COLUMBUS — While nobody wants to suffer a loss during his first match at the state tournament, losing a second and being eliminated on the first day of competition can be downright heartbreaking.
Of the seven area wrestlers that lost in the first round Thursday night at Value City Arena, four came back to pick up victories in the consolation bracket.
The first to do it was Vermilion senior Ryan Shupe, who suffered a 17-2 technical fall to Miami Trace state placer Dustin Fraley in his first 134-pound match, then pinned Warsaw River View junior Brody Fry.
“I didn’t want to go home and let everyone down that had come down here to see me,” Shupe said.
Fry tried to come into the inside of the Sailor, and Shupe pulled in Fry’s head, locked his arm around the neck and flipped Fry onto his back for the victory.
“Once someone gets in Ryan’s headlock, not too many people can get out of it,” Vermilion coach Tony Budka said.
Shupe said making it to state was one of his big goals, and picking up 100 career victories is the other. His win against Fry was No. 99.
Phoenix feels fine
It wasn’t exactly what Oberlin senior Nick Chmura was hoping for during his first trip to Columbus, but the 189-pounder wasn’t going to let his 0-2 record ruin the experience.
“It’s been a goal of mine to get down here for as long as I can remember,” Chmura said. “Now I can concentrate on playing soccer in college.”
Chmura, who will attend the University of Tampa, was on the short end of a 17-4 major decision to Wellsville junior Ryan Crabtree in the first round and was pinned by Toledo Christian senior Nate Bayly in a consolation matchup.
Chmura admitted that nerves played a part in his tough day.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous or scared in my life,” he said.
A Brave heart
Berea sophomore Nolan Grame certainly didn’t look like a wrestler who had just lost his second Day 1 match as he walked off the mat.
“I really didn’t expect to make it out of districts,” Grame said. “I got a good draw there and I wrestled really well.”
Grame knows that even an 0-2 performance provided the experience he’ll need during his next two seasons.
“I don’t think I’ll have the jitters next time,” Grame said.
One of Westlake’s three state qualifiers saw his state run come to an end Thursday night, but junior 215-pounder Ryan Smugala didn’t seem too broken up.
“I know that if I come here next year I’ll do better,” Smugala said. “This was a great experience for me. Now I just have to learn to take it to another level.”
Demons coach Mike Antonyzyn doesn’t think that’s going to be too much of a problem for Smugala.
“He’s lived up to our philosophy,” Antonyzyn said. “Be better today than you were yesterday. He’s improved every year, and the last three weeks he’s really turned it up.”
Three-time state champion Tony Jameson of Austintown Fitch survived the scare of his high school career in the first round against Bowling Green senior Rudy Hendon. Jameson came away with a 23-20 decision, but was on his back three times during the match.
l Hillsboro senior Dustin Carter captured a 2-1 overtime decision over Cambridge sophomore Andrew Bertubin in their Division II 103-pound opener. Why is that a big deal? Carter, who is 40-2, has no legs below the knees and no arms below the elbows.
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or email@example.com.