COLUMBUS — Three of Clinton County’s four wrestlers remain alive in the bracket after the first day of the 81st OHSAA state wrestling championships Thursday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.
East Clinton’s Wyatt Riddle and Blanchester’s Clayton Schirmer won first-round bouts and will wrestle in the quarterfinals on Friday morning.
Wilmington’s Isaac Allen and Conner Barton lost in the first round. Allen won his consolation first round match, while Barton was defeated.
Riddle, the defending state runner-up at 106 pounds, was dominant in his first-round win over Alex Overly of Sarahsville Shenandoah. Riddle pinned Overly in 4:41.
Had Overly avoided the pinfall, he would have lost by technical fall, as Riddle was guaranteed at least a 15-0 lead.
“I was just trying to go in there, get that match won, and get it over with so I can relax and focus on things for tomorrow,” Riddle said. “He was backing up a little more than I expected, so it took me a little longer to get my shots in and takedowns.”
Riddle will face Aidan McAlexander of Antwerp in the quarterfinals 10 a.m. Friday.
“He just went out there and continued what he did last week,” EC head coach Doug Stehlin said. “He took control and put points up on the board early.”
In his first appearance at state, Schirmer went to the third period scoreless against Carlton Roberts of Rossford.
“I was trying not to give too much up,” Schirmer said. “Trying to wrestle smart. After that, it got a little easier and I was able to score a little more.”
Schirmer started the third period on bottom. With Roberts ready to receive a technical violation for locking hands, Schirmer secured the reversal for a 3-0 lead. He added three near-fall points and cruised to a 6-3 win.
“I feel that I’m stronger on bottom,” Schirmer said. “I feel like I can get away from most kids. I just had the mindset that he’s not going to hold me down.”
Schirmer will face three-time state placer Gavin Stika of Creston Norwayne in the quarterfinals 10 a.m. Friday.
“He wrestled like it was his first match at the state tournament,” BHS head coach Scott Nicely said. “We were a little nervous. We were a little tight. It took us until the third period to let it loose. We came down earlier and walked around.
“It’s still different when there are people in the stands and the whistle blows.”
Wilmington’s Isaac Allen was defeated in his opening bout by Wesley Pauley of McConnelsville Morgan, 9-3.
“It looked like the biggest mistake we made was that we let the other guy control the tempo,” WHS head coach Kelly Tolliver said. “Isaac’s matches are usually twice the speed of that one.”
Allen rebounded by defeating Nick Jackson of Bowling Green 5-2 in the first round of consolation. He’ll wrestle again at approximately 1 p.m. Friday.
“After a loss, you don’t feel very good,” Allen said. “The coaches told me to pick my head up. I can come back through and still place. I’m very excited. There is a ton of opportunity still. I’m ready to take it and get on that podium.”
Conner Barton lost his opening bout in the 285-pound weight class to Lyle Clark of Uhrichsville Claymont, 6-3.
Barton took Clark down straight to his back but was unable to keep him there or score near-fall points.
“When he had him on his back, that was the biggest opportunity and we let it slip past us,” Tolliver said. “(Clark) made it his match. He didn’t want to get in the tie-up game with Conner. He’s a guy that takes shots, and those guys are dangerous at heavyweight.”
Barton was pinned by Alex Leasure of Alliance in 2:58, ending his state tournament run.
“Wrestling two years, it was my goal to make it here,” Barton said. “Definitely didn’t expect it to be this hard up here. It was fun. It was crazy wrestling in front of this crowd. My family is three floors up.
“You don’t focus on them when you’re in the match, but after the match, you notice how many people are actually watching you.”
For an athlete wrapping up his second year of wrestling, it was still quite the finish to his career.
“The best we’ve ever had a kid do that walked in with that amount of experience is district qualifier,” Tolliver said. “It’s incredible for anybody to make it to the state tournament and wrestle two years.”
March 8, 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. Will wrestle loser of Brandon Daniels (Carrollton) and Justin Mayes (Bellevue) in consolation second round 12:50 p.m. Friday.
285: Conner Barton (Wilmington) was dec. by Lyle Clark (Uhrichsville Claymont) 6-3; was pinned by Alex Leasure (Alliance) 2:58. Will not place.
103: Wyatt Riddle (East Clinton) pin Alex Overly (Sarahsville Shenandoah) 4:41. Will face Aidan McAlexander (Antwerp) in the quarterfinals 10 a.m. Friday.
152: Clayton Schirmer (Blanchester) dec. Carlton Roberts (Rossford) 6-3. Will face Gavin Stika (Creston Norwayne) in the quarterfinals 10 a.m. Friday.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.