Upper Arlington HS Wrestling – 2015-16 Season Recap
Alumni, Family, and Friends of Upper Arlington Wrestling:
The Upper Arlington High School Wrestling Program recently completed its 61st season at its annual banquet on March 10th.
The 2015-16 season was a challenging one for the Golden Grapplers. Team 61 lost two returning District qualifiers prior to the start of the season to injury and competed in a division of the Ohio Capital Conference that featured four of the top six teams in the District, including the District championship team, District runner-up team, and District 3rd place team. In addition, the OCC Central Division featured three schools that finished in the top 12 at the OHSAA Individual State Tournament, led by 3rd place Olentangy Liberty and 5th place Central Crossing.
Overall, the 2015-16 Golden Grapplers finished 8-10 in dual meets. Team 61 finished 5th at the Sectional Tournament and qualified seven individuals for the District Tournament. At the District Tournament, two Golden Grapplers placed in the top six in their respective weight classes. Senior Izak Wunderlich and sophomore Teddy Hill each finished 6th at 285 lbs. and 120 lbs., respectively.
At the banquet on March 10th, several honors were awarded. They included the following:
Seth Morley and Zach Harris collected the team’s Most Improved Wrestler Award. Morley, a sophomore, went 22-14 on the season, marking a 17 win improvement over the previous year. He finished 3rd at the Sectional Tournament and won a match at the District Tournament. At the Sectional, Morley pinned a wrestler who had pinned him during the regular season.
Harris, a junior who wrestled varsity at 138 lbs. was recognized for his tremendous improvement over the past year. Harris also won the award last season.
Gavin Shafer earned the 15th Man Award, given annually to the team member who contributes significantly to the success of the team but is not in the varsity line-up for a significant portion of the season, or at all. A freshman, Shafer did not wrestle varsity but was consistently viewed by the coaches and his team mates as one of the hardest workers in the practice room during the course of the season. He captured the championship at the Hilliard Bradley Junior Varsity tournament and finished 2nd at the Dublin Scioto Freshman All-State tournament at 120 lbs.
Izak Wunderlich collected the Holman Brothers’ Most Falls Award. A senior, Wunderlich scored falls in 18 of his 29 victories to claim the award, named after Scott and Rex Holman who rank first and second on the Upper Arlington career falls list with 78 and 66 falls, respectively. Scott Holman was a two-time state runner-up in 1984 and 1985 while Rex Holman was a two-time state champion in 1987 and 1988.
Mitch Herren won the Tim McClellan Outstanding Freshman Award, named after the program’s first freshman state qualifier in 1984. Herren won 25 matches at the varsity level despite weighing less than 100 lbs. for most of the season and wrestling in the 106 lb. weight class. During the regular season, he captured the 106 lb. championship at the Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational and was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament for his efforts. Herren won the Dublin Scioto Freshman All-State tournament at 98 lbs. and finished 4th at the Sectional Tournament at 106 lbs. in qualifying for the District Tournament.
Harper Nelson received the Robert Kelly Outstanding Team Member Award. A senior captain and two-time District qualifier, Nelson’s commitment, dedication, and unselfishness to team epitomized the criteria of the award given in honor of former team member Bob Kelly, who died tragically in an automobile accident in 1983. Nelson finished the season with a 27-14 mark and placed 4th at the Sectional at 113 lbs. He was a 2nd team Ohio Capital Conference Central Division selection at 113 lbs.
Zach Cartwright received the Blazek Brothers’ Sportsmanship Award. A senior captain and two-time letter winner, Cartwright earned the award given in honor of former Golden Grapplers Jay, Dave, Mark, and Scott Blazek to the team member who exemplifies outstanding sportsmanship toward his team mates, coaches, and opponents during the season. Cartwright went 17-16 on the season and finished 5th at the Sectional at 152 lbs.
Teddy Hill received the Drake Family Mental Toughness Award. A sophomore, Hill won 27 matches and finished 6th at the District at 120 lbs. in winning the award named in honor of Jeff and Kevin Drake, who are the only father and son to both place at the OHSAA State Championships in the 61 year history of Upper Arlington Wrestling. Jeff Drake was the OHSAA State Runner-up at 155 lbs. in 1980 while Kevin Drake finished 4th at the OHSAA State Championships in 2009 at 145 lbs. Both were known for their mental toughness, determination, and resiliency on the mat, and the Drake Family Mental Toughness Award is presented to the team member who demonstrates those characteristics consistently over the course of the season. At the District, Hill defeated two wrestlers who had beaten him the previous weekend at the Sectional Tournament.
Sophomore Dante Landolfi won the Most Wins Award with 30 victories. Landolfi captured the championship at the Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational and finished 2nd at the All North Tournament during the regular season. He finished 3rd at the Sectional and was 2-2 at the District Tournament at 195 lbs. In addition, Landolfi was a 2nd team Ohio Capital Conference Central Division selection at 195 lbs.
Based on a vote of the team, Wunderlich won the Dick Fryman Most Valuable Wrestler Award, which is named after former Upper Arlington Head Coach Dick Fryman, whose teams captured seven league, two Sectional, and two District team championships while compiling a remarkable dual meet record of 49-6-1 from 1965-72. Wunderlich was the Sectional Runner-up and finished 6th at the District Tournament at 285 lbs. During the regular season, he claimed championships at the Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational and All North Tournament, and finished 2nd at the prestigious Medina Invitational Tournament, beating two eventual state champions en route to the championship match. With a 3.90 GPA, Wunderlich was also the team’s Ohio Capital Conference Scholar Athlete designee. He finishes his career as a three-time District qualifier with 89 total victories.
Special guests in attendance to present awards included 1982 OHSAA State Quarterfinalist Jay Blazek, 1980 OHSAA State Runner-up Jeff Drake, 2009 OHSAA State Placer Kevin Drake, and two-time OHSAA State Champion and NCAA Champion Rex Holman.
Junior Slade Morley, and sophomores Teddy Hill and Dante Landolfi were announced as captains for the 2016-17 season.
The program returns seven District qualifiers to set the stage for a successful 2016-17 season. Your support of this effort is critical. In the coming months, look for information on how you can help the program as we continue the return of Upper Arlington Wrestling to the top in Central Ohio.
Head Wrestling Coach, Upper Arlington High School
353 days until the 2017 OHSAA State Tournament
Preparedness is the key to success and victory.
-Douglas MacArthur, U.S. Military General