SPARTA — It was a tough Saturday for Clinton County at the 84th OHSAA Div. II State Wrestling Championship here at Highland High School.
Six wrestlers combined for a 1-12 record in the state event
There are no easy draws at the state wrestling tournament. Clinton-Massie’s Colton Doyle might have gotten one of the worst draws possible.
Still, the Clinton-Massie senior picked up the county’s lone win Saturday evening in the state tournament.
“I couldn’t be happier with Colton,” CM head coach Spencer Running said. “His rigid leadership is going to be sorely missed in our program. I know he’s going to go on and do great things.”
Doyle opened with the projected sixth-place finisher at 182 pounds, Brenden Severs. Doyle was defeated 9-2.
Out for revenge in his consolation opener, Doyle scored a quick takedown of Chris Bennett of Vermilion before pinning him in 15 seconds to advance to the second round of consolation later Saturday evening.
“I guess it went about as well as you could ask for,” Doyle said. “I was really just trying to get myself back on track. I thought it put me in a better position to just get it done quickly.”
Needing just one more win to advance to Sunday and guarantee a top-eight finish, Doyle was projected to face Nate Barnett of Madison Comprehensive, a third-place finisher from a district last week.
However, Barnett upset district champion Cole Hivnor in the championship quarterfinal. Hivnor, projected to finish third by borofanohio.net, ended up being Doyle’s next opponent instead.
Doyle pushed the bout into the third period, but Hivnor eventually got the pinfall victory in 3:18 to end the state tournament for Clinton County wrestlers.
“I thought he wrestled great,” Running said. “He was a casualty of a bracket-buster. That’s kind of how it goes sometimes at these state tournaments. Unfortunately, a really tough guy crossed into his draw.
After qualifying for the state tournament last year but not getting to compete due to COVID-19, Doyle got to finish his journey, even if it didn’t end quite as he had hoped.
“I can’t thank my coaches, my family, my teammates enough,” Doyle said. “It’s just been great. Wrestling is my love. Just to have the opportunity to come out here and compete is amazing.”
Wilmington’s Brett Brooks was pinned by projected third-place finisher Todd Allen of Buckeye in 1:45 at 285 pounds.
“He really was fearless,” WHS head coach Kelly Tolliver said. “He didn’t even know that he was supposed to be afraid of the guy. He approached (his consolation bout) pretty much the same way.”
He was eliminated from the tournament after being pinned by Alistair Larson of Woodridge in 44 seconds.
“I thought he did incredible,” Tolliver said. “Next year is going to be exciting. He knows what to expect. He knows how to compartmentalize losses. He told us earlier that he’s never been as good a shape in his entire life.
“His football coach is going to be very happy. He’s going to be moving bodies around on the field.”
Both facing district champions in their opening bouts, Blanchester’s Gage Huston and Colt Conover each lost their opening bouts before having their seasons end in the first round of the consolation bracket.
“I’m very pleased with how both of them performed,” BHS head coach Ryan Shafer said. “They knew their back was against the wall and they did not give up. They fought the whole time. They both put up good fights in both matches.”
Huston, wrestling at 160 pounds, was pinned by undefeated Aaron Ferguson of Steubenville in 2:57. Conover, wrestling at 170 pounds, was pinned by 33-1 Jayden Jackson of Harvey in 0:56.
In the first round of consolation, Huston had a great back-and-forth bout with Caleb Selman of Geneva but ended up on the wrong side of a 22-13 decision to end his state tournament.
Conover led 12-8 in the third period of his consolation bout, but Hunter Hutcheson of Madison Comprehensive was able to get the Wildcat senior on his back for a late pin at 4:18.
“Anything can happen at the state tournament,” Shafer said. “In the blink of an eye, someone can get reversed and get pinned.”
In the morning session Saturday, Wilmington’s Carson Hibbs at 120 pounds and Clinton-Massie’s Braden Rolf at 145 pounds were up.
Hibbs lost his consolation match to Zane Van Voorhis of Copley 15-4. He opened with a hard-fought 8-6 loss to Levi Pidgeon of Carrollton.
Rolf was pinned in 1:24 by Colin Koenig of Perry in his first match 145-pounds then was defeated by technical fall by Caden Stout of St. Clairsville 15-0.
Hibbs went right after Pidgeon in his first match, securing a takedown in the early seconds.
“That first takedown is so important, what you really want to have happen,” said Tolliver.
Though Pidgeon tied the match in the second and went ahead with a takedown but never seemed to have control. Hibbs came right back with a reversal before Pidgeon finished the second with an escape and takedown for a 7-4 advantage.
“If we could have kept it to one (takedown) in the second, we’d be fine,” said Tolliver.
Hibbs opened the third with a reversal, 7-6, and then Pidgeon was hit with a stalling warning. Hibbs, though, was unable to score; Pidgeon added an escape on the restart with 39 seconds to go, 8-6.
For Hibbs and Brooks, the first-time WHS state qualifiers, getting to this level is big in their development.
“It’s huge,” Tolliver said. “The silver lining for this venue is we’re not (walking out) in the middle of the Schottenstein Center, that can be overwhelming. This will definitely bolster them.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mark Huber and Matt Sexton contributed to this story. Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP. Huber is the sports editor; follow him on Twitter @wnjsports.