(Posted Feb. 18, 2019)
By Pat Donahue, Staff Photographer
London High School’s wrestling team competed in the 7th Annual Ohio High School Athletic Association state wrestling dual team tournament on Feb. 10 at St. John Arena in Columbus.
London wrestlers have qualified for individual competition at the state level in past years, but this is the first time the program has qualified for the team competition. The Red Raiders made it to the team contest by winning their Div. II regional tournament on Feb. 2; in the final round, they beat Miami Trace, who made it to the state tournament the previous two years
At the state competition, the top eight teams in each of three divisions took to the mats. London faced the top seed, wrestling powerhouse St. Paris Graham, who had taken home top honors in the previous six state team tourneys.
London battled in all 14 weight classes with highlights coming in the way of wins by 170-pound junior Darian Huff, who beat Graham sophomore Eric Thomas 5-4, and 145-pound freshman Antwaun Burns who claimed a technical fall with a 21-6 victory over Graham sophomore Jack Mefford.
Graham took the win over London 62-8 and went on to beat Sandusky Perkins 58-13 in the semi-finals and Aurora 38-24 in the finals to claim their seventh state dual title.
After the match, London Coach Richard Burns called the tournament an “awesome experience.” He praised his team for putting in the training and hard work necessary to make to the state stage.
About competing against Graham, Burns said, “To be your best, you have to face the best.”
Burns said he is extremely proud of his wrestlers and looks forward to the chance that some of them will qualify for the state individual tournament in March.