Westerville North High School wrestling coach David Grant consoled his athletes in the corridors of Ohio State's Value City Arena and contemplated what could have been in the Division I state tournament.
The Warriors qualified four wrestlers for state Feb. 27-March 1, but managed only two wins as they tied for 57th (4 points) behind champion Massillon Perry (185) as 78 teams scored.
"I'm disappointed," Grant said. "We had a goal to come here and have placers. We're disappointed, but we'll chew it up and swallow it and get back to work."
Junior Jakob Hinz went 1-2 at 170 pounds to finish the season 31-10. After defeating Austintown-Fitch's Camran Rezapourian 8-6 in the first round, Hinz lost to Wadsworth's Tim Knipl 3-1 in overtime in a quarterfinal and Cincinnati Moeller's Quinton Rosser 6-3 in a consolation match.
"It was a little disappointing at first, but I enjoyed the experience," said Hinz, who was 0-2 last season at state at 152. "I really didn't get the type of whole tournament feel that I wanted. I wanted to place, I wanted to get higher than I did, but it was a good team thing."
Junior Nic Kramer was 1-2 at 195 to finish 30-9. He defeated Maple Heights' Monterol Johnson 2-1 in the first round before being pinned by Cincinnati St. Xavier's Jonathan Jones in 2 minutes, 59 seconds in a quarterfinal.
Kramer was pinned in his consolation match by Holland Springfield's Ross Lonsway in 4:38.
Senior Santino DiSabato (120) and junior Gage Archer (heavyweight) each went 0-2.
DiSabato lost to Brunswick's Josh Hall 5-0 and Trenton Edgewood's T.J. Bean 3-1 to finish 38-7. Last season at state, DiSabato went 3-2 and finished seventh at 113.
Archer was pinned by Troy's Alex Dalton in 3:20 and Aurora's John Burger in 2:44 to finish 31-10.
"It was good, tough wrestling," Grant said. "We had some guys in position to win matches. We just have to get tougher. We have three underclassmen that were state qualifiers. We'll head back to Westerville and get to work."
South's Llaneza enjoys state experience
Competing in his first state tournament, South senior Caleb Llaneza went 1-2 at 152 to finish 41-4.
Llaneza opened with a 7-2 win over West Chester Lakota West's Kevin Leonhardt in the first round before losing to Perrysburg's J.P. Newton 14-12 in a quarterfinal.
Llaneza lost his first consolation match to Bedford's Jairod James 13-4.
"It was really fun," Llaneza said. "I enjoyed the atmosphere and got to meet a few new people. It was overall a really good experience. It ended a little shorter than I anticipated, but it was still a great time."
The Wildcats tied seven teams for 67th (2).
"I'm ecstatic and pleased," coach Kerry Burton said. "I'm very happy with Caleb. He set a goal and he did everything he wanted to do. His goal was to get to state. He made that goal last year when it didn't work out at district (going 1-2 at 145). I try to tell the kids that having a goal, working hard towards that goal and, a lot of times, you're going to get what you want and that's what he got."