COLUMBUS — Save the bullet points and decorative fonts. The Division I state wrestling tournament doesn’t care about resumes.
In fact, the 81st tournament has taken many a great wrestler and spit him out on the first day.
That’s what made Thursday so great for Wadsworth, as the Grizzlies sent eight wrestlers to the quarterfinals in Mikey Lewarchick (106 pounds), Landon Hacker (120), Logan Messer (132), Luke Baughman (138), Michael North (145), Joey Baughman (182), Clay McComas (220) and Jordan Earnest (285). The Grizzlies sit in third behind Brecksville and St. Edward in the team race.
Brunswick has Logan Heil (120) and Matt Fields (132), with Medina’s Brady Chrisman (170) and Highland’s Brady Linder (152) also still alive in the championship bracket.
Ranked No. 2, Fields, who won state last year for Walsh Jesuit and is a two-time finalist, has St. Edward’s Matt Kazimir in his quarterfinal match this morning.
That would be the same Matt Kazimir who is the projected state champion by Intermatwrestle.com’s Josh Lowe and a two-time state placer.
“You have four hard matches,” Fields said. “You only see that at the Ironman, the Super 32 and that type of stuff. Ohio is the real deal.
“It helps me take my wrestling to the next level, which is what this is all about. Who really cares about a piece of paper and little medal you can buy at the store? I’m here to prove to myself that I’m the best. In my opinion, I’ve already proved to everybody how good I am. It’s a personal thing and you’re not going to do that wrestling four schmucks.”
Joey Baughman was given no easy path, either, as the three-time state placer and two-time state runner-up will have a tough match with Cincinnati LaSalle state placer Blake Wilson, with a likely match against Olentangy Liberty state runner-up and two-time state placer Trevor Lawson probably waiting in the semifinals.
That would mean Baughman, who is ranked third, would have to beat the No. 4 and No. 2 ranked kids to make a third consecutive final.
“The state tournament is no joke,” he said. “Every kid is good. You just have to prepare like every kid is the best kid in the tournament. It’s very important to not look ahead. You see guys go down in the first round. Top guys lose every year because they’re looking ahead.”
North has to keep his nose to the grindstone against Olmsted Falls’ Josh Jaeckin in anticipation of a fourth installment with Brecksville’s Victor Voinovich.
North beat Voinovich at the Ironman but fell in a Suburban League dual and in the conference tournament final.
“It makes me work for every takedown,” North said. “I’m used to it when I come up to Voinovich and hopefully in the finals when I come up against Sam Dover (of St. Edward) or Christopher Donathan (of Mason). It makes you have to be ready to go every single match. There’s no off matches. You have to do the same routine and be ready for everyone.”
Earnest, the projected state champion, suffered his only loss to the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the nation in a 5-3 Ironman semifinal against Cholton Schultz of Ponderosa, Colo.
He’s won 41 matches in a row, and with a win over Marysville’s Tyler Connolly, he’ll probably face projected runner-up Matt Lee of Amherst, who would come in with the same record.
“I like the challenge,” Earnest said. “I’ll have to meet him at some point, so I might as well get it done sooner rather than later. But if you start looking ahead, that’s when you start getting in trouble.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.