COLUMBUS — While three Medina County wrestlers didn’t achieve their ultimate goal of winning a state title Saturday, the foundations were laid for what could be even bigger futures.
Buckeye’s Mike Clark (138 pounds), Wadsworth’s Luke Baughman (138) and Medina’s Brady Chrisman (170) joined Grizzlies champion Jordan Earnest (285) and Mentor Lake Catholic three-time champion Kevon Freeman (160, Medina resident) in the finals but just missed in their last match.
Undaunted, the three vowed to use the losses as learning experiences.
In a star-studded four-year career with the Bees, Chrisman did everything. A two-time state placer, he holds Medina records for wins in a season (50) and career (171).
The senior leaves as the sixth state finalist for the Bees. He will use what he learned in a 12-3 Division I loss to Liberty’s Carson Kharchla when he wrestles for Kent State next season.
“All this is motivation,” Chrisman said. “Losing motivates me more than winning, and this will just push me to a new level. When you win, all that is positive momentum. When you lose, you learn from your mistakes and it motivates you to get to that next level.
“I learned no matter what it is, I fight to the end. Whether I’m down or whether I’m up, until the last second I’m going to put every ounce of fight I have in this.”
Clark found that in his D-II fight with St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Luke Wymer in a 5-3 overtime loss.
The senior, who finished with 171 wins, plans on wrestling in college and has been in talks with Mount Union, Baldwin Wallace and Heidelberg and has interest from Mercyhurst and Buffalo.
The second-place finish will no doubt be the catalyst moving forward.
“I felt like coming into the tournament a lot of people didn’t even see me getting to the finals,” Clark said. “To get there, I kind of set myself on the map to people who might not have known who I was. To me, it showed I am able to compete with these high-level guys.”
Clark not only competed, he won. The senior beat the second-ranked wrestler in the state when he stopped Aurora’s Andy Garr 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
He beat No. 6 Ben Sherrill of Bellbrook 2-0 in the semifinals and had the lead against Wymer.
“This weekend showed I improved over the season,” Clark said. “It also showed I can keep improving throughout the season.”
Baughman doesn’t have to look far for inspiration after losing 14-10 to two-time state champion Bryce Andonian of St. Edward.
In 2015, his brother, Noah Baughman, came in as a state champion but lost in the semifinals. Undaunted, the future Cornell wrestler came back his senior season and won state again.
It’s the formula Luke Baughman hopes to use in 2018-19 as he closes a stellar career.
“I for sure never want to feel this way again, so, yeah, this summer I’ll definitely will be working my hardest so I can come back and win state my senior year,” he said. “Noah had to look for guys to wrestle in college, high-level guys, to help him get better. For me, I just have to hang around with my brothers and wrestle with them every day. That’s what will get me to be a state champion.”
Contact Brad Bournival at bournival929gmail.com.