LIMA — Winning a state title is something most athletes can only dream about.
However, for some local wrestlers, winning a state title isn’t that far out of reach.
Ottawa-Glandorf senior Daniel Beemer had a state title in his sights last season, but was derailed in the state semifinals and ended up finishing fourth in the 195-pound weight class in Division III.
The year before, Beemer placed fifth in the 182-pound weight class.
Beemer (37-0) wants to compete for a Division III state title in the 182-pound weight class this weekend at the Jerome Schottenstein Center at Ohio State.
The wrestling state tournament begins Thursday and runs through Saturday.
“My mission is to hopefully finish on top of that (awards) podium,” Beemer said.
“My sophomore year, I had to get a feel for things. I started to get more experience my junior year. I’m hoping with this being my senior year that I can compete to the best of my ability with my two other teammates that are coming down.”
Beemer realized after last season, that dropping down to the 182-pound weight class would be advantageous. Last year, Beemer’s weight was usually under 190 pounds.
“I can tell the difference,” Beemer said about the lower weight class. “I worked a lot harder to lose the weight at practices throughout the week. So, from a conditioning and strength standpoint, it’s definitely helped me to keep pushing toward my goal.”
Lima Central Catholic junior Joey Caprella is making his first trip to the state tournament. Last season, Caprella finished fifth at districts and was a state alternate. The top four placers at districts advance to the state tournament.
However, Caprella (40-0) is not content on just competing at Columbus.
“If I keep doing what I’ve been doing all year, I’m going to win my matches,” Caprella said. “I feel right now that there is nobody who can beat me. You got to believe you can do it.”
All season long, Caprella (145-pound weight class, Division III) has steamrolled the competition with his relentless, aggressive style of wrestling.
Caprella credits the work ethic that LCC coach Nick Sanchez has instilled into his program.
“That’s when we wrestle our best — when we’re tired,” Caprella said. ““The third period is when it happens.”
1. Will O-G’s Beemer finally notch a state title in his final trip to Columbus?
2. Will LCC junior Joey Caprella keep it rolling, and win a state title in his first trip to the state tournament?
3. How will Lima Senior’s Naeem Russell (Jr., 152) fare in his first appearance at the state tournament? Last year, Russell (39-3) suffered a season-ending injury, and missed the second half of the season.
4. Bath senior Collin Mell (38-3, 145) will be making a return trip to the state tournament in Division II. Mell has some big wins this season and could make a run to the finals.
5. Ada senior Chase Sumner (32-3, 145), a two-time state-placer, will try to make a run to the state finals, in what will be a very competitive weight class.
6. Bluffton junior Deandre Nassar (38-1, 195) is no stranger to the state tournament. Nassar, a state-qualifier from a year ago, has dominated the opposition this season.
7. Wapakoneta sends a trio to Columbus. Senior Zac Miller (23-2, 195), sophomore Evan Kaeck (42-5, 220) and junior Brenan Knueve (40-7, 285) will all compete for spots on the podium.
8. How will Allen East’s four athletes fare at the state tournament? Lucas Freeman (37-13, 138) is the lone senior for the Mustangs. Freshman Drake Carmean (36-5, 120), sophomore Chase Caprella (38-2, 113) and sophomore Garrett Neth (43-7, 182) will join Freeman in Columbus.
9. Will St. Paris Graham – which is sending 13 athletes (out of 14 weight classes) to the state tournament – continue to dominate? Graham has been the Division II state champion since 2001.
10. Will Division I Lakewood St. Edward notch its 32nd overall state title? St. Edward has won the state title the past three years.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.