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Warren’s Snyder claims back-to-back state titles

Warren’s Hayley Snyder celebrates her first-place finsh in the 101 lbs. weight class at the second annual Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association girls state championship in Hilliard. (Photo Provided)

HILLIARD, Ohio — History was made on Saturday in Hilliard, as Warren’s Hayley Snyder claimed her second consecutive Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association girls state wrestling championship. This year’s event ended like last year’s did for the 101-pounder, by defeating Elyrias’s Riley Banyas to take home the win in her division. It’s all a part of the plan for second-year head coach Jeff Parsons, as he wants to use Snyder’s success to help build the female portion of his program. As for Snyder herself, she wants to seize this opportunity and use it as a springboard for bigger and better things in the future. This was only the second annual girls state wrestling tournament, and she wants top stay at the top for as long as she can.

“It feels really good,” the sophomore said of her triumph. “I’m really proud of myself. I knew some things that (Banyas) was going to do and that I needed to watch out for. I want to be a four-time state champ.”

That last sentence from Snyder speaks volumes of her own expectations, and the desire to become a decorated grappler is what fuels her. Snyder ran through the district tournament, as she capped off the semifinal and championship matches with a pair of falls to win that tournament, last Monday.

It was the same story with different matches in Hilliard, as Snyder won all four of her matches, handily. A winning pin in 2:24 over Tinora’s Heidy Monnin kicked off her quest for the repeat. Taylor’s Isabella Savage was the next to be downed, as Snyder made short work of her in 33 seconds via pin. Bellefontaine’s Makayla Young was outmatched during Snyder’s 7-0 victory by decision in the semifinal round. That set the stage for the championship rematch, in which Snyder closed the door on any potential upset with a 3-0 win by decision.

Parsons sees this as a chance for Snyder to continue her winning ways. He also saw his girls’ roster expand from a year ago, as freshman Kylee Tait qualified at 137 en route to a sixth-place finish. Senior Karlee Duffey joined the fold after keeping stats for the team in previous seasons. Her showing at the regional tournament made her at state qualifier at 131. It’s a key scenario for the WHS head man, as he looks to further this team’s transformation for years to come. That started with Snyder.

“Wrestling the boys’ varsity schedule helped build (Snyder’s) confidence,” Parsons said. “Once she got to wrestle other female competitors, it was a whole different ballgame. After she won last year’s state title, we named her one of our team captains, and that kind of brought her out of her shyness shell, a little bit. She’s becoming a leader on the team and embracing that role.

Her technique gets better, every year. She adapts to the situation. She lifted and got stronger, so this year, she’s doing more tilts and armbars. That throws people off, because a lot of people tend to wrestle the same way, throughout their careers. She is evolving and changing her styles up, as she grows and gets stronger.”

Snyder’s trailblazing path wasn’t paved by herself, and she credits the help she gets from her dad and plenty of the other wrestlers around her. She talked about what she would say to any other girls who would want to try their hands at wrestling at the high school level.

“I’d tell them to give it a try and that they can do it, also,” Snyder said.

Additionally, the contributions of Tait and Duffey are other pieces to the puzzle for Parsons to build a deeper roster. He spoke about what they accomplished and what he hopes for the future.

“We took three girls to the state tournament. We took Hayley, Kylee Tait and Karlee Duffey,” he said. Kylee came in as a freshman and qualified. She placed sixth. Karlee was our statistician for five years, and then she wanted to give it a try. She traded in her pencil for a singlet, as they say. She qualified for the state tournament, despite never wrestling before. Hayley and Kylee both got her ready for the tournament. She went up there and won a match, so that was impressive, also.”

The duo of Snyder and Tait will return for next season, as they build toward a brighter future in the Warren wrestling room.

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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