COLUMBUS - One of professional wrestling's best wrestlers used to say "To be the man, you got to beat the man."
The same can apply to high school wrestling as well.
Nelsonville-York's Zach Mays was the man. Fostoria's Tony Reynolds beat him.
Mays was the state champion of the Division III 170-pound weight class a year ago, where Reynolds finished sixth. In their championship semifinal, Mays struck first, but Reynolds controlled the rest of the way, scoring an 8-2 victory to move to today's state championship match, highlighting the local efforts in the Division III state tournament.
Reynolds said his philosophy was simple.
"I just got to wrestle my hardest every match," he said. "Because as a senior, I know that if I don't wrestle my hardest, I don't want to leave the state tournament like 'What if I would've done this and maybe this would happen.' So I just leave it all out there on the mat and it does what it does,"
And what it did was land Reynolds in today's championship match against Travis Linton of Rootstown.
Despite Mays' credentials, Reynolds and his coach Nick Davis were confident heading into the semifinal, since they were well familiar with Mays' signature move.
"Mays couldn't get that kip. Some people call it a barrel roll, some people call it a short fireman's, we call it a kip. He couldn't get it," Davis said. "That's one of my favorite moves and I've been hitting it on Tony for four years. He knows how to stop it. He can stop mine pretty good. I think if he can stop mine he can stop anybody's. He was able to stop that. I think that really took Mays out of his game when he couldn't take him down."
"He didn't really have any leg defense, which was pretty good for my behalf," Reynolds said. "I feel like my conditioning was a lot better than his because come third period, I knew that he was mentally broken, that there was no way he was going to come back."
Earlier in the day, Reynolds won a wild quarterfinal against Dom Johns of Coshocton 16-11. Reynolds led 9-6 after the first period and 13-10 after two.
"Starting off I wasn't as concentrated as I should've been," Reynolds admitted. "It was more of a wild match. But then, once I started slowing down, thinking about my moves and concentrating, that's when I gained control of the match. He was a lot more tired than I was, and once he got tired, he got kind of sloppy and that's when I took over the match and controlled it from there on out."
Two others remain alive in the Division III consolation bracket that could take them as high as third place. Buckeye Central's Shawn Kissell picked up a pair of victories Friday. First, Kissell rallied from being down to Jacob Hanzel of Akron Manchester 4-0 in the third period, to score a pin and move on.
"I was down four and I didn't want this to end," he said. "I got him on his back, and wasn't going to let him go."
In the night session, Kissell dominated Connor Careless of Norwalk St. Paul for an 8-0 decision. Kissell is just the second wrestler from Buckeye Central to place at the state meet.
"It's awesome. You can't really put it in words," he said. "Now I'm going for as high as I can, hopefully get third."
Alex Kenner at 152-pounds is the lone Upper Sandusky Ram remaining out of the six that made the trip to Columbus.
Kenner began his day in the championship quarterfinals, but dropped a 16-6 decision to Bluffton's Zach Wilson. Kenner responded with a 10-1 win over Seth Knoll of Riverdale, and a second round pin of Seth King of Gates Mills Hawken to advance to the consolation semifinals.
"I lost my first match today so I figured I'd come back with a win, push my pace and wrestle my match," he said. "I had to forget about that match and go to the next one."
After teammates Thurston Dyer (106) and Carson Mengerink (113) lost consolation matches Friday morning, Kenner said he was inspired to carry the flag for his team.
"We lost our two lightweights early. It just gave me a boost to keep going and win it for them," he said.
Dyer lost a 1-0 decision to Jake Adkins of Johnstown Northridge while Mengerink lost 5-1 to Tyler Sarreshteh of Liberty-Benton.
Mengerink, only a junior, is already eager to make another run at state next year.
"After not making it the last couple years, it was definitely a pushing point for me to say, you finally made it, and you got to work and give it everything you got," he said. "Last match, I don't know, I didn't feel good, not trying to make excuses. I don't think I was ready, I don't think I went out ready and that was definitely one of my problems. It's more fuel to give me that fire next year.
"It definitely going to drive me to get back down here and get on the podium. I'm going to be a senior and I don't want to fall short again."
Carey's Brayden Leist had an up-and-down day. However, it did land him a spot on the podium.
Leist dropped a championship quarterfinal to Dylan Marthey of Massillon Tuslaw 6-3, where one five-point move scored by Marthey proved to be the difference. Leist responded by scoring an 11-7 win over Kenny Price of Archbold to lock up a spot on the podium.
Leist was down 4-1 against Price, but rallied for the win.
"I was just going out there to wrestle, got off balance and got put down. I just bounced back and kept my level head," he said.
Leist added that it wasn't hard to put his first loss out of his mind.
"This is state. Obviously you now everyone's good so you just got to wrestle through it," he said. "It wasn't that hard to come back. Like I said, everyone's good so you can't get down on yourself."
Leist's day ended with a 3-1 loss to Lorain Clearview's Matt Hollingsworth, which puts him in today's seventh-place match.
Mohawk's Grant Price didn't have the success he was hoping for on the second day of his third state tournament. In the morning's championship quarterfinals, Price lost to Mays in a third round pin. He went to the consolation bracket where he fell to Jimmy Spieth of Liberty Center 10-5.
"He came out , won that first match (on Thursday)," Mohawk coach Bud Cook said. "It's tough when you lose and you bounce down and you got to try to refocus. I thought he was there and again, it's just all part of it I guess."
Cook was emotional speaking of how much a three-time state qualifier in Price has meant to the Mohawk program.
"Third time coming down, each year you seem to build on expectations," he said. "It hurts when they fall a little short. That one there is going to sting everyone there for a while, but in time I think everyone will move forward.
"Of all the ones I can remember, he's the third one (to make state three times). He put together quite a career. Any time you make this trip its saying something about the hard work and determination that individual has."
The consolation round resumes today at 10 a.m. with the championship round starting at 5:45 p.m.