Over the years, Colt Conover and Gage Huston have received plenty of wrestling competition at Blanchester High School.
They also get additional coaching at home.
Just ask the wall in Conover’s hallway.
“I forgot about that,” Colt said when talking Thursday afternoon prior to practice. Colt said he and dad Shane were wrestling in the hallway and one of the walls took the brunt of a takedown.
Shane, who also coaches at BHS, and Colt are the first father-son duo in Blanchester wrestling history to both make the state tournament.
The OHSAA Division II State Wrestling Championship tournament will be held this year at Marengo Highland High School, north of Columbus.
Conover and Huston will both be in the second session (152 to 285 weight classes) on Saturday, which begins at 4:30 p.m.
Huston (30-6) finished fourth at last week’s Division II Southwest District tournament in the 160-pound weight class. Huston will wrestle Aaron Ferguson (33-0) of Steubenville in his first match at state. Despite being unbeaten going in to the state, Ferguson is projected to finish fifth in the weight class by wrestling website borofanohio.net.
Conover (32-7) was fourth last week in the Division II Southwest District last weekend at 170 pounds. He’ll meet Jayden Jackson (33-1) of Harvey in his state opener. The borofanohio.net website has Jackson projected to finish fourth in this year’s tournament.
Huston hasn’t had a situation where his own or a brother’s backside ended through the family wall. “It’s more just showing me moves, wrestling with me; we never really went live,” Gage said.
Still brothers Cade and Dylan have helped Gage hone his game, so to speak.
Coach Jamie Tissandier said Huston’s performance at the sectional tournament this year was the best wrestling of his career. That came despite a three-week layoff after the SBAAC Wrestling Championship tournament.
“It felt like it took a little time to get back in to it,” Huston said.
Said Tissandier, “That’s a long time for them to be on the mat every day (without matches).” Head coach Ryan Shafer said they tried to get matches but no teams were willing.
That layoff wasn’t quite as gruelling as when the team was quarantine because of Covid-19 earlier in the season.
“The motivation wasn’t there to keep doing something at home,” Conover admitted.
Though he’d been wrestling since he was 3, Conover admits he thought about ending his career on the mat before middle school.
“Pee-wee (wrestling) was so boring,” he said.
Instead he continued and now gets a chance to wrestle at the highest level.
“Earlier in the year when a lot of the bigger tournaments got cancelled, I was getting worried that we weren’t going to have a (full) season,” said Conover.
So a state tournament held at a high school rather than Ohio State isn’t such a big deal.
“It doesn’t matter where it’s at; getting there is the main thing,” Conover said.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports