Armando Torres, Isaiah Margheim one win away from state title

JEFF FORMAN/THE NEWS-HERALD Elyria’s Armando Torres puts Conner Ziegler, of Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller, in a hold during their Division I state semifinal 113-pound pound weight class match on Friday at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

COLUMBUS — It may have taken him longer to get to the state tournament than he ever thought it would, but now that he’s there, Elyria’s Armando Torres is making the most of it.

Torres will wrestle in Saturday evening’s Division I 113-pound state championship match.

“This feels great,” Torres said. “I’ve been coming here for six or seven years, watched the finals, and always said, ‘That looks so fun.’ Now I’m finally here, and it’s a dream come true.”

Torres defeated Conner Ziegler, of Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller, by a convincing 5-0 decision in his semifinal match Friday night, setting up a rematch against Brecksville senior Aaron Assad.

This will be the fifth meeting between Torres and Assad, with Assad taking the first three by a single point each time. The two met just last Saturday in the district finals as Cleveland State. Assad won by two.

“I’m trying to put those other matches with him behind me,” Torres said. “This is the one that counts most. I’m coming out with the mindset that if I win that one tomorrow, none of those other losses matter, because then I’ll have the big one.”

Torres won’t be the only local wrestler trying to bring home a state title on Saturday.

Sophomore Isaiah Margheim will wrestle for the Division II 195 pound championship against Josh Lehner, of Lexington.

“This has been one of my dreams since placing third in my eighth grade year,” Margheim said. “I just wanted to place high here and get colleges looking at me.”

Margheim’s semifinal match against Sam Harris, of Urbana, was grueling. He took an early 2-0 lead with a takedown, which he said was huge.

“It was very important for me to get that early lead,” he said. “I knew that if I established a lead early, then the next couple periods I would be able to relax a little.”

Soon the lead jumped to 4-0, and it looked like Margheim might cruise to the finals. Suddenly, Harris came to life.

Harris scored a quick takedown that cut the lead in half, and the pressure was suddenly on Margheim.

“I saw him take me down, and I couldn’t let him get up,” Margheim said. “I had the match in my hands and I couldn’t let it slip out.”

Margheim scored another takedown to go up 6-2.

Moments later, though, Harris scored another takedown with around 30 seconds left in the match. Margheim had to hang on for dear life for the remainder of the match.

“Honestly, that was probably the hardest 30 seconds of my life,” Margheim said. “He took me down on the mat, and if he would have turned me at anytime and got a full count, he would have won.”

Margheim nearly didn’t even make it to the semifinals, as he won his quarterfinal match by default. Evan Nichols, of Perry, was disqualified after illegally slamming Margheim to the mat.

“I got picked up in the air and slammed on my neck,” Margheim said.

Margheim was given a point for the foul, and then leading 1-0 he was awarded the victory after it was determined he couldn’t go the rest of the match.

Making it to the championship match is a dream come true for Margheim, especially as a sophomore.

“This is really important for me. I’ve always wanted to make my mom proud,” he said. “This is one of the things I can do to do it.”

Margheim’s mother was in the stands watching the match.

“I bet she was just as excited about the win as I am,” he said. “She was probably up there shaking and running all over excited.”

@MJ_smahoney

Last Updated: 3/1/2013 11:56:51 PM EST

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