Winning the state championship was an invigorating experience for Dublin Coffman High School freshman wrestler Seth Shumate.
Moments after dominating his way to an 11-3 victory over Cincinnati LaSalle senior Michael Baker on March 9 in the Division I state final at 195 pounds, Shumate pointed to fans in the crowd and did a back flip.
He then walked off the mat and a short time later sprinted through the stands at Ohio State's Schottenstein Center to hug and celebrate with family members.
"I'm feeling pretty good," said Shumate, who is Coffman's first state champion since Dom Demas (145) in 2016. "The sacrifices and hard work paid off. I already knew what (Baker's) game plan was. I don't usually (study opponents) a lot, but I went out there knowing what he was going to do and I wasn't going to let him do that. I stuck to my game plan and it worked."
Shumate went 4-0 in the state tournament held March 7-9 to finish the season 50-1. He opened state with an 18-2 win over Medina's Blake Chrisman and pinned Fremont Ross' Caleb Wood in 5 minutes, 17 seconds to reach a semifinal, where he edged Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Ethan Hatcher 8-7 to reach the final.
"I just plan on getting better," Shumate said. "I feel like I put in the most work. I went in the room every day, two hours working as hard as I could, pushing myself into deep waters. Then after that, I'd go into the weight room and push myself even more."
Shumate, who helped Coffman win its first district championship in 18 years on March 1 and 2 at Hilliard Darby, led the Shamrocks to an eighth-place finish (43 points) at state behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (194.5) as 72 teams scored.
"Seth is a wrestler who kind of just lets it fly," coach Chance Van Gundy said. "He scouted (Baker) a lot knowing it was a potential championship match, but at the end of the day, Seth wrestles on feel. He had a great workout partner this year in Lennox Wolak, who took fourth in the state (at 182). (Shumate) started the year at 182 and he and Lennox flip-flopped weights."
Wolak, a senior, also placed fourth at state at 182 last season. He opened this year's event with a 20-5 win over Oregon Clay's Josh Nagy but lost to Barberton's Gary Wokojance 16-5 in a quarterfinal.
After beating Mason's Toby Amburgy 9-3 and Delaware's Corbin May 11-2, Wolak got another opportunity against Westerville North's Mitch Potterf after losing to him in the regular season and at district.
Wolak beat Potterf 11-7 to set up another match against Wokojance, which he lost 6-0 in the third-place match.
Wolak had been pinned by Potterf in 1:18 in a district semifinal and entered state as a No. 3 seed.
"My goals didn't change after (the district tournament)," said Wolak, who went 4-2 at state to finish the season 47-5. "That was a rough weekend, physically and mentally tough, but I just kind of had to shake it off."
Sophomore Jimmy Baumann (113) and freshman Riley Ucker (220) both fell one win short of placing at state.
Baumann opened with a 5-4 victory over Berea-Midpark's Pino Dipierro before losing to eventual champion Dustin Norris of Cincinnati LaSalle 9-1 in a quarterfinal. He then fell to Centerville's Luke Acuna 4-3 to finish 37-8.
"(Making state) was my goal," said Baumann, who was a state alternate last season at 106. "I'm a lot more physical in my matches (than I was last season). My freshman year, I tried to be more of a finesse guy. Last year, my go-to-state match was a grinder and I lost in overtime."
Ucker opened state with an 8-5 loss to Clayton Northmont's Bryan Heyward but bounced back to beat Garfield Heights' Leon Webb 2-0 before falling to Beavercreek's Bradley Smith 2-0 in overtime to finish 40-13.
Going 0-2 at state were senior Antonio Gonzalez (152, 40-15), junior Davante Cooper (120, 18-8) and freshman Ismael Ayoub (126, 30-9).
The Shamrocks' other state qualifier, junior Corey Crawford (106), was unable to compete because of a skin condition, according to Van Gundy.
Juniors Leo Alvarez (160), Erik Arndt (138) and Nick Copley (170) and freshman Niko Gonzalez (132) are other district qualifiers who are eligible to return.
"We were eighth in the state this year and four of our guys scored here," Van Gundy said. "We have some holes to fill (for next year)."
Boys basketball team posted 22 victories
On its way to a 22-2 overall finish, the boys basketball team averaged a program-record 76.6 points per game.
It also marked the fourth time in five seasons that the Shamrocks finished with at least 20 wins.
Coffman won the OCC-Central Division title, going 9-1 to finish one game ahead of runner-up Upper Arlington (8-2), and earned the top seed for the Division I district tournament.
The Shamrocks' season ended with a 77-67 loss to 13th-seeded Olentangy Orange in a district semifinal March 6. With the victory, the Pioneers avenged a 67-59 loss to Coffman on Jan. 22.
"We did not shoot it very well and we didn't defend very well, and that's not a good combination against a good team," coach Jamey Collins said.
The Shamrocks are losing seven seniors, led by guards Luke Bartemes (first-team all-league, third-team all-district) and Grant Yeater (honorable mention all-league) and forwards Will Hunter (second-team all-league, honorable mention all-district) and Derek Van Vlerah (second-team all-league, honorable mention all-district).
Bartemes averaged 15 points and has committed to Lincoln Memorial, Hunter averaged nine points, Yeater averaged seven points and Van Vlerah averaged 6.5 points.
"We did a lot of great things," Collins said. "(The senior class was) outstanding. They represented our program so well. The last two years, they had 42 wins, and with the exception of a couple games, it was a very, very special year. It's going to be tough to duplicate what they accomplished in terms of offensive production."
Among the expected returnees are junior guard Dominiq Penn, who averaged 19 points and was named first-team all-district and league co-Player of the Year, and junior guard Keaton Turner, who averaged 8.5 points and was special mention all-league.
Others eligible to return include junior Sean Moriarty (guard), sophomores Hammond Russell (forward) and Nash Hostetler (guard/wing player) and freshman Ajay Sheldon (guard).
"The success we're having program-wide, we've really never seen anything like it across the board," Collins said. "Keaton Turner is a very special point guard. ... (Sheldon) and Keaton Turner have grown quite a bit. Our j.v. went 17-3, our freshman went about 15-2 and both teams had players that are going to have a chance to help us next year."