Upper’s Pritchard still alive at state wrestling tournament

COLUMBUS – The past few months have been a wild ride for Upper Sandusky’s Tylor Pritchard. After suffering a knee injury in football, Pritchard wasn’t sure he’d even get on the mat this year.

Friday, he was on the mat in a Division II 220-pound championship semifinal.

Pritchard locked up with Troy Caldwell of Plain City, Jonathan Alder, a 45-2 wrestler, but one of those losses came earlier this season to Pritchard.

Things were different this time around. The match was close and fairly even throughout, but the difference was just one move, where Caldwell caught Pritchard and got a pin late in the second round.

“It’s called a barrel-roll or a kip whatever you want to call it,” Upper Sandusky coach Chris Rodriguez said. “We knew that he was going to do that move. We told him and tried to stay out of it. The kid baited him very good with it. Unfortunately it worked to his favor and not ours.”

Pritchard said it was a matter of Caldwell taking him away from what he likes to do.

“I don’t like to wrestle tied up,” Pritchard said. “Really I like to stay out in space, block. He got in there, collar-tied me. Got ear-to-ear and was working his match. I wasn’t wrestling my match.”

Pritchard will have a chance to come back in today’s consolation round starting at 10 a.m. Pritchard can climb as high as third place, and will finish no worse than sixth place in the tournament.

“You really have to have a tough mentality to comeback,” Pritchard said. “I had to do the same thing last week to even get here. I’m going to get my mind right tonight. Come back tomorrow morning and go back at it.”

Though disappointed he fell short of making it to the finals, Pritchard said one loss won’t take away from what has been an exceptional week.

“I wrestled really tough (Thursday and Friday),” he said. “I still think I wrestled tough you know. He’s a good kid, top two in the state. Tomorrow I’m just going to come back, put my shoes back on and give the same effort I gave yesterday and today.”

“He worked hard,” Rodriguez added. “This week he did what he had to do to be successful. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out that way in the semifinals. But that doesn’t mean he won’t come out tomorrow morning and wrestle full-go. He’s a tough, resilient kid. I don’t think this will stop him from doing what he wants to do.”

The morning session was kinder to Pritchard, where he scored a 5-1 victory over Cole Genders of Amanda-Clearcreek in the quarterfinals.

Pritchard held a 2-1 lead late into the second round, where he scored three backpoints to seal the win.

“I know one of my strengths is riding guys out,” Pritchard said. “I was dropping to the leg when he’d come up, taking him back down to the mat, just looking for back points. I finally got him to his hip, was able to put on his back.”

Pritchard said he built off the confidence and momentum he gained from Thursday’s first-round win.

“I had to win that match. That was a big match for me,” he said. “I knew I had to win that much to get on the podium. Just to do that, then come out here, win another match by four points, it’s huge. Made my goal, I made the podium.”