Slamming at state

COLUMBUS – Seth Williams says his first match is always his worst. If a second-round pin is his worst performance, it could be a special weekend for the Columbian senior.

Williams took care of Steven Frazier of Duncan Falls Philo in 3:24 to advance to the championship quarterfinals of the 170-pound weight class in the Division II state wrestling tournament.

“Just like always, first match is always my worst. So, I just tried to get it out of the way,” Williams said. “I got to cool myself down, get a good warm-up in and look forward to tomorrow.”

Columbian coach Chad Long said he was pleased with Williams’ performance in his opener, and that he wrestled a bit of a different style than what is common.

“I thought he wrestled very well,” Long said of the returning state runner-up. “On top he did a little more ground-and-pound than he usually does. He usually does a lot of takedowns and so forth.”

Takedowns built Williams an early lead, but Long and Williams saw openings to go for a pin.

“We took him down the first time and then kicked him out, took him down,” Long said. “Then we saw we could turn the kid in many different ways and that’s what we did against him.”

Williams said that’s a part of his game he needs some work on his quest for a state title.

“I’m definitely trying to work on top a little more,” Williams said. “On my feet, my game’s there. Just trying to work on top.”

Williams is back in action this morning against Russell Miller of Washington Courthouse Miami Trace in the quarterfinals.

But while his career keeps going, another great career came to an end in teammate Mason Correll.

The 152-pounder started the day against Granville’s Dain Steffeny in the opening round. Steffeny held on to a 2-0 late. Correll was almost able to come up with a reversal to tie, but was only able to get a one-point escape in the final seconds to fall 2-1.

“I almost had it a couple times, but there’s nothing you can do about it,” Correll said. “Just go out and wrestle your best your next match.”

“That was a state placer from last year. We knew it was going to be a tough round for Mason,” Long said. “It was 2-1, it was close. Unfortunately we came out losing by one.”

Correll drew Kenon Bowling of Western Brown in the consolation match. The match stayed scoreless into the third period with Correll in the down position. Correll was trying for an escape when he got caught in a slam by Bowling. Correll ended up on his back and couldn’t get free, and a great career came to an end.

Though he didn’t end up with a place, Correll did accomplish something not many are able to do in qualifying for state two years in a row.

“It’s nice. My goal this year was to be able to make it to the podium, but sometimes you don’t always meet your goals,” Correll said. “But I think it’s a great accomplishment I made it down here two years in a row.

“I like to thank my coaches. They’ve been there for me the entire time win or lose. They teach me. When I lose they tell me what I did wrong and I always learn from that. I had a good career overall. I know not many people get to make it to state so I feel pretty good about myself about that.”

Also exiting the tournament on Day 1 was Fostoria’s Luke Leonard. It would hard to find two tougher ways to lose than what Leonard endured.

Leonard faced off with Canfield’s Georgio Poullas in the 126-pound opening round. Leonard jumped out to a 3-0 lead but trailed 5-3 late in the third period. Leonard tied things up with a reversal with 20 seconds left.

However, he wasn’t able to hold Poullas down, and gave up an escape with 11 seconds left to lose 6-5.

“I was very confident it would’ve went to overtime,” said Fostoria coach Nick Davis. “Luke’s a pretty decent wrestler on top. S I just figured we were set for overtime, but it wasn’t to be.”

Overtime, though was meant to be in his consolation match with Elijah Cochran of Kenton Ridge. Leonard was able to again rally and force and sudden victory period. But, Leonard got caught and taken down to end his tournament run after a 4-2 loss.

“That’s a tough way to end the season, but he’s had a really great season. I’m really proud of him,” Davis said. “I thought he wrestled really well. That was a heck of weight class he ended up in, three returning state champs. He wrestled hard, I’m proud of him.

“He was looking to tie up and when he looked to tie up the kid shot underneath of his arms and caught him off guard there. Just got to be ready.”

Prior to coming to Columbus, Leonard said nearly missing out on a trip last year fueled him to make it this year. Now, Davis feels Thursday’s close losses will fuel Leonard’s senior season next year.

“Knowing Luke I believe so,” Davis said. “That’s the way he is. He’ll use this as fuel. He’ll be back in the wrestling room very quickly.”