Seth Shumate was determined to keep his opponents off-balance throughout the United States Marine Corps Cadet Freestyle and Greco-Roman nationals in Fargo, North Dakota.
Keeping his ears open helped, too.
On his way to capturing the national championship at 195 pounds in the freestyle tournament held July 13-15, Shumate won three matches by at least 10 points and had little trouble in his other two.
Then in the Greco-Roman competition July 17 and 18, Shumate, a rising sophomore at Dublin Coffman High School, shut out four consecutive opponents, including Isaiah Anderson of Washington 10-0 in the championship dual at 195.
It marked the second consecutive summer that a central Ohio wrestler left the national tournament with a title. Olentangy Liberty graduate Carson Kharchla won the Junior Freestyle championship at 170 last July.
Cadet competitors are 16 and under.
“A couple things I did well on the mat (last) week were hand-fighting hard and keeping my feet moving at all times so my opponents were always off their game and confused,” Shumate said. “It made things easier to come out with a win. Also, I listened to every word my coaches told me and did whatever they told me to do and that really makes a difference.
“Winning the national (titles) means a lot to me. It shows me that all the work I’ve been putting into this season has been paying off.”
Shumate won the two national championships a little more than four months after he captured the Division I state title at 195 to cap his freshman prep season.
Shumate beat Evan Bates of Indiana 11-0 in the title bout in Cadet freestyle, helping Team Ohio score 50 points and place third of 31 teams behind Pennsylvania (61) and Minnesota (51).
Last summer, Shumate finished fifth at 170 in the event.
Three other competitors from Coffman also placed at nationals.
Also in Cadet freestyle, rising sophomores Ismael Ayoub (126) and Riley Ucker (220) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
In the 16U girls division, rising junior Ayala Wolak placed fifth at 144 to help Team Ohio score 12 points and tie for 14th of 33 teams behind champion California (91).
Wolak, who is the sister of 2019 Coffman graduate and three-time state qualifier Lennox Wolak, began competing in the sport last winter.
“We’re so proud to have four All-Americans and a national champion coming back from Fargo,” Coffman coach Chance Van Gundy said. “They’ve all put in a lot of time, and many people have helped them along the way. I know the wrestlers appreciate all of the help. I know they’ve made my job a lot easier as their high school coach.
“Seth’s Fargo (titles) put an exclamation point on what has been a remarkable year for him and our program.”