COLUMBUS - The ultimate goal for every wrestler at state is to be the one standing on the very top of the podium.
Coming into Friday, three local wrestlers still were in the race to climb to the top.
Columbian's Seth Williams (152 pounds) was still alive in Division II, while Seneca East's Damien Showman and Fostoria's Tony Reynolds (170) were in the winners' brackets in Division III.
As it turned out, the top prize eluded the area, as all three suffered defeats over the course of Friday's action.
Although the goal coming in was first place, a loss doesn't mean the dream is over. It just means the goal shifts.
All three will be competing today in the consolation bracket, which could take them as high as third.
Showman and Reynolds were knocked out in the championship quarterfinals, but each responded with wins in the consolation bracket. Williams scored a victory in his quarterfinal match, topping Ravenna Southeast's Brandon James, 6-2.
However, he met up with a familiar foe in the semifinals.
Milan Edison's Kyle Burns, a state champion from a year ago, avenged his only loss of the season the one Williams gave him a week ago in the district semifinals.
Burns stopped Williams with a 6-3 victory.
"He came with two dumps for takedowns on us and we got one," Columbian coach Chad Long said. "We just weren't able to capitalize on some of the bad shots he was taking. He's a state champ. Every match has been close, just so happens we lost this one."
Williams said after the match that there was a different tone to the match this time around.
"During the districts match, he was pushing the pace, attacking, always attacking. And I would correct on his missed shots and today it was me attacking and him correcting," he said.
Thanks to his opening win, Williams, only a sophomore, is now a two-time state placer. After coming in sixth last year, he has the opportunity to top that by winning one more match and getting the chance to wrestle for third place.
"That's the thing, we wanted to improve," Long said. "So we didn't get first or second, so we got to get third. That's definitely our focus now. We just got to switch focus and come back and go through the consolations and get third."
"I just got to come back, win my next match, go for third and fourth and see how it goes from there," Williams said.
Showman and Reynolds each dropped their quarterfinal matches, but responded furiously, posting two wins in consolation bracket.
Showman's championship quarterfinal against Andrew Hoskins of Jamestown Greenview was as close as a match could be. The match was scoreless for 5:50 seconds of the six regulation minutes. Showman, in the down position, looked poised to score a reversal, but Hoskins countered and got Showman on his back in the final seconds for the deciding three points.
"It's a tough way to lose," Seneca East coach Matt Depinet said. "Last couple seconds of the match, I thought we were going to get a reversal there to come out on top. But it was 0-0, we didn't really know what to expect from that kid."
However, Showman came back to take two consolation matches to lock up at least a sixth place finish, topping his eighth place finish from last year.
"It was pretty tough," he said. "It's been on my mind since the end of it. But when I finally got down there on the mat and the whistle blew, it kind of all went away. Then I was able to focus on that one completely."
Showman jumped out to a 7-0 lead before ending up with a 9-5 victory over Adam Reed of Cardington-Lincoln.
"I needed to get more game on my feet going, which I didn't do in the first match. It was good to get it going the second match and get that early lead so I could kind of sit back and be smarter. Not make mistakes like I did in the first one."
Already clinching a place, Showman looked to move higher with another win. The prospects seemed bleak as he was down 2-0 to Elmwood's Dustin Ferguson in the third period. However, Ferguson got called once for stalling giving Showman a point, then surrendered another for getting a third caution call.
With the match tied and into sudden victory, Showman scored a takedown to get the win.
"When there was 12 seconds left and I was down by a point, and he committed that third penalty to give me a point to tie it up, it really put a spark in me," he said. "Yeah I guess that was kind of the turning point I guess. He started driving into me pretty hard so I figured get an open drop, I could capitalize on a take down."
Reynolds also had a tough go of things in his opening match. He fell behind Trevor Linton of Rootstown 6-0 before bringing the match to 6-4. However, Linton reversed Reynolds, catching him on his back for a pin.
Fostoria coach Nick Davis said he thought Reynolds was wrestling better, just got caught in a bad spot.
"He was wrestling him well," Davis said. "He gave up those first points, then he came back from that and did pretty well. Got caught on his back, but I thought he was wrestling the kid really well. I think Tony was the better wrestler, that's my opinion, but I think he was the better wrestler in that match and the kid just caught him on his back."
However, just like Showman, Reynolds responded with an impressive performance in the consolation bracket. He responded from his loss by scoring a 15-0 technical fall over Plymouth's Logan Horn. Reynolds credited his win to his conditioning.
"I was going to push the pace the entire time because that's what we're taught," he said. "We condition so much and against most teams it looks like we have better conditioning, because their heads are down, bent over in the third period and I wasn't tired at all. I got my top game going. I was working him, turning him and I felt fine."
Reynolds came back in the evening to top Aaron King of New Lebanon Dixie 6-2.
All three will compete in the consolation semifinals once action resumes at 10 a.m. today. A win pushes a wrestler into the third-fourth place match, while a loss sends them into the fifth-sixth place match.