|Wrestler McConnahea came a long way|
|Monday, March 04, 2013 3:38 PM|
By JIM METCALFE
COLUMBUS — Jefferson senior Colin McConnahea came a long way.
From a sub-.500 freshman season for then-coach Jeff Rex in 2009-10 to a seventh-place finish — beating Heath’s Gunner Loughman 6-0 Saturday after besting the same senior 7-1 in the championship preliminaries Thursday — at the 2012-13 OHSAA State Wrestling Championships held on the floor of Value City Arena inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center, the 76th installment of the event, McConnahea ended his high school mat career on the podium.
It just wasn’t quite where the 195-pounder wanted to end up.
“I wanted more than seventh; I felt that after I won my first match, I figured I could be in the top 3,” he began. “I lost to (eventual runner-up) Dalton Ishmael in the second round and he is the all-time pins leader in Ohio. I took him to the second period, so even though I don’t like to lose, that one wasn’t nearly as bad. He had placed in the top five two times before.
“Even though I didn’t end up as high as I wanted, it still is a good experience to wrestle here in this environment. The more matches I got (he went 3-2), the more it seemed like just another meet, just with more people.”
In the 7th/8th-place match at Ohio State University, neither wrestler scored in the first period. McConnahea, from the up position to begin the second, earned two back points for a 2-0 lead.
In the third period, McConnahea gained a reversal with 35 seconds to go and finished the match with two back points.
The match was interrupted several times due to blood.
McConnahea capped off a 4-year varsity career with over 135 wins, fighting through a season of the dreaded skin issues and illness to cap a 48-3 season.
“I was about 80 percent last week after getting mono a couple of weeks before the NWC meet and I was 100 percent this week. I was ready to go,” he continued. “It’s bittersweet because this is the end of my high school career. I know a lot of wrestlers would have been happy to change places with me, even finishing seventh.”
One chapter closes for the senior but another will open in 2013-14.
“This is not the end of my wrestling career; I am planning on attending Mount Union and wrestling there,” he added. “I can focus more on that now. I know I have to get a lot stronger and more skilled to compete at college.”
His coach at Jefferson the last two seasons, Mike Wilson, was proud of the progress of his charge.
“When you see where he came from as a freshman — something like 6-25 but I’m not totally sure — to 35 wins or so as a sophomore and 48 or so as a junior and this year, it’s a tremendous accomplishment. I know he isn’t satisfied with seventh — he doesn’t take kindly to any loss — but I’m proud of him,” Wilson noted.
Mcconnahea grew the list of state placers in the 14 years of the program at Jefferson to five, the first not named Miller or Swick.
One characteristic of McConnahea is something Wilson likes to see out of all his wrestlers.
“He doesn’t stay still; he’s always pushing to score points. I don’t have to worry about him stalling; he’s aggressive and takes it right at his opponents,” he added. “You saw it even today: he’s up four late in the third period and was still looking to pin his guy, even as some others might have been willing to coast.
“That’s what I want out of all my guys; keep attacking and pushing. Of course, there might be times to be more cautious, when it might be smarter to not be so aggressive, but generally, I want my guys to attack for all six minutes.”
|Last Updated on Monday, March 04, 2013 3:51 PM|