Watkins Memorial High School wrestling coach Mark Kurth believes nerves may have gotten the better of Nick Lancia in the Division I state tournament that concluded March 2 at Ohio State.
The senior went 0-2 at 152 pounds in his first state appearance to finish 46-6 on the season.
"He gave it his all, but I think maybe a little bit of nerves crept in due to the venue, the stage and the crowd," Kurth said. "I especially thought that in his first match. But when you get to the state level, everybody's good. You're facing any of the top 16 wrestlers in the state."
Lancia lost to Massillon Perry's Tony Dailey 17-2 in his opening match and lost to New Carlisle Tecumseh's Chuck Buchanan 7-4 in his second match. Buchanan went on to place fourth and Dailey placed fifth.
Lancia was the only state qualifier for Watkins Memorial and did not score at state. Lakewood St. Edward (117) won the state title and Perry (105) was runner-up as 89 teams scored.
Lancia qualified for state by going 5-1 and placing third in the district tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Darby, as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state. He was one of five district qualifiers for the Warriors.
Sophomore Andrew Lieb was a state alternate at 126, as he went 4-2 and placed fifth at district to finish 43-8. Senior Noah Holter went 3-3 and placed sixth at 138, finishing 42-10. Junior Dylan Scott went 1-2 at 132 and finished 21-8 and freshman Dean Marek went 0-2 at 106 to finish 30-20.
The Warriors scored 43 points at district to finish 19th behind champion Marysville (163) as 35 teams scored.
Holter, Lancia and Lieb all won titles in the 10-team sectional Feb. 16 at home, as Watkins Memorial finished fifth (136) behind champion Hilliard Bradley (205). Marek and Scott both placed third.
Holter, Lancia, Lieb and Scott are two-time district qualifiers.
"As a group, our seniors were pretty good," Kurth said. "It's unfortunate that our leader, (senior) Chris Bankes (132), was injured the week leading into the sectional. Chris, Nick and Noah all had 40-plus wins (and) so did (senior) Damian George (220), so definitely those guys will be missed."
George went 3-2 and placed fifth at sectional to finish 40-10.
Also competing at sectional were senior Jared Corum (170, 1-2, 12-31), junior Adam Tomkins (160, 1-3, 25-25) and freshmen Elliot Holter (113, 0-2, 17-25), Jack May (182, 0-2, 2-15) and Robert Speaks (145, 0-2, 16-19).
Like Bankes, juniors Josh Lyday (195) and Taylor Evener (heavyweight) did not compete at sectional because of injury. Bankes finished 40-6 on the season, with Lyday going 16-10 and Evener going 11-14.
"We need to keep healthy next year because injuries really hurt us throughout the season," Kurth said.
"We do have three district qualifiers returning in Lieb, Scott and Marek, so they should lead us. Speaks got 16 wins as a freshman and (junior) Josh Chism (138, 16-16) and Adam Tomkins both went .500."
The Warriors went 4-3 in OCC-Capital Division duals to place fourth, behind Mount Vernon (7-0), Delaware (6-1) and Olentangy Orange (5-2) and ahead of Olentangy (3-4), Big Walnut (2-5), New Albany (1-6) and Franklin Heights (0-7).
Watkins Memorial was seeded seventh in Region 6-B of the inaugural state team tournament and lost to second-seeded Pickerington Central 55-22 in the first round Jan. 23.
"I'm looking forward to next year because I think we'll be fine," Kurth said. "We had 10 freshmen gain some varsity experience this season and we've got 20 kids who wrestled in eighth grade. Our numbers should go up and we should continue to be very competitive."