COLUMBUS — Washington High School seniors Branton Dawes and Mason Mustain will be remembered in Blue Lion wrestling history as 2022 State-qualifiers.
Among thousands of competitors, the duo made it onto the biggest stage the sport of wrestling has to offer in Ohio. Only the best of the best make it to be one of 16 in their weight class from all corners of the Buckeye State.
Though neither wrestler was able to achieve the goal of placing in the top eight at State, they forever ensured that they will not be forgotten by the Washington Blue Lions for however long wrestling is a high school sport in Ohio.
On Friday, March 11, in the middle of the afternoon, Dawes (126 pounds) and Mustain (285) competed in the opening round of the 85th annual State tournament.
Dawes’ first match came against junior Larry Moreno of Wauseon. Moreno won that match with a 12-2 major decision.
Dawes came back later Friday evening to take on freshman Tyler Scharrer of Canfield. Scharrer won that match, 8-5, ending Dawes’ season. Dawes finished his senior year with a record of 36-6.
“Branton’s had a great career for Blue Lion wrestling,” Washington head coach Louis Reid told the Record-Herald Friday. “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.
“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.”
“The biggest thanks to Tyler Beedy,” Branton Dawes said. “He pretty much devoted 14 years of my wrestling career into making me who I am as a wrestler. He got me started and got me all the way to where I am now.
“Coach (Louis) Reid helped a lot in high school, he and (Todd) Mustain,” Dawes said. “They were a big part of my high school career.”
“I’m very proud of the career Mason has had,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “Obviously, we wanted to see him on the podium.
“For him to battle and even get here is great to see,” Reid said. “He’s had three years where we’ve had close calls. He’s been one of the best wrestlers in the state to not ever make it (to State); until this year.
“He’s beaten a lot of top-ranked kids over his career,” Reid said. “I couldn’t tell you how many he’s beaten. He’s even beaten kids who’ve made it onto the podium. We’ve seen a few today that are placing that he’s wrestled this year and beat.
“One of the things I am most proud about Mason is his work ethic,” Reid said. “He comes in and he leads by example. He works extremely hard. He doesn’t get down on himself. He’s composed. That’s what helped get him to the point today where he was in the placement round. He was right there where he could place.
“Even the match that he lost in the quarterfinals, if he would’ve won it would have put him into the semifinals,” Reid said. “He wrestled a really smart match. He didn’t change things up. A lot of kids come up here and switch things. He wrestled his style. He just wasn’t able to come out on top, but, he wrestled really well.”
Mustain ended his senior season with a record of 40-8.
“I think he’s going to go on to bigger and better things,” Reid said. “He’s looking at wrestling in college. He still has a lot more potential he hasn’t reached. I think he’ll be a good college-style wrestler.
“He’s been a great example for our kids,” Reid said. “At the high school, junior high, little kid level, he’s come all the way through the program. Not only is he a good wrestler, he’s a good young man.
“These two seniors that we had this year, it’s going to hurt the program a lot when we lose them,” Reid said. “You can’t replace kids like those. I’m very thankful to have moments like these with these kids. No, I don’t like seeing them lose; I wanted them on the podium.
“But, getting to know them, getting to see them grow over the years,” Reid said. “They’re family, too. It’s not great to see them leave, but when you see them grow up and mature before you and go on to better things, it makes you happy.
“I am very happy that he was able to get here to the State tournament,” Reid said. “To have an opportunity to even wrestle and place. It’s a small percentage who get here.”
“I would definitely say I left it all out there today,” Mason Mustain said. “It just stinks that the outcome is like this.”
“Mason’s a quiet kid,” his father, and coach, Todd Mustain said. “He’s a man of few words. I’m proud of him. He does everything he can to make his mom and me proud and that’s all I could ask for.
“I’ve coached him his whole life and now I just get to completely be dad,” Mustain said. “If he goes on to wrestle in college, it’ll be for another coach. He’s looking at Ashland and Findlay. I’m glad you can’t put emotion in print, this is tough.
“We share a lot,” Mustain said. “He’s accomplished and made it farther than I did. He makes me proud.”
“I’d just like to thank my family,” Mason Mustain said. “All of my coaches and my dad for being my coach.”
“That’s what’s been special,” Todd Mustain said. “I coached Mason this year with Tyler Beedy, who was one of my wrestlers. Tyler is a guy who has continued to give back to the program.
“I know Mason and Branton will both continue to give back to the program, too,” Mustain said. “It’s been fun to be able to do that.
“I don’t want to leave out Coach (Marlin) Ellis,” Mustain said. “He’s been Mason’s main practice partner throughout the year. (Ellis) is a great asset to our program.
“Louis and I have been at this for over 20 years,” Mustain said. “It’s been a journey. We started coaching at the same time (2001). He’s had a part in raising Mason with me, all that time. Mason has kept us young. It’s been good.
“We have up and coming coaches in the program, too, who are going to do big things for Court House,” Mustain said. “I’m excited to watch Mason continue his wrestling career, if he chooses to do so. He’s a great kid. He makes us proud in everything he does.”