Seven Napoleon wrestlers have advanced to the Division II District Championships and are “one good weekend” away from advancing to the state tournament.
Senior Caleb Hernandez (113 pounds) is attempting to make his third state meet. Hernandez would be only the second wrestler in school history to reach the state meet three times.
Seth Beard, who won a state title in 2016, qualified for the state meet all four years.
“Caleb is on the verge of doing something very special,” said Napoleon wrestling coach Jason Seiler. “To be the second wrestler in school history to make it to state three times, that is pretty special.
“I expect him to continue to do what he has been doing,” added Seiler. “If he wrestles to his capability, he is going to do something special this weekend.”
Hernandez (40-6) faces Gavin Yu (9-10) of Maumee in the opening round. He has a potential second-round match against No. 1 seed Eddie Pinc (31-9) of Buckeye.
Meanwhile senior Zane Hull (126 pounds) and junior Wesley Jeffries-Babcock (195 pounds) are looking for their first trip to the state meet.
Hull (36-10) faces Caiden Walters (24-18) of Bellevue in the first round with a potential match against top seed Josh Lyons (29-6) of Mansfield Senior in the second round.
Jeffries-Babcock (26-7) takes on Michael Eisenhower (20-18) of Tiffin Columbian in the opening round. He could face Terion Stewart (24-9) of Sandusky, a No. 1 seed, in the second round.
“Zane was really close last year and he has put together a great senior season,” said Seiler. “He has a tough road, but he is very capable. If he wrestles to his capabilities, there is an opportunity for him to find himself wrestling down in Columbus.
“Wes has had a big year also,” added Seiler. “It would be nice to see him rewarded with a trip to Columbus.”
Also advancing to the Division II district meet for the Wildcats are Tyler Bostelman (145), Lane Crossland (152), Austin Valdez (160) and Demitrius Hernandez (220).
Bostelman (22-11) opens against Matthew Stauffer (25-5) of Benedictine, while Crossland (23-18) faces Brock Minnick (24-18) of Tiffin Columbian in the first round.
Valedez (5-10) takes on top seed Ethan Hernandez (46-3) of Norwalk and Demitrius Hernandez (25-16) also faces a No. 1 seed in the first round, taking on Klevin Mici (37-5) of Bay Village Bay.
“The biggest thing for us is, other than Caleb and Zane, none of these guys have any idea about what district wrestling is about,” said Seiler. “They are not going to know what to expect, especially when it comes to those go-to state matches.
“Our guys are not just happy to be there,” added Seiler. “We know this is good experience for the future, but at the same time every one of the guys knows that someone not expected to go on has one good weekend and moves on. They know it could be them.”
Wauseon, which won the sectional title at Napoleon last weekend, has 10 wrestlers at the district meet.
The Indians had five sectional champions, as Damon Molina (106), Gavin Ritter (120), Nolan Ray (126), Xavier Torres (170) and Aaron Harris (220) each won their respective weight classes.
Also advancing to the district tournament for Wauseon were Spencer Martinez (third, 113), Connor Twigg (third, 132), Ethan Glover (third, 152), Drew Krall (fourth, 195) and Samuel Sosa (third, 285).
The Division II district tournament begins Friday at 4 p.m. at Norwalk High School. The first two championship rounds will be competed, along with one round of consolation matches that first day. The meet concludes Saturday, with wrestling beginning at 9:30 a.m. Finals are tentatively set for 3 p.m.