Three La Salle Wrestlers Win State Championships

03/10/2019

Posted on 3/10/2019 at 6:17 p.m.

Byrd, Norris, Sizemore Help Lancers Cap Historic Season At State

In what had already been an historic wrestling season for La Salle, three Lancers earned individual state championships at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Individual Wrestling State Tournament that concluded Saturday night at the Jerome C. Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University in Columbus.  As a result, La Salle scored the most points by a second-place team across all divisions to finish behind only national high school wrestling power Lakewood St. Edward, 194.5 to 186.5, in the final Division I team standings.

St. Edward won the team title for the fifth straight year, the eighth year in the past nine and 21st year in the last 23.  St. Edward also edged La Salle, 29-28, last month to claim the OHSAA DI Team Wrestling State Tournament, also held in Columbus.

The Northeast Ohio power had four state championships and seven wrestlers reach championship matches in their respective weight classes, the most by an school in the tournament.  La Salle, though, was not far behind as five Lancers earned their way to state finals – and three were victorious. In the end, La Salle had all 11 of its state qualifiers place.  Here is a brief look at La Salle’s state champions:

Dustin Norris (113 pounds) – A state runner-up at 106 last season, narrowly missing winning state as a freshman, Norris edged Logan Agin of Lancaster, 3-2, in the final to become the Lancers’ first state champion of the day and third in school history at the time – joining Neal Neyer back in 1976 and Lucas Byrd, his Lancer teammate who was the defending state champ in this weight class.

Lucas Byrd (120) – Byrd became the school’s first two-time state champion, winning this weight class with an 8-1 decision over Jake Canitano of St. Edward in the final.  Byrd capped an amazing career that included more than 150 victories to go along with a third-place finish at 106 pounds as a sophomore and a seventh-place effort at state the previous year at 106, as a freshman.  Byrd plans to wrestle at the University of Maryland beginning this fall.

Trey Sizemore (182) – After finishing seventh at state last year at 160, Sizemore moved up two weight classes and earned the Lancers’ third state title of the day with a 7-1 victory against Ben Vanadia of Brecksville-Broadview Heights in the final.  Sizemore, who ends his varsity career with more than 100 wins, will wrestle at Brown University next season.

La Salle also had a pair of state runners-up in freshman Jake Niffenegger at 138 and senior Michael Baker at 195.  Niffenegger lost to St. Edward’s Bryce Hepner in the 138 final, 7-2, while Baker was beaten by Seth Shumate of Dublin Coffman, 11-3, at 195.   Here are La Salle’s state placers:  Cole Skinner, third  at 106; Antoine Allen, fifth at 126; Casey Wiles, fourth at 132; Darnai Heard, seventh at 145; E’lan Heard, fourth at 152; and Robert Brown, sixth at 285.

Moeller senior Jordan Ward also finished second, falling to Mick Burnett of Elyria, 2-1, in the 132 final.  Ward has signed to wrestle at the University of North Carolina.

La Salle has had a season worth of highlights for its wrestling program – including a dual meet win against St. Edward, 35-27, before a huge crowd at La Salle back in December.  The Lancers won their first Greater Catholic League South Division championship since 1975, defeating Elder in the title match, and then became the first school from Southwest Ohio to finish as runner-up in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Team Wrestling State Tournament.

The Lancers recently won eight individual district titles to finish with a tournament-best 273.5 points and win the district crown, , qualifying 11 wrestlers for state in the process.  La Salle wrestlers who won district titles were:  Skinner (106 pounds); Norris (113); Byrd (120): Allen (126); Niffenegger (138); E’lan Heard (152); Sizemore (182); and Baker (195).