COLUMBUS — District champion Branton Dawes, a 113-pound freshman from Washington High School, made his debut at the 82nd annual State Wrestling Tournament Thursday at the Schottentstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
His first match was against freshman Mark Emmerling of Lisbon Beaver.
It was a good start to the match for Dawes, as he took a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.
At the end of the second period, Dawes found himself trailing, 5-4.
Dawes ended up losing the match, 7-6.
He then had to regroup over the next three-something hours before his next match in the first round of consolation matches.
There it would be win or go home for the 113-pounder.
For Dawes, it would be a match in the consolation opening round against junior Jake Hamulak of Chardon.
The Washington freshman saw his season come to an end with a 8-1 loss.
Dawes was hampered by a cramp in his arm during the first match.
“I couldn’t open my hands or anything,” Dawes said. “It was hard to finish shots and hold him down in that match.”
“In his first match, he wrestled really well,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “When he started cramping up, it definitely affected the match. They say you worry whether your kids will be affected, mentally up here, but, that wasn’t the case.
“He came out and was confident,” Reid said. “He was ready to wrestle. When he came out, he got the first two take downs pretty easily. We thought we were good to go. Then, in the middle of the match, he let us know he wasn’t feeling really well and you could see it. That kind of changed the outcome of the match. But he wrestled really well.
“He was confident and ready to go for the second match,” Reid said. “We were wrestling a returning State-placer in that match. It was a close match going into the third period. He wrestled tough; it’s been a good season.
“First of all, just to make it here as a freshman, is an accomplishment in itself,” Reid said. “He won a District title and we thought we had a good chance and we really did. Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. We’re really proud of the year Branton had. He’s accomplished a lot. He’s put a lot of work in and it’s paid off. The work that he puts in in the off-season is going to pay off even more. Just because he didn’t place this year; he’s got three more years.”
Dawes was sporting a new hair color of light blond for the State meet. Coach Reid dyed his hair, as well, for the special occasion.
“I told Collin (George) that if I made it to State, I would dye my hair,” Dawes said. “When I made it I had it dyed.”
What about for next season?
“I just need to train harder, work on conditioning and get back to it next year,” Dawes said.
Dawes ends his freshman season with a final record of 39-4.
In other matches with wrestlers from the Frontier Athletic Conference, Jackson’s Brice Parks (170) defeated Collin Corapi of Bellevue, 12-4.
Hillsboro’s Lane Cluff (hwt.) pinned Daniel Wirth of Lisbon Beaver in 4:28.
McClain’s Kade Rawlins lost his first match to Tyler Stein of Canfield, a 15-3 major decision. In the first round of consolations, Rawlins suffered a pin by Skyler Wooley of East Liverpool in 1:31.