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Solon wrestlers add to the school’s state tournament history

Freshman Carmello Kolb (left) and Junior Adom Sharpley (right)
Photo ccourtesy of Jayne Klein. Original photo can be found on
Freshman Carmello Kolb (left) and Junior Adom Sharpley (right) Photo ccourtesy of Jayne Klein. Original photo can be found on

Division 1 high school wrestling is very demanding, especially if someone has the desire to qualify for the state tournament. Ohio is a difficult state tournament due to its long history as a great wrestling state, in 2017 having the most nationally ranked wrestlers in the country according to SHS has a long successful history in the wrestling state tournament, starting with the first champion Dennis Meggysey, a heavyweight in 1963, to the most recent of Brandon Thompson at 120 & Anthony Collica at 152 in 2013. The wrestlers are divided up into fourteen weight classes, ranging from 106 pounds to heavyweight which starts at 216 pounds.

This year, there were 177 wrestlers at the 106 pound weight class in Ohio according to the ranking site Freshman Carmello Kolb was one of 16 to make it to the state tournament, representing only 9% of all 106 pound wrestlers in division 1. Adom Sharpley, a junior, was one of 16 wrestlers at 120 pounds to make it to the state tournament out of Ohio’s 222. He is among the top 7% of division 1 wrestlers at his weight to qualify.

Much work goes into preparing for the season, as getting to states is no easy feat. They both had things that helped them succeed this season.

“Most importantly was putting in offseason work, good positioning and defense,” said Sharpley.

Kolb said he feels a similar way, putting in the good work was important to him.

“Honestly just working hard, like the guys around me and my coaches, just like taking four years off of wrestling really pulled me back a little bit, like I was a freshman who wasn’t a hold back, so just like all the training and hard work I did,” Kolb said.

Just qualifying can be a momentous achievement for a wrestler. Sharpley being an alternate for states two years in a row, being so close and finally making it, said it felt like a relief to him. Kolb , a true freshman, has a similar view, he said it feels good to put in the work and have it pay off.

“Feels good, y’know, put some hard work in, I took four years off so came back and just did what I do best,” Kolb said

Head coach Mike Thompson has a similar feeling. Across the 46 former state place winners he has coached. This season being special due to his recently announced retirement.

“It was bittersweet, one of my last years, and I didn’t want to go down with no qualifiers, so it meant a lot.” Thompson said. “They [the state qualifiers] are all different, exciting, in different ways. Being my last year, it felt good–special getting two guys down after not having any last year.”

The wrestlers prepared slightly differently before states than they did throughout the rest of the season– they did a lot of intense drilling, getting their best stuff committed to memory.

“We didn’t learn new stuff, I drilled my best stuff over and over,” Sharpley said.

They also opted to not wrestle live to stave off injury.

“We took it really hard, we did very intense drilling, really no live,” Kolb said.

In the end, the work they put in could land neither Kolb nor Sharpley on the podium.

“Well of course if I don’t win it I’m not too happy with my results, but I did the best I could,” Kolb said. “I wanted to place, but it just didn’t happen.”

Thompson said he feels a similar way.

“I think Mello was right there, finished where he should have… Since it was their first time down, never seeing it before, played a role in their performance,” Thompson said.

Despite their final results, the entire team is proud of how far they went this year. Freshman wrestler Hank Wagner went down to Columbus to watch the two and had this to say.

“Always room for improvement, they both worked hard to get there, and were both only one match away from placing, so it’s a pretty big deal, but always room for improvement,” said Wagner, when asked about his teammates performances.

Both wrestlers will be returning to the team next year, Kolb as a sophomore and Sharpley as a senior. Their qualifying this year further motivates teammates, such as Wagner.

“It was definitely motivating, ” Wagner said. “Seeing all the high level wrestling motivates me to be one of the guys that makes it next year with Carmello and Adom.”

Until then they will be putting in the work, preparing for the next season of competition and hopefully another trip to the state tournament.

“I want to be more aggressive next time, if I had been I could have absolutely placed,” Sharpley said

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    Donna O KolbMay 22, 2024 at 6:15 pm

    Hats off to Carmello and Adom. I know for a fact that these two young men are 1000% committed to winning, conditioning, and sacrificing to get to this level of accomplishment. Each earned their right to the State Competition. They were winners by virtue of having qualified to achieve that honor. Both Carmello and Adom are true team players and would have done anything to support other team members to qualify. Next year, I am certain that Hank Wagner will be in Columbus next year and we know he fought a good fight towards realizing his dream to make State. Hank being there to support his team mates speaks volume to his character as an athlete. So to the Solon Wrestlers, both who achieved State and those whom did not, Your affirmation is to envision your 2025 State win!!! And Thank you to Coach Mike Thompson, may your retirement be all you want it to be. I am glad that Carmello and Adom helped make the end a good beginning!! Carmello’s Grandma