell Miller (Miami Trace) An exceptionally athletic wrestler who also rushed for over 1,500 yards on the football field as a senior and being named to First Team All-Ohio in Division III. Miller won 48 times as a senior losing only to the eventual State Champion, Runner-Up and Third place finishers at 170 pounds. He is Miami Trace’s only Brecksville Tournament champion. He was a three-time McDonald’s/Miami Trace champion and two-time State qualifier finishing in fourth place in 2015. Early career end-of-season injuries kept this wrestler from achieving even greater accomplishments.
24. Jim LeBeau (Miami Trace) It is hard to pick one brother over the other. Jimmy won three titles here and then earned a fourth place finish at the State in Division I at 145 pounds. His flurries of moves created points and excitement in a real hurry. Jim had a great influence over future wrestlers developing many names on this list through his Titan Wrestling program and as a volunteer assistant coach.
23. Joel Mankin (Chillicothe) Mankin, a scrapper and brawler, thrilled the crowd when he built a sizeable lead on McClain’s superstar, Jorge Conger, and then held on for a terrific and prolific win. It remains the single most impressive match competed at the McDonald’s Tournament.
22. James Mannier (Graham B) Mainer came to the tournament in 2007 as a reserve wrestler for the vaunted Graham program. He became a four-time district champion reaching as high as 3rd at the state championships. He was recruited as a student athlete to attend West Point.
21. Stephan Morrison (WCH/Miami Trace) Morrison was a four-time District qualifier and two time State placer. He was runner up at the “Show” as a junior sneaking up on the wrestling world with his surprise finish. Stephan was a three time McDonald’s winner. He placed at the State again as a senior.
20. Jacob Garringer (Miami Trace) A four time Miami Trace/McDonald’s Champion and four time State placer in the 103-119 pound classes. The powerful Panther lightweight was outstanding in winning the close bouts. He won over 150 matches in his career. He wrestled for Ashland University and has returned to his alma mater to teach and coach. He placed in all but one tournament, including the State Tournament, in his four years.
19. Brandon Shriner (Sheridan) An absolute crowd favorite every time he stepped upon the mats. The three-time McDonald’s champion reached the State finals his senior year losing a tight bout to a Graham wrestler. His rough and tumble style served him well. He just may be the “toughest” competitor we have had in this tournament.
18. Nathan Jones (Sidney/Troy Christian) The 189 pound wrestler came to the tournament in 2005 as a freshman and won a pair of titles before Sidney withdrew from future competition. He transferred to Troy Christian as a senior and won a Division III title.
17. Zack Nelson ( Madison Plains) Nelson has a State championship title to his credit going 50-0 in 2006 to win the 130 pound Division III title and placing 2nd in 2008 at 145 pounds. It was his fourth placement at the State. He has two McDonald’s titles earned.
16. Tim Geiger (Westfall) He won four McDonald’s titles in his stellar high career which also included four trips to the State tournament. He won an amazing 162 matches including a Medina Invitational title, and two State placements in the 145 pound range. As good as he was, he was even more gracious off the mat as a humble winner.
15. Andrew Carpenter (Sheridan) The Generals develop awesome big men with great regularity and Carpenter is a talented as any of the “beasts” they have produced. A two-time champion at the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational, he went on to win the State Division II heavyweight title in 2010. He possessed a balance, power and explosive power when needed.
14. Vince Pickett (Westfall/Grove City) Pickett entered to the 2010 McDonald’s/Miami Trace Tournament as a sophomore and finished second to Miami Trace’s Jordan Fraley at 145 pounds. He went on to place at the State Tournament three times finishing with a senior year record of 40-2 as a runner up in 2012 losing only to the highly regarded St. Edward wrestler, Mark Martin. He earned a major decision against a Mentor District Champion in the State semifinals his senior year en route to his second place finish.
13. Jason Matson (Miami Trace) This begins the great debate. The final 13 wrestlers are all very special competitors and it was extremely hard to rank them. A three-time Miami Trace Invitational champion and two-time District champion. He won a 152 pound State title going 38-0 his senior year. Matson was named GMVWA and the East-Southeast Ohio wrestler of the year in 1991. He had all the tools including flexibility and a fierce tenacity to win.
12. Quantres Bates (Chillicothe) Bates won just one McDonald’s wrestling title. That was in 1995, the year he also placed at the State in Division II at 112 pounds. What he did after high school is much more impressive. Bates won a collegiate National Championship title while competing for Findlay!
11. David Bowers (Miami Trace). Bowers won over 160 matches and is one of the State’s all-time career leaders in pins. He was four-time Sectional Champion, three-time District Champion and was runner up at the Division II State Tournament in 2004. See what I mean — those remaining on the list had remarkable careers! His only loss at this tournament was to Brandon Luce of Sidney which cost him his fourth title.
