COLUMBUS — The Washington Blue Lions sent two seniors to the 85th annual State wrestling tournament held at The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center Friday, March 11.
Branton Dawes was competing at 126 pounds and Mason Mustain was in at heavyweight.
For the Blue Lions, Dawes was up first and sustained a 12-2 major decision setback to junior Larry Moreno of Wauseon.
The loss gave Dawes a record of 36-5.
He had a good bit of time before he was due back on the mat for a match in the first round of consolations.
Mustain won his first match by a 2-1 score against sophomore Alex Griffith of Galion.
Next up for Mustain is a match Saturday morning against senior Alistair Larson of Woodridge.
Woodridge is now 42-1 after winning his match of senior Wellington Lowe of Trotwood-Madison by pin in 1:01.
Mustain’s win raised his record of 40-6.
“Branton is in a really solid bracket at 126,” Washington coach Todd Mustain said. “It’s one of the tougher brackets here at the tournament.
“He wrestled tough,” Mustain said. “He put himself in some good positions. He caught that guy in some danger zone positions where, if some things might have gone our way, he might have had some backs, some reversals.
“It didn’t go his way,” Mustain said. “The kid rode tough on top.”
“It was a tough match-up,” Dawes said. “I just have to win the next one to stay in it.”
For Dawes, the next match came against freshman Tyler Scharrer of Canfield. Scharrer was pinned in :54 by senior Matt Ellis of Waynesville.
“This is Mason’s first time at State and he won his first match,” coach (and father) Todd Mustain said. “This match was really big for him because of where he would have dropped down to. Now it’s one more match and he places.
“He gets to sleep well tonight, come back tomorrow and hopefully (win his next match) and place,” Mustain said.
“I tried to stay away from the nerves as much as I could,” Mason Mustain said. “I just paid really close attention to the guy I was wrestling and wrestled a smart match.”
Coming back in the consolation round Friday night, Dawes faced freshman Tyler Scharrer of Canfield.
Scharrer won the match, 8-5.
“It wasn’t how I wanted it to end,” Dawes said. “(Wrestling) is still going to be around my whole life. My (high school career) part of it is done now. I’m ready to see where else it takes me.”
“Branton’s had a great career for Blue Lion wrestling,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “He’s in our top 10 in career wins. He’s been to the State tournament twice. A lot of wrestlers their whole career never, ever make it here.
“He and Mason have done nothing but lead by example,” Reid said. “Because of that, it’s inspired a lot of our younger wrestlers.
“Branton’s work ethic from wrestling has already carried over,” Reid said. “He has himself a job. His work ethic from wrestling has carried on to other parts of his life.
“I’m sad to see him not place,” Reid said. “And I know he is, too. But, he gave it all he had. He’s always done that. I’m just proud of him. I really am.
“He wrestled two tough matches,” Reid said. “He’s a lot smaller than a lot of the kids out there. We’re probably giving up five or six pounds in this weight class. He’s wrestled like that all year and he’s wrestled well. Up here it made a little bit of a difference.
“He’s had a great career with 155 career wins,” Reid said. “He’s second all-time in pins for the Blue Lions with 108 career pins. When you think about that, it’s incredible. He’s right up their with Paul Gryniuk.
“It’s tough right now, but, he’s going to go on to bigger and better things,” Reid said.
Dawes finished his senior season with a record of 36-6.