COLUMBUS — Miami Trace High School sent two wrestlers to the 82nd annual State tournament Thursday afternoon.
Sophomore Mcale Callahan qualified by placing third at the District meet at 138 pounds.
Senior James Munro (160) was making his second appearance at ‘The Show’ in as many years.
Callahan was the first to take the mat for the Panthers.
His opponent: senior Kyle Peterson of Aurora.
After a scoreless first period, Peterson scored twice in the second period, two near-fall points on both occasions.
The third period went by scoreless, giving Peterson the 4-0 decision.
Only moments later, on mat 2, Munro faced junior Ethan Hernandez of Norwalk.
Hernandez took a 5-0 lead at the end of the first period.
He got the pin of Munro with one minute remaining in the second period.
The Panther wrestlers had to go back and get ready for their next matches.
The first round of consolation matches for Division II began at 7:50 p.m.
The two Panthers were on adjoining mats (Nos. 4 and 6) for the consolation round matches.
Callahan had senior Eian Sherman of Sandusky and Munro faced senior David Rinehart of Canfield.
Callahan won his match, 5-2.
He will wrestle again Friday at 12:50 p.m.
Unfortunately, Munro lost a 13-5 major decision.
His senior season ends with a record of 49-4.
“Actually, I wasn’t exactly too nervous,” Callahan said. “I just knew that if I did get nervous, I wouldn’t wrestle my best. I just had to let loose. Overall, I thought I handled the nerves pretty well.
“That was a good kid (the first match), he was really tough on top,” Callahan said.
What did Callahan do during the three hours or so between matches?
“I just let that last match go,” Callahan said. “I knew I wrestled my hardest that last match and there was nothing else I could have done.”
Callahan spoke a bit about his first win at State.
“I just tried to stay calm for that match,” Callahan said. “That kid came out pretty quick but, I was able to use some funky moves to counter his quickness. That helped a lot.
“It’s great,” Callahan said, when asked about coming back for the second day of the State tournament.
“Last year, I didn’t even come here,” Callahan said. “Now, I’m on to the second day. Especially as a sophomore, I feel pretty accomplished.
“I will just wrestle it (Friday’s match) like any other match,” Callahan said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a match in practice or a match at the State tournament, I just have to realize it’s two men on a mat and whoever wins steps off it.”
“Mcale had a pretty tough kid from Aurora,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “We thought we could hang with him. On top and neutral, he’s a really good top wrestler. He caught us in two quick moves. That kid scored four points in about 20 seconds. I don’t know if that caught Mcale by surprise or out of position. Unfortunately, 20 seconds up here can make the difference in a match.
“Mcale did a good job of just putting that match behind him,” Fondale said. “Not focusing on the thing he did wrong or the surprises that happened in the first match, but started focusing on his next match.”
Fondale broke down Callahan’s second match.
“Mcale’s a really good defensive wrestler,” Fondale said. “So, when the kid got in on his legs, he was able to roll out of it and score two take downs at the end of the first period.
“At the end of the second period, we chose bottom,” Fondale said. “We got an escape, he got a take down on us and Mcale was able to reverse him with a quick cradle with about four seconds left. It was a real heads-up move, showing real mat awareness by Mcale, to realize there wasn’t much time left. When he gets a cradle locked up, he was able to get a reversal.
“Then we ended up riding him out the whole third period, pretty much,” Fondale said.
Fondale then spoke about his senior two-time State-qualifier, James Munro.
“It was a heart breaker for James,” Fondale said. “He was really expecting to place here after having such a great season. James Munro, he’s just a testament to hard work. From his seventh grade year all the way through this year, he’s just been lifting and he’s been committed to the sport. He would do extra workouts and ask questions. He wrestled during the summers. He put himself out there and made sacrifices for himself and for his teammates.
“I hope he realizes that he’s an absolute winner,” Fondale said. “All of those commitments and all of the hard work he put into this sport is going to pay dividends at the college level where he plans to wrestle. Whatever college has James wrestle for them is going to be lucky to have him. He puts his heart and soul into every practice. He’s a great example for the guys around him. He’s going to be a great leader in college. I’m sure he’s going to be a leader in the room. We’re excited for James to move on to the next level.
“We hate to see him go, he’s such a big part of our program,” Fondale said. “We know he’s on to bigger and better things and we couldn’t be more happy for him.”