HARRISON, Ohio -- Wrestlers from all over the Cincinnati area will hit the mats at the 2016 Southwest Ohio Wrestling Coaches’ Association Glenn Sample Holiday Classic this weekend at Harrison High School. Many of the region’s best will begin to get a sense of where they stand in their weight classes this season.
Wrestling will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and run through Sunday evening’s finals matches at the premier regular-season event in southwest Ohio.
“The Coaches Classic is important because it is a measuring stick for where you are against many of the best kids in the area,” Fairfield coach Jason Laflin said. “The classic is very similar to a district tournament. Wrestlers will know who they need to catch up to and who is catching up to them.”
Fairfield won the event in 2015 for the first time since 2000 and will be among the top teams attending this year. La Salle, the 2015 team runner-up at the Classic, will also be there with its top wrestlers, along with Moeller, Elder, host Harrison, Northern Kentucky power Walton-Verona and others.
They’ll all be interested in how their wrestlers measure up in a gauntlet of a two-day event. Wrestling typically runs through about 10 p.m. on Saturday and resumes Sunday afternoon for championship semifinals and then the finals in the evening.
“As a coach, it’s an early measuring stick to see where your team stands in the city and how your individuals stack up against the area’s best,” Elder coach Jason Roush said. “It’s a tournament that has a lot of tradition and I think it’s something that coaches, wrestlers, and fans look forward to each year.
“The guys wrestling for titles this weekend are typically the same guys wrestling for state qualification and placement in two months.”
Fairfield junior Zach Shupp (106) and senior Andrew Sams (152) won Classic titles last season. Each later won a district title and placed sixth at state in their weight classes. La Salle senior Corey Shie won at the Classic in 2015 at 132 pounds and later won his third straight district title and placed third at state. La Salle senior Eric Beck won last season at 138 and placed seventh later at state.
Moeller sophomore Jordan Ward and Elder sophomores Austin Murphy and Ti'Ric Evans are also returning individual champs from the 2015 Classic.
“It just gives our kids a chance to test the waters and see where they’re at and measure themselves against some of the best kids who compete in Ohio,” Walton-Verona coach John Roth said.
Walton-Verona crosses the Ohio River for the fierce competition and the Bearcats have had their share of success at the Classic. Junior Ryan Moore won the title at 120 in 2015 and will wrestle at 126 this season. Junior Mason Smith was the 145-pound champion last year and will compete at 126 this year. John Roth’s son, Blake Roth, was fourth at 113 last season and will return at 120 this year.
“Being this close and being where we can go up north and wrestle the Cincinnati-area teams and being close to Dayton and Columbus, it just gives our kids a chance to test the waters and see where they’re at and measure themselves against some of the best kids who compete in Ohio,” Roth said.
Harrison is hosting the event for the sixth straight year, but the Southwest Ohio Wrestling Coaches’ Association runs the tournament.
“I also enjoy the Classic because it showcases many of our best wrestlers, coaches, and programs in the Cincinnati area,” Laflin said. “Many coaches and wrestlers have worked hard to represent their schools, communities, and program in a positive manner.”