OLIVESBURG — Caden Hill’s quest for a state championship may have come to a premature end, but it would have been fun to see if Crestview’s 285-pound senior could have sealed the deal in Columbus.
The Richland Source Wrestler of the Year, Hill had set himself up for a run at a Division III state title before the meet was postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ultra-athletic Hill — he was selected the Firelands Conference defensive lineman of the year after recording 116 tackles and 23.5 tackles for loss — had a 45-1 record going into the state meet. His only loss came to Malvern (Pa.) Prep’s Cole Deery at the prestigious Walsh Ironman in mid-December.
What’s more only six of his 46 matches had lasted the entire six minutes. He pinned his way to the sectional title at Plymouth, none of his matches lasting more than a minute, and had a pair of falls en route to the Napoleon district title.
“It scares me a little bit, not going the distance a whole lot because you would like to get the look,” Hill said after winning his first sectional title at Plymouth. “For the more part, if you do what you’re supposed to do in practice, that will set you up for success.”
There’s no question Hill was set up for success in Columbus.
“He’s worked extremely hard to get this,” Crestview coach Steve Haverdill said before the state meet was postponed. “He’s excited to be (going) down there, but he knows he’s got to take it one match at a time.”
Hill had his sites set for the top of the podium in Columbus.
“We’ve prepared for this all year long,” Hill said. “I’ve talked all year long with coach and we feel our journey is not over with just getting there.”
Hill is the centerpiece of an All-Richland Source wrestling team that included 10 other state qualifiers.
106: Ashland’s Roman Parobek had a freshman season to remember. Parobek was 29-15 in his first varsity season, reaching the Norwalk district after a runner-up finish at the Clyde sectional. Parobek was 2-2 at Norwalk and came within a match of placing in the top six.
113: Mapleton senior Hunter Frederick punched his ticket to the Division III state meet with a runner-up finish at the Garfield Heights district meet. Frederick was 35-5 on the season and won a sectional title at Northwestern.
120: A junior, Ashland’s Case George put himself in position for a podium finish in Columbus. George was 38-9 on the season and won a district title at Norwalk with a 6-3 decision over Bellevue’s Jayden Mayes. George won a sectional title at Clyde and was the 120-pound champ at the J.C. Gorman Invitational.
126: Clear Fork junior Isaiah Thomas earned a spot at the Division II state meet with a third-place finish at the Norwalk district meet. Thomas battled his way through a tough district draw after finishing fourth at the Clyde sectional. He was 39-15 on the year.
132: Mansfield Senior’s Josh Lyons was another strong candidate for a podium finish at the state meet. The senior was 44-3 on the season and finished second at the Norwalk district meet to projected state podium finisher Payton Burgdorf of Firelands. Lyons won a sectional title at Clyde and also won a championship at the J.C. Gorman Invitational.
138: Shelby’s Trace Thomas qualified for the Norwalk district after placing fourth at the Clyde sectional. The junior was 1-2 at Norwalk, finishing with a 32-11 record.
145: Ontario senior Colton Turnbaugh earned his third straight state tournament berth with a fourth-place finish at the Norwalk district. Turnbaugh was a runner-up at the Clyde sectional tournament and finished the season at 30-12.
152: Mapleton’s Jeremy Tracy was another of the area’s potential state podium finishers. The senior was 46-4 on the season and won championships at the Northwestern sectional and the Garfield Heights district, beating highly-regarded Nick Skye 10-6 in the finals.
160: Madison’s Nate Barrett was arguably the hottest area wrestler headed to Columbus with the exception of Wrestler of the Year Caden Hill of Crestview. A junior, Barrett was 30-4 and was coming off a district title at Norwalk. He hadn’t lost since the semifinals of the J.C. Gorman Invitational.
170: Another talented junior, Madison’s Trenton Osborne would likely have found his way to the podium in Columbus. Osborne finished third at the Norwalk district, his loss coming to projected state champ Ethan Hernandez of Norwalk by a 3-1 score in the quarterfinals. Osborne finished the season at 45-6.
182: One of four state qualifiers for Ashland, Jakob Beverly capped a sensational postseason run with a runner-up finish at the Norwalk district. He fell to projected state runner-up Justin Mayes of Bellevue. A junior, Beverly was 41-6 on the season.
195: Ontario senior Cody Mies punched his ticket to the state meet with a runner-up finish at the Norwalk district. Mies fell to projected state champ game Phillips of Norwalk in the finals, finishing the season at 35-8.
220: Clear Fork’s Landon Smith won his first two matches at the Norwalk district meet before an injury cut his weekend short. The sophomore was 22-4 on the season and won a Clyde sectional title.
285: The Richland Source Wrestler of the Year, Crestview senior Caden Hill’s only loss of the season came in the ultra-competitive Walsh Ironman in December against a wrestler from Pennsylvania. He was all but untouchable after that, finishing with a 45-1 record.