OLIVESBURG — The state championship he sought eluded him, but that was the only box left unchecked in Hayden Kuhn’s illustrious high school career.
The North Central Ohio Wrestler of the Year, Kuhn authored one of the greatest four-year runs in area history. He was Crestview’s first-ever three-time state placer, finishing third in the 144-pound weight class at last month’s Division III state tournament.
The Ashland University recruit was fourth at 132 in 2022 and third at 126 in 2021. He won no fewer than 42 matches in any of his four varsity seasons and finished with a career record of 181-22.
“When you think about the sport of wrestling, it’s a grueling sport. It’s very physical. It’s very demanding,” Crestview coach Steve Haverdill said. “You’ve got to have all those attributes to be successful and he’s got all of those attributes and more.”
Kuhn reached the state meet semifinals before falling 3-2 to Legacy Christian’s Boede Campbell. Kuhn, who nearly had a takedown in the final seconds, bounced back with two victories on the final day.
“I’ve worked really hard my whole career just trying to be the best I can, so it means a lot to be the first three-time state placer,” Kuhn said afterward. “I knew I had to come back (after the semifinal loss) to get third to prove how mentally tough I was and how much heart I have. My goals was to finish with a win this year.”
Kuhn is one of 14 state qualifiers and 10 state placers to make up the all-area wrestling team. Here’s a look at the rest of the squad:
Aiden Ohl, Ontario: Ohl made the most of his freshman season, placing fifth at the Division II state meet. The younger brother of 120-pounder Jacob Ohl, Aiden was 46-3 on the year after going 3-2 in Columbus. He reached the championship semifinals before falling 4-0 to eventual state champ Javaan Yarbrough of Copley. Ohl won sectional and district titles.
Cameron Wagers, Plymouth: A junior, Wagers was one of the top area wrestlers not to qualify for the state tournament. He reached the consolation semifinals at the Division III Rossford district meet, falling in the match that would have sent him to the state tourney. Wager finished with a 39-7 record.
Jacob Ohl, Ontario: The junior was a Division II state runner-up at 106 pounds as a sophomore and might have reached the top of the podium were it not for injuries late in the year. Ohl was eighth at the state meet after injury defaulting in the seventh-eighth place match. He finished the season with a 41-7 record.
Gradey Harding, Galion: Just a freshman, Harding battled his way to a fifth-place finish at the Division II state tournament. He finished the year with a 41-9 record and won a Norwalk district title.
Brock Durbin, Mapleton: A junior, Durbin was the Division III state runner-up at 126 and already is a three-time state placer. He finished eighth at 120 as a freshman and sixth at 120 as a sophomore. Durbin was 3-1 in Columbus, falling to junior and three-time state champ Dillon Campbell of Legacy Christian in the final. Durbin finished the season 41-2 after winning a Perry district title.
Milan Parobek, Ashland: A senior, Parobek was a Division I state tournament alternate after placing fifth at the rugged Perrysburg district meet. Parobek finished the season with a 27-14 record.
Grant Dowell Bucyrus: The senior was north central Ohio’s winningest wrestler this year, finishing with a record of 51-7. Dowell reached the Division III state tournament and was one win from reaching the podium. He was 1-2 in Columbus after placing fourth at the Rossford district.
Hayden Kuhn, Crestview: The area Wrestler of the Year, Kuhn became Crestview’s first-ever three-time state placer when he took third at 144 pounds at the Division III state meet. He finished his senior season with a record of 42-4.
Jake Taylor, Mount Vernon: Only a sophomore, Taylor qualified for the Division I state meet at 150 pounds. He was 0-2 in Columbus and finished the season with a record of 34-13. Taylor placed third at the Division I Hilliard Darby district meet.
Jon Metzger, Ashland: A Hillsdale (Mich.) College football recruit, Metzger capped his wrestling career with an appearance at the Division I state tournament after placing fifth at 157 at the Division II state meet last year. The senior was 1-2 in Columbus — one win shy of reaching the podium for a second straight year — and finished the season with a 41-12 record.
Luke Schlosser, Clear Fork: A junior, Schlosser finished fourth at 165 at the Division II state meet. He was 3-2 in Columbus to finish the season with a record of 49-8. Schlosser was a district runner-up at Norwalk.
Leo Hess, Mansfield Senior: After just missing a state berth as a junior, Hess capped his career with a fourth-place finish at 175 pounds at the Division II state meet. Hess was 4-2 in Columbus and finished with a season record of 40-7.
Hunter Hutcheson, Madison: The senior placed fifth at the Division II state meet after finishing fourth a year earlier. Hutcheson won his final high school match with a major decision in the fifth-sixth place bout and finished the year with a 39-7 record.
Mekhi Bradley, Mansfield Senior: An All-Ohio football player, Bradley capped his high school wrestling career with a fourth-place finish at 215 pounds at the Division II state tournament. Bradley, who placed seventh at 215 in 2022, was 37-6 on the season. He was a district runner-up at Norwalk, falling to eventual state champ Max Shulaw of Columbus DeSales in the finals. Bradley was the only wrestler to go the distance against Shulaw in the postseason.
Alex Taylor, Mount Vernon: A freshman, Taylor lost his first match at the Division I state tournament only to reel off five straight wins in the consolation bracket to finish third. Taylor was 42-8 on the year and was the Ohio Cardinal Conference runner-up, falling to Mansfield Senior’s Mekhi Bradley in the finals.
Alex Griffith, Galion: A junior, Griffith qualified for the state tournament for the third straight year and finished one win shy of the podium. He was 1-2 at 285 pounds at the Division II state meet and finished the season with a record of 40-10. Griffith has a career mark of 118-31.