|McConnahea goes 1-2 Friday; to wrestle for 7th place today|
|Monday, March 04, 2013 10:56 AM|
COLUMBUS - The podium.
That is the goal of every participant in the 2012-13 OHSAA State Wrestling Championships at Value City Arena inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center at Ohio State University - or any state tournament.
Jefferson senior Colin McConnahea was like every other wrestler when he began in that hoped-for destination.
Where the 195-pounder would end up was determined Friday when McConnahea came back in the evening session to wrestle Clayton Bullard of Johnstown-Monroe and lost 9-6.
He will return at 11 a.m. today to wrestle in the seventh-place match.
The first match was a loss via pinfall in 2:47 in the morning but when you see that it was to the state’s all-time record-holder in pins — 2-time state-placing senior Dalton Ishmael of North Baltimore (44-1) — on his 154th pin, one could understand that there was no reason to hang one’s head.
He needed to come back in an hour and a half in an effort to stay alive against Reading’s Joe Dilbert (38-10) - a foe that McCoinnahea had beaten in the Kettering Fairmont District 3/4 match. He did so with an 8-2 decision, assuring his place on the podium.
“The first match, he was just so aggressive. He took it to me right away,” McConnahea said. “I wasn’t nervous today at all. He was just that good of a good wrestler. I had to put it behind me.”
Which he did, coming back to improve his mark to 47-2 by outwrestling Dilbert.
“I couldn’t wait for the match; I just wanted to get out there and compete again,” McConnahea added. “We really didn’t talk strategy between matches. Coach (Mike) Wilson just told me to go out and wrestle, enjoy myself and not worry about it. That’s what I did last week at Districts after losing my first match of the season and that is what I did today; I just went out and wrestled; I took it to him.
“I just need to get ready for my match later tonight and see what I can do.”
Wilson figured there was no secret to the outcomes of the matches.
“You had two different ;levels of wrestling and two different opponents. There was no comparison,” he explained. “We were familiar with the Reading kid because we wrestled him at Districts last week. Colin just put the previous loss behind him and refocused. The goal all along was to get on the podium and he got that done. We’ll see how high up he ends.”
Referring to his two other seniors - Geoff Ketcham and Quinten Wessell - who were beaten out Thursday night, Wilson noted what the real key is to winning matches at state.
“There is so much of the mental part to this; that separates wrestlers. How well you handle this type of environment is the key,” he added. “That’s why it really helps to be down here multiple times instead of once; you just can’t take it all in once and you can tell the ones who have been down here before competing. That is why my two guys are here in street clothes today and guys they beat in the season are still wrestling.
“We brought three down, the most-ever in the program’s history. I hope this is a continuing trend, that this will become a regular occurrence. My hope is that we draw attention to Jefferson wrestling and not only will we see more numbers but extra motivation. When they see these three guys down here and one will be on the podium, that will motivate the younger guys to work extra hard.”