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McConnahea advances to state quarterfinals PDF Print E-mail
Friday, March 01, 2013 1:35 PM

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COLUMBUS — Every wrestler goes to the OHSAA State Championships at the Jerome Schottenstein Center with hopes of a podium finish, if not a title.
First things first: it helps mightily to win the first match in the round of 16.

Of the five Tri-County athletes that made it to the state meet, only one, Jefferson senior 195-pounder Colin McConnahea, won his first match in the Division III ranks.
Of the other four — Jefferson seniors Quinten Wessell (220) and Geoff Ketcham (285); St. John’s senior 170-pounder Will Buettner, all Division III; and Elida senior 132-pounder Nick Pauff in Division II — they all fell in the first round Thursday afternoon and then were eliminated later in the evening.

McConnahea bested Gunner Loughman of Heath 7-1.

“You’re really nervous when you get out there before you start to wrestle. I just told myself to just wrestle, much like I did after I lost my first match at Districts last week,” he said. “The nerves went away quickly and I just wrestled my match. I felt pressure lift off my shoulders last week — not having to stay undefeated and still advancing — and I feel even less right now. I got my first match in, wrestled well and moved on. I can just relax and get ready for tomorrow.”

He advanced to tangle with Dalton Ishmael of North Baltimore this morning, with 10 a.m. the first matches.

However, the other two Jefferson upper-weightmen weren’t so fortunate.

Wessell lost 5-3 to Ashland Mapleton’s Tyler Shank.

Later on, he was leading Joseph Dotson of Hannibal River 5-1 to start the third period but fell for a third attempt at a throw, was taken down and pinned at the 1:20 mark.

“This is it; this is how it ends,” a clearly dejected Wessell said. “I definitely feel like I still should be up on that podium Saturday but I didn’t wrestle my best either match. I can’t do anything about it now but that is what I feel. I just didn’t wrestle my best for some reason. I had blocked his throws before but I couldn’t block this one and he got me on my back. It wasn’t quite the same as last week at Districts but I was in control and made a big mistake. Now I can look forward to playing football for the Findlay Oilers.”

Ketcham fell behind in both of his matches: the opener versus Jacob Hanzel of Akron Manchester and the second to Cody Buckner of Genoa Area.

When he had to take chances to try and rally, he got put on his back and pinned.

“I was put in bad positions. If you make a mistake, these guys are too good,” he said. “It was my goal to get down here from the start of the season and I got here. I’m disappointed that I didn’t do better but these were bonus points anyway. We had the three upper weights down here and only one of us is going on but Quinten and I will be here tomorrow rooting Colin on.”

Buettner lost his matches by going the distance, falling 10-0 to Kale Rayner of Caldwell in the first round and then dropping an 8-4 decision to Tate Oswalt of Ayersville.

“I didn’t go out the way I wanted. This is my last match because I won’t be wrestling at Bowling Green,” he said. “When he took me down, I could never recover in the last match. In the first match, he was a lot stronger than I thought he was.”

Pauff lost 12-6 to Walter Gibson of Akron St. Vincent St. Marys and then eliminated by Ron Foster of Lisbon Beaver in the consolation round.

He spoke after the first match but showed the definite disappointment after the second.

“He  took  away  the  angles I am used to having. I also didn’t  wrestle  my  best  but he did a lot to take that away,” Pauff added. “I just have to put this behind me and get ready for the next match.”

That common refrain for the four wrestlers proved to not be enough.


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