Carey’s May runner-up

PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO Carey 182-pounder Tanner May tries to get control of Bluffton’s DeAndre Nassar during the Division III championship match in Columbus Saturday.

COLUMBUS — Carey junior Tanner May said he thought the Division III 182-pound state title match with Bluffton’s Deandre Nassar Saturday night went exactly how he thought — except the outcome.

The two wrestlers didn’t face each other this season, but they were aware of what the other was doing through the season and at the state wrestling tournament at the Jerome Schottenstein Center this weekend.

Nassar came into the bout 47-0, while May was 47-2.

The first period started with a quick two points from Nassar, setting the tone in the match. May got an escape to get within 2-1 at the end of the first period.

Nassar scored an escape in the second period to lead 3-1 after two, but May got another escape with 1:52 left in the third period to make things interesting. Down 3-2, May tried to create something offensively, but Nassar, built like a tree trunk, didn’t give an opening.

May tried for a takedown with 15 seconds left, but left the reversal open as Nassar won the match 5-2 and won the state title.

“I thought it was a good match. Nassar was a good kid. I went out there and did my best,” May said. “If you don’t go for it, you’re not going to win. Might as well lose by three better than losing by one. A loss is a loss at the state tournament. I went for it. He moved his leg before I got it, spun behind me and got two.

“Both our defenses are really good. In that match, his offense was just a little better than mine. We got ahold of each other at the beginning of this year and it was about the same as that (title match). It was pretty close. He got one takedown on me and I didn’t get any. It was pretty similar.”

Carey coach Ryan Pratt agreed with May’s evaluation with the match as Nassar didn’t give anything to his wrestler, but another season ending at state — and this time in the finals — is still something sweet.

“The match kind of went exactly how I thought it was going to. It was going to come down to a takedown for both of them. I knew we could get out right away if we got taken down to make it 2-1 and I knew we’d get another escape with our choice of picking down, which did work,” Pratt said. “That first takedown did put us behind a bit, but we still had opportunities. He shot right up until the end. If he takes him down, we’re up by one.

“But he’s had an amazing state tournament and the ride’s been fun. I just thought the match went the way I wanted it to, but I know Deandre, I’ve been watching him for four years. He’s a good kid. They know each other and hats off,” he said. “Tanner did what he could. They both went at each other, but unfortunately we came out on the short end.”

With plenty of motivation gained from a runner-up finish this season, May will enter his senior season a three-time state qualifier and placer. He was sixth (182 pounds), fifth (170) and now adds a second.

“I made the podium the past two years and just wrestling those high-level-caliber kids — I mean all of them that are on the podium are great — but just wrestling those kids really helped me push to the finals this year,” May said.

“There’s just one spot (left). I tell myself every year to finish higher than the year before, so there’s just one spot higher than this year,” he said. “So hopefully next year the goal is to finish on top of the podium next year.”