14 locals place at state wrestling tournament (wrestling notebook)

JEFF FORMAN/THE NEWS-HERALD Lorain’s Eli Garcia, right, wrestles Wadsworth’s Mathias Zollinger during their state semifinal Division I 138-pound weight class consolation match on Friday at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

COLUMBUS — Local wrestlers certainly have had a great showing so far at the OHSAA Wrestling Championships. A total of 14 have qualified as state-placers, while seven wrestled in the semifinals with a chance to wrestle in the state championship match.

Of those seven, two will have a chance to bring home titles — Elyria’s Armando Torres and Sandusky’s Isaiah Margheim.

While five wrestlers weren’t able to win in the semis, many of them are underclassmen that gained valuable experience that very well could pay off in the years to come.

Division III

Keystone sophomore Jacob Worthington was one of the seven locals to reach the semifinal match. His arm, which he injured in his opening match Thursday, bounced back with a vengeance, earning a pin in his first match Friday to advance to the semifinals later that night.

In that evening match, he matched up against returning-state champion T.J. Toal, of Troy Christian. Toal overpowered his younger opponent early and quickly took control of the match.

“He was definitely the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced,” Worthington said. “He just broke me. I got really psyched out and broke in the first period.”

Worthington said the loss will motivate him to come back and finish the job in his next two years.

“Last year he missed being in state by one point. He missed his goal by a little bit last year, and he missed his goal by a little bit this year,” Keystone coach Jim Pycraft said. “He got some experience this year, and he’s still got two years to get that championship.”

St. Paul sophomore Wes Fritz also found himself in the semifinals, losing to Andrew Hoskins, of Jamestown Greeneview, 4-2.

“Getting to the semis in my first year of state is pretty cool,” Fritz said. “I still have two years to get to that big show.”

Also placing at state in Division III are St. Mary’s Alex Smith and Adam Guerra, Clearview’s Matt Hollingsworth and St. Paul’s Connor Careless.

Division II

Edison’s Evan Cheek and Dalton Howard each lost their semifinal matches. While Howard is a senior, Cheek is just a sophomore.

“I just wasn’t prepared for what I had on my feet,” Cheek said. “I did everything I could on the mat with my escapes, but just didn’t get it done on my feet. This probably will make me work even harder in the summer to get back next year.”

Perkins freshman 220-pounder Kordell Chaney lost to a returning state runer-up in Zane Krall of Wausson. Wrestling as a freshman at such a heavy weight was certainly a disadvantage all year for Chaney, but the experience gained could be invaluable in the coming years.

“It was basically a boy wrestling in a grown man’s division,” Chaney said. “They’ve hit puberty, so they’re like super strong. I’m not as strong as them. Still, it was a great learning experience.”

Chaney’s teammate Tony Didion also became a state placer Friday.

Division I

Lorain’s Eli Garcia’s high school career will end today on a down note, as he won’t be able to reach his goal of being a state champion.

“I didn’t get where I wanted to be,” he said. “I wanted to make it to the finals.”

No matter how he finishes today, Garcia will go down in history as the highest state placer in the history of Lorain High School. He still could finish as high as third.

Westlake’s Logan Paul also didn’t reach his ultimate goal, but he hasn’t given up after losing his opening match of the tournament.

“My dad has raised me to get up after I’ve been hit,” Paul said. “That’s just the way I’ve grown up.”

Paul too still has a chance to finish as high as third.

The consolation matches begin this morning at Value City Arena, with the third, fifth and seventh place matches following shortly after. The championship matches begin at 5:45 p.m.

@MJ_smahoney

Last Updated: 3/1/2013 11:41:43 PM EST

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