As Tommy Sasfy trained for the season for the Reynoldsburg High School wrestling team, he had dreams of competing in college.

As Tommy Sasfy trained for the season for the Reynoldsburg High School wrestling team, he had dreams of competing in college.

He didn't know if that was realistic.

His brother, Nick Sasfy, a 2007 Reynoldsburg gradate, had a successful high school wrestling career. Nick placed sixth at 171 pounds in the Division I state tournament as a senior and ended up at Division III Cumberland University.

Tommy finished sixth in the state tournament at 135 as a junior in 2008. He had a chance to become more accomplished than his brother, but he didn't know what that would mean in terms of college opportunities.

He got the answer in May, as he signed to wrestle at Kent State.

"Well, going to college to wrestle, I didn't think it would happen," Tommy said. "My brother did it, but he went Division III. But as soon as my junior year ended, I thought (I could go) Division II or NAIA. (Coach Jason Allen) had it drilled in my mind that I had state final or state championship material and he thought I could go Division I."

As a senior competing at 140, Sasfy became the second Reynoldsburg wrestler to make it to a state championship match, where he lost to four-time state champion Colin Palmer of Lakewood St. Edward 3-1

Sasfy was a three-time state qualifier and two-time state placer. He was 120-24 in his career, including a 37-2 mark last season. He was the winningest wrestler during Allen's seven seasons with the Raiders. Sasfy won district championships the past two seasons.

"When somebody would say what would you want in a student athlete, he's what we would want," Allen said. "He's a hard worker on and off the mat. He had a 3.6 GPA and did a lot of community service work. He's just an all-around great kid. Through the lessons he learned in wrestling, he can do any anything in the world he wants to because he'll never give up and he likes challenges."

The challenge is one reason that Kent State won out over schools like Binghamton, Clarion and Ohio University. Sasfy also considered wrestling at Northern Illinois and Cumberland. He went on his official visit to Kent State in the spring and left campus impressed, but without a scholarship offer. Division I schools are allowed 9.9 scholarships for 10 weight classes. A week after his visit, he received a call with a better offer than he originally expected.

To help make the decision, Sasfy relied on input from his mother, Ann, and Allen. Ann took care of the academic side of it and Allen looked at the wrestling side, but ultimately Sasfy made his decision.

"(Kent State coach Jim Andrassy) had hard practices," Sasfy said. "He has very high expectations of his wrestlers. I feel like I'm having the same coach and the same message. They have a hard program and I feel like I want the challenge."

Academically, Sasfy is planning to study nursing, and he believed Kent State's program to be among the best in the nation.

As for the competition at Kent State, Allen was the perfect person to relate what it's going to be like. Allen was a state champion wrestler for Thomas Worthington in 1993 before accepting a scholarship to wrestle at Oklahoma State. Allen said once he started training with his college team, it took him two months before he had a takedown in practice.

"As far as advice I told him your state semifinal match this year, imagine that every day in the practice room because that is what it's going to be like," Allen said. "He'll probably go in there and get his brains beat in for a few months. I just kind of cautioned him on not getting down on himself. You have to pay your dues just like you pay your dues in high school."