COLUMBUS — East Clinton’s first-ever state wrestling placer beat everyone he faced in Columbus except one.
Antwerp’s Aidan McAlexander had Wyatt Riddle’s number, at least this weekend.
After winning his consolation semifinal bout in sudden victory Saturday morning, Riddle would be face-to-face again with McAlexander, who had sent him to the consolation bracket on Friday.
McAlexander would defeat Riddle for a second time, 8-1, in the 106-pound third-place match Saturday at the 81st OHSAA state wrestling championships at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.
“I didn’t wrestle my best,” Riddle said. “I think he had strength on me more than anything. But, that will change next year.”
Both Riddle and his coach, Doug Stehlin, are confident they’ll be making more return trips to Columbus.
“It was a tough loss for Wyatt personally,” Stehlin said. “But he’s going to learn from this and be back next year. He’ll be better next year.”
Nevertheless, East Clinton’s first sectional and district wrestling champion became the school’s first state placer with a fourth-place finish.
“We’re really proud of him,” Stehlin said. “He’s done a lot of great things on and off the mat this year with the team.
Riddle, who had to sit out the first half of the season after transferring from Xenia’s Legacy Christian, credited his new teammates and coaches for helping him through the season.
“Everybody at East Clinton, all the coaches and everything, they were all a big help,” Riddle said. “With switching schools and getting back into the swing of things, they didn’t mind doing whatever I needed to help me be here.”
For a wrestling program still in its early years, East Clinton wrestling received a huge boost to an already growing program bringing in a returning state placer.
“To have a kid come to our school like that, it’s huge for the program,” Stehlin said. “We’ve gotten better each year. Now we’ve got someone to look at that has the experience. You can use him as a model.”
The last Clinton County wrestler to place fourth in the state was Clinton-Massie’s Davey Tunon. He finished fourth in the 152-pound weight class in Division II in 2016.
March 10, 2018
81st OHSAA State Wrestling Championships
@ Jerome Schottenstein Center, Ohio State University
160: Isaac Allen (Wilmington) was dec. by Wesley Pauley (McConnelsville Morgan) 9-3; dec. Nick Jackson (Bowling Green) 5-2, was dec. by Justin Mayes (Bellevue) 8-6. Did not place.
285: Conner Barton (Wilmington) was dec. by Lyle Clark (Uhrichsville Claymont) 6-3; was pinned by Alex Leasure (Alliance) 2:58. Did not place.
103: Wyatt Riddle (East Clinton) pin Alex Overly (Sarahsville Shenandoah) 4:41; was dec. by Aidan McAlexander (Antwerp) 16-6; dec. Wilber Compress (Reading) 1-0; dec. Zack Mattin (Delta) 2-1; dec. Kellan Anderson (Covington) 6-4 OT; was dec. by Aidan McAlexander (Antwerp) 8-1. Placed fourth.
152: Clayton Schirmer (Blanchester) dec. Carlton Roberts (Rossford) 6-3; was dec. by Gavin Stika (Creston Norwayne’s) 13-1; was dec. by Matt Hall (Bethel-Tate) 5-4. Did not place.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.
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