Fresh off earning a runner-up finish at the Big 12 tournament held March 7 and 8, former Dublin Coffman standout wrestler Dom Demas felt more than ready to build on what he'd accomplished last year during his first NCAA tournament.
However, this year's event would be canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, ending the season for the Oklahoma redshirt sophomore.
"It sucked because we did all the hard work," said Demas, a 2017 Coffman graduate. "March is all that people care about. I wish (the NCAA tournament) would have gotten canceled halfway through the season or before the season started."
Demas, who competes at 141 pounds, helped Oklahoma finish sixth in the Big 12 tournament and was one of four Sooners to qualify for the NCAA tournament, which was to be held March 19-21 in Minneapolis.
On March 12, the NCAA announced that the remaining winter sports and the spring sports were canceled.
The defending Big 12 champion at 141, Demas earned the No. 1 seed for this year's conference tournament, but lost 4-2 to Iowa State's Ian Parker in the championship match.
He was 26-4 overall and seeded fifth of 33 wrestlers in his weight class entering this year's NCAA tournament.
"I had a really good draw and would have for sure made the semis," said Demas, who went 5-2 and placed fourth at 141 in last year's NCAA tournament as the ninth seed. "I'm just upset the season ended so quickly and I haven't won a national title yet."
Demas, who won state championships for the Shamrocks at 138 as a sophomore and at 145 as a senior, went 34-9 overall last season with the Sooners after being redshirted in the 2017-18 season. He has two years of college eligibility remaining.
"I've been able to watch many of his matches," Coffman coach Chance Van Gundy said. "Dom still has his trademark inside trips and throws in his arsenal. The 'wow factor' he possessed in high school hasn't gone away, either. You can really tell he's really bought into the importance of good position and stance. I believe it's made a world of difference in his development at the collegiate level."
Demas, who returned home because of the coronavirus, still has time to add to his family's wrestling legacy.
His older brother, Josh, is a 2010 Westerville North graduate who closed his prep career with a 166-13 record and two Division I state titles. He went on to wrestle for Ohio State.
Their father, Lou, still is involved in coaching the sport and helped guide Grove City sophomore Francesca Lanese to the title at 160 in the inaugural state girls tournament held Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Davidson.
Demas, who went 180-13 for the Shamrocks, also had planned to participate in the U.S. Olympic Trials, which were scheduled for April 4 and 5 at Penn State before being canceled because of the coronavirus.
Demas, who is majoring in management information systems, has tried to stay in shape during Gov. Mike DeWine's stay-at-home order by running and doing other workouts. Among his goals for next season are to win an NCAA title and prepare to compete at the Olympic Trials, which have been rescheduled for 2021.
"When Dom comes back to visit us at Coffman, his maturity (in terms of basic fundamentals and footwork) is impressive," Van Gundy said. "You can tell he enjoys being a mentor and role model to the wrestlers in our program."