As new wrestlers and wrestling parents, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and unsure of what is going on inside and outside of the practice room. This page is designed to be a resource for our wrestling family to be as informed as possible.
What is State?
At the High School level, as most know, there is a State Tournament. Every OHSAA school with a wrestling program belongs to a Sectional Tournament in their geography. The top 4 placers at the Sectional Tournament advance to the District Tournament. Avon Lake belongs to the Midview Sectional, which is part of the Perrysburg District. The top 4 placers at Districts then advance to State, where the top wrestlers in the State wrestle for a place on the podium. This is relatively straightforward at the HS level, but when looking at Youth and Middle School, things start to get complicated.
In Ohio youth wrestling, there is not a single governing body that all teams belong to. There are several. Some have a state tournament, some a league championship tournament, some are simply a series of open tournaments (open, meaning anyone can enter). Some communities have their own teams. Some grade schools have their own teams. And some belong to a wrestling club. Some club wrestlers may compete for a community team and are supplementing their training at the club.
The Sunday Duals that many wrestlers participate in are typically within a League. In Northeast Ohio, Buckeye Wrestling League (aka, OeYWL) and Ohio Youth Wrestling Association (OYWA) are the 2 main leagues. Avon Lake is a member of the OYWA, which has a Sectional, District and State Tournament. These leagues most closely mirror the structure of the High School State in that they have regular season duals and then the season is completed with tournaments to crown champions.
Ohio Athletic Committee (OAC) is another governing body that holds many tournaments throughout the State. OAC holds the most competitive and most complete State Tournament for youth and middle school wrestlers in Ohio. As the other leagues only reflect Champions vs other wrestlers within that specific league, the OAC is where the “ultimate” State Champions compete. OAC holds many District Tournaments throughout the State covering several months to give opportunities to Qualify for State. Any wrestlers can compete at any District and are divided by age division and weight. If a wrestler places in the top 4 at a District, they qualify to compete at the OAC State Tournament in Youngstown in March. If a wrestler does not place in the top 4 to be a State Qualifier, they are allowed to make additional attempts to place in the top 4 by signing up at another District Tournament. There are 8 Districts feeding 32 wrestlers per weight class to State.
The OAC Jr High State Tournament does not have Sectional Tournaments to qualify for Districts and only holds 2 weekends of Districts. Many JH wrestlers wrestle for an OHSAA school team and so would be unable to compete at Sectional Tournaments. For that reason, the District Tournaments are the only opportunity for wrestlers to get to State. It makes for very competitive, big brackets at the JH District Tournaments, so they take the top 6 placers. There are a total of 8 JH Districts and are 48 wrestlers at the State Tournament in a bracket.
Competing at OAC is certainly something to consider for all of our wrestlers. The divisions are broken up by age in 2 year increments, so you would never be wrestling someone more than a year older than you. The OAC Tournaments are good to compete in to recognize the higher levels of wrestling that are out there. We wrestle in our leagues, which are competitive, but the best wrestlers in Ohio are at OAC and it is good to recognize how much work it takes to compete at a higher level. That said, if your wrestlers are still learning, there is nothing wrong with holding off until you are ready.