10. Jorge Conger (McClain) A remarkably skilled wrestler with three McDonald’s titles. He lost precious few regular season matches but one of them was here to Joel Mankin of Chillicothe in the finals. Conger was amazing at scrambling and tussling. He always seemed to end up in just the right position. He placed second in the State to Dustin Schlatter his senior year. Everyone thought if he would have went up a weight class…he could have easily won, but Conger wanted a chance at the best high school wrestler in the nation!
9. Dustin Fraley (Miami Trace) A truly great competitor. He won 100 matches in his final two years of varsity placing third at the State at 135 pounds in 2007 and then took runner-up honors as a senior. A four-time Miami Trace/McDonald’s Champion, his three losses as senior were to Tony Jameson of Austintown Fitch (four-time State Champion) and Ben Jordan (three-time State Champion). Pound for pound, he was perhaps the strongest Miami Trace wrestler ever.
8. Brandon Luce (Sidney) A two-time Division I State Champion. Who’s to argue that accomplishment? Luce was undefeated as a senior. He had extraordinary talent utilizing balance and poise to win. Watching him compete was watching incredible ability and passion for the sport. He would tumble and tussel and end up in a favorable position every time.
7. Huston Evans (Graham) 152-189 Evans was a four-time State Finalist. He won a title in 2010 as a sophomore and then came up against Goshen’s Chaz Gresham his last two years in the title bout where Gresham barely got the best of him both times. Physically best described as a “specimen,” he was a very focused and determined wrestler. He was defeated by Shane Gifford in his Freshman year in the finals of this tournament.
6. Joey Ward (Goshen/Moeller) 112-132 Ward came to the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Tournament as a Freshman, trounced the competition and continued to get better and better. A two-time State Champion for Moeller; he began his career at Goshen. He made the District Finals in Division II twice and Division I twice winning titles in his junior and senior seasons. He was scarily quick and agile. He and his “bigger” brother Chaz Gresham were phenomenal competitors.
5. Travis McIntosh (Miami Trace) The Panther wrestler was a three-time champion at the McDonald’s/Miami Trace Invitational who made it to the State Tournament four times. He was a runner up at the State as a junior at 189 pounds losing only to the awe inspiring Max Thomasuiett of Graham. McIntosh set his sights on winning the title in 2011 at 215 pounds. He reached his goal of standing on top of the podium defeating a returning state champion in the finals to achieve it. He went 47-1 his senior season to conclude an amazing career with over 150 victories. McIntosh completed his senior college career as the NCAA Division III Tournament as the 184 pound runner up wrestling at Campbellsville College (KY). He now is an assistant coach at Graham High School.
4. Riley Shaw (Washington) 189 HWT A most amazing talent to hit the mats both in athleticism and character. He decided to move up from 215 to heavyweight mid-way through his junior season. He never lost a bout in the weight class over the course of a two year period winning two State titles. He went 42-0 as a senior winning eleven of his last 12 matches of his career by pin. He was a three time Division II District Champion; four time State qualifier and three time State Placer. He was fourth as a sophomore. He finished with over 175 career wins. Riley competes for Cleveland State University and was a 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division I National qualifier.
3. Chaz Gresham (Goshen) 135-189 The most electrifying thrower in recent memory. He tossed the great Huston Evans of Graham to his back on three different occasions; two of them in the State Finals matches in 2011 and 2012 to win back to back titles at 189 and 182 pounds. Gresham was heads above the competition his last two years going undefeated his senior season. He was f our time State placer and four-time winner of this event starting at just 135 pounds as a freshman. He and his brother Joey Ward are the top brother tandem on the list.
2. Ryan Taylor (Graham) 103-120 pounds Taylor was truly one of the better “Graham Greats.” He won a McDonald’s/Miami Trace title his freshman season in 2009. His three State Titles and two Ironman Runner up finishes are quite indicative of his remarkable abilities. He showcased a takedown skill and ability to tilt opponents to their back that was rarely seen in high school. He now wrestles for Wisconsin University at 133 pounds, He was a NCAA Division I All American in 2015 and Big Ten Runner Up. He had a high school record of 151-8. The only reason I have him ranked behind Fox is due to what the big man did after high school. I am on “alert” to put this one even higher based on his collegiate successes. He placed a strong 3rd at the Midlands Championships in 2014 which is considered the best college tournament in the country!
1. Dustin Fox (Galion) Watching Fox rise up to the No. 1 ranked NCAA Division I heavyweight in America convinced me who has earned the top spot on the Top 75 Greatest list. Fox was a tremendous high school heavyweight with two State titles to his credit and he became an even more accomplished wrestler in college by winning the NCAA Division I title in 2008 wrestling for Northwestern University.