Warren wrestling: Peyten Kellar earns All-Ohio, Jim Rhodes steps down as head coach

Courtesy photo Warren’s Peyten Kellar, left, has his hand raised by an official after a victory at the state wrestling tournament Saturday in Columbus. Kellar placed seventh in the 126-pound weight class to earn All-Ohio honors.

COLUMBUS — Peyten Kellar earned All-Ohio Division II status on the mat for the second straight year at last weekend’s Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.

The Warren High sophomore wrestler pinned Jack Gorman of Aurora early in the second period (2:32) of the seventh place 126-pound finals to achieve the honor.

Overall, Kellar posted a 3-2 record at state and finished the season 48-5. Last year as a freshman grappler, he was All-Ohio with a fifth-place finish in the 106-pound weight division.

“Peyten was very disappointed in himself,” said WHS head coach Jim Rhodes. “He thought he could have wrestled better. Maybe, stress got to him.”

Going into state, Kellar was the top-ranked Ohio D2 wrestler in the 126 pound weight class. He was hoping to join Heath Eddleblutte (189 pounds, 1989) and May McCoy (125, 1990) as the only Warriors to claim state individual crowns.

Kellar got off to a good start in the championship pre-lims when he flattened Tyler Woods of Franklin at the 1:02 mark of the opening period.

But then the Warren standout stumbled in the championship quarterfinals, dropping an 8-6 sudden victory overtime decision to Davin Rhoads of Louisville. Rhoads later went on to stand at the top of the podium when he decisioned Cole McComas of Lisbon Beaver, 3-2, in the finals.

Kellar bounced back in consolation round two with a 6-2 triumph over Chris Kelly of St. Paris Graham Local.

But in the consolation quarterfinals, he suffered a 5-4 loss to Conor McCrone of Mentor Lake Catholic.

“His head was not in the match,” Rhodes said.

Kellar then redeemed himself in the seventh place finals.

“The two who beat Peyten at state were not as good of wrestlers as him,” Rhodes said. “They were just stronger and made it hard for him to finish.”

Rhodes paused.

“Peyten says he needs to hit the weight room,” the coach continued. “His skills are outstanding, and if he gets the strength to go with it, he will be at the top of the podium.”

When and if that happens, the 64-year-old Rhodes (He has a birthday next month.) will not be the Warren head wrestling coach as he has announced his “retirement.”

“I am re-retiring, contingent on Scott (Rhodes) or Jeff (Parsons) taking over,” Jim Rhodes said. “Scott has 18 years and Jeff 23, so there are not any other two people more qualified — and they are both wrestling alumni.

“The team would be in good hands for years to come.”

Rhodes was in the Warren wrestling program, either as the boss or an assistant, for 30 years.

“26 years with Marty (Santini) and four of my own is plenty,” Rhodes said. “I told the school I would give them four years.

“Almost half my life in wrestling. Don’t know if that’s good or bad.”

Rhodes also was a class number one wrestling official for 15 years, and spent 34 years in football from pee wee to varsity.

“I got a very good wife to let me do this for so long,” he said. “Maybe she should be nominated for sainthood because she put up with me.”

Over in Noble County, Alex Overly (106 pounds), Dalton Rice (220), and Easton Hitchens (295) of Shenandoah and Marshal Niswonger (113) and Collin Wiley (132) of Caldwell all bowed out in D3 state wrestling action.

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