Alumni, Family, and Friends of Upper Arlington Wrestling:
The Upper Arlington High School Wrestling Program recently completed its 62nd season at its annual banquet on March 23rd.
The 2016-17 season was one of the most successful campaigns for the Golden Grapplers in the past 30 years. Team 62 captured two tournament championships and finished second in two other events during the season, including the Sectional Tournament where they were edged out by Olentangy Orange by only four points. The 2016-17 Golden Grapplers advanced to the OHSAA State Dual meet tournament Regional semifinals and finished 15-5 overall in dual meets. Their 15 dual meet victories marked the most for the program since 1982.
Team 62 qualified 12 individuals for the Central District Tournament – the highest number in Upper Arlington Wrestling history. At the District Tournament, two Golden Grapplers placed in the top six in their respective weight classes. Junior Garegin Soghomonyan and freshman Jesse Bowers each finished 6th at 170 lbs. and 120 lbs. respectively.
At the banquet on March 23rd, several honors were awarded. They included the following:
Sebastian Chambers collected the team’s Most Improved Wrestler Award. Chambers, a sophomore, earned his first varsity letter in limited action for the Golden Grapplers and was recognized for his tremendous improvement over the past year.
Tyler Imhoff 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 sophomore, Imhoff did not wrestle varsity but helped individual Sectional champions Slade Morley and Alex Botello, and individual Sectional runner-up Dante Landolfi as a practice partner on a daily basis. He finished 2nd at the Hilliard Bradley Junior Varsity tournament at 220 lbs.
Slade Morley collected the Holman Brothers’ Most Falls Award. A senior, Morley scored falls in 23 of his 36 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. Morley also won the award as a sophomore when he scored 21 falls.
Jesse Bowers won the Tim McClellan Outstanding Freshman Award, named after the program’s first freshman state qualifier in 1984. Bowers had 30 wins wrestling at 113 lbs., tying the UAHS single season wins record for a freshman, and became the first freshman for UAHS to wrestle in the “go-to” match at the District for the State tournament since 1987. Bowers finished 3rd at the Sectional and 6th at the District.
Zach Harris received the Robert Kelly Outstanding Team Member Award. A senior and District qualifier, Harris’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. Harris finished the season with 17 wins and placed 3rd at the Sectional at 138 lbs.
Alex Botello received the Blazek Brothers’ Sportsmanship Award. A senior, Botello 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. Botello went 21-13 on the season in his first season as a varsity starter and won the Sectional championship at 285 lbs.
Mark Trifelos received the Drake Family Mental Toughness Award. A junior, Trifelos won 28 matches and finished 3rd at the Sectional at 152 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 62 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.
Senior captain Slade Morley and junior captain Dante Landolfi each collected the Most Wins Award with 36 victories each. Morley captured championships at the Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational, Kettering Fairmont Firebird Classic, and the Sectional at 220 lbs. Landolfi also captured the championship at the Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational and Kettering Fairmont Firebird Classic, and finished 2nd at the Sectional at 195. Both Morley and Landolfi were first team Ohio Capital Conference Central Division selections at their respective weight classes.
Based on a vote of the team, Morley and Landolfi also each 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.
Special guests in attendance to present awards included 1982 OHSAA State Quarterfinalist Jay Blazek, 1980 OHSAA State Runner-up Jeff Drake, and 2009 OHSAA State Placer Kevin Drake.
Seniors Teddy Hill, Dante Landolfi, and Mark Trifelos were announced as captains for the 2017-18 season.
The program returns 11 District qualifiers to set the stage for a successful 2017-18 season. Your support of this effort is critical. In the coming weeks, 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
349 days until the 2018 OHSAA State Tournament
Preparedness is the key to success and victory. -Douglas MacArthur, U.S. Military General