Area’s young wrestlers need to keep their heads up

I’ve reiterated that the area’s wrestling teams are young this season. No coach or team likes to use that as an excuse for a loss, but facts are facts. Those young grapplers wrestle not only their opponent physically, but themselves mentally. Because of that I feel wrestling is all a state of mind.

So far this season I’ve seen some discouraged faces and some frustrated young wrestlers. As a freshman I remember what it was like to take on guys that were much better than me. I felt like I’d never win and that I wasn’t very good, but you have to stick it out. Wrestling is not an easy sport by any means and there is a reason wrestling rooms are not packed with 30 to 40 kids at the beginning of the year.

Ohio Wrestling

To the young wrestlers in the area, it’s all about the mental approach. You have to go on the mat believing you can win. A positive attitude goes a long way. Every practice matters and is a chance to improve. If you put in hard work, you will get results.

The wins may not rack up as quickly as you hoped and they often don’t. However, when you step on the mat you’ve garnered something you can always carry, and that is respect.

I am reminded of a quote by wrestling legend Dan Gable.

“More enduring than any other sport, wrestling teaches self-control and pride,” Gable once said. “Some have wrestled without great skill, but none have wrestled without pride.”

Looking ahead

West Liberty-Salem’s thin, but talented, wrestling team will have two meets in three days. Today the Tigers, who have just six wrestlers on their roster, travel to Triad for a trimeet with the Cardinals and Tri-County North and then travel Saturday to Versailles.

Indian Lake will make the short trip to Urbana on Saturday for the Urbana Invitational. Top teams in action there include Hilliard Davidson, New Lexington and Graham’s B squad. Laker standout Kevin Christman could face some tough competition in Hilliard Davison state runner-up J.T. Rice, New Lexington district placer Adam Fondale or even Graham’s Joe Martinez.

Buckeyes bounce back

After a disappointing showing in Las Vegas two weeks ago, the sixth-ranked Buckeyes rallied to beat No. 17 Edinboro 19-12 on Sunday.

A lot happened for just one dual, all of which was good news for Ohio State. Senior 285-pounder and 14th-ranked Corey Morrison provided the match-deciding win with a 5-3 victory over No. 8 Joey Fendone of Edinboro who had a 14-0 record before the match. The Buckeyes entered the final match with a slim 16- 12 lead, but Morrison’s decision secured the victory.

The vital win earned Morrison Big Ten wrestler of the week honors and also handed Edinboro’s team and Fendone their first losses of the season.

Also for OSU, defending national champion Mike Pucillo (184) returned for his first win of the season over Ohio native and 10th-ranked Chris Honeycutt 8-1.

Around Ohio

Some results of local interest were from the Midwest Classic where Graham ran away with first place. The Falcons won the tournament with 568 points and 10 champions.

Notable matchups included the Falcons’ Felipe Martinez (130) over Marion Pleasant state placer Riki Reynolds by pin and in a battle of state placers Matt Stephens (145) beat the Spartans’ Cody Coomes 6-2.

At the Central Ohio Duals, Central Crossing won the tournament with a 5-0 record after beating Pickerington North 34-29 in the championship. Marysville finished fifth after beating Dublin Scioto 35-29.