COLUMBUS — Miami Trace sophomore Mcale Callahan made a return appearance for Day Two of the 82nd Annual State Wrestling Tournament early Friday afternoon at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
It was the biggest match yet in the young career of Callahan — the match to place at State.
Callahan began his first State tournament with a loss and then a win to stay alive on Thursday.
In Friday’s second round of consolation matches, a win would guarantee a wrestler no worse than eighth place and a spot on the coveted State podium Saturday night.
Callahan’s opponent was senior Jacson Muldrew of Stuebenville.
It was a promising start to the match for Callahan.
The Panther 138-pounder trailed 2-0 at the end of the first period after a take down.
Callahan scored a reversal to tie the match, 2-2 in the second period.
The third period was where Muldrew made his move, scoring four points to take the 6-2 victory.
Muldrew (39-7) moves on.
For Callahan, it marked the end of a very successful season with a record of 47-7.
It was an important milestone for Callahan, to wrestle among and against the finest competitors from all corners of Ohio.
“The second period was our choice, we (chose) down and got a reversal,” Miami Trace assistant coach and four-time State placer Jacob Garringer said.
“In the third period, (Muldrew) started down and got a reversal,” Garringer said. “Then he got a cradle and put us on our back and got two near fall points.”
Callahan came close to placing, needing a win Friday. The good news is, he has gained priceless experience that he can put to use over the next two years.
“I treated it like just another match,” Callahan said. “I knew the added pressure of (trying to become) a State placer would just freak me out too much. I just said to myself, ‘I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and whatever happens happens.’ Just as long as I have no regrets, that’s all that matters.
“I worked (very hard) to get here,” Callahan said. “(This result) shows how much I can improve for next year and the year after that.”
Callahan said that he will forego a second season on the Miami Trace track team to focus on working in the weight room and wrestling in the spring. He has his sights set on a National tournament in July in Fargo, North Dakota. He plans to continue running cross country when the season begins in August.
“It hurts,” Garringer said. “It hurts being so close. We knew (Muldrew) was a real tough kid. We’ve seen his results. Once Cale got that reversal in the second period, he started to get that confidence. You could see it, he was going to work. Then he rode him out.
“Then we went to the third period and, sometimes, when you make one mistake, it hurts you up here,” Garringer said. “(Muldrew) hit a switch from the bottom. Cale kept circling with him and circling with him. He got his head a little too close to his knee and the kid got a cradle on him, locked him up, took him to his back and got his nearfall points. Once you’re down four points in the third period with 45 seconds left, it’s tough to come back on a tough kid like that.
“The awesome thing is, Cale is only a sophomore,” Garringer said. “He works his tail off all year. He’s one of the kids who, after our high school practice, he’ll go to another practice in Columbus. It’s not just one practice for him every day. All summer he’s doing something. He doesn’t sit around. We have some kids who need to look at Cale and see what he’s doing.
“He’s made huge strides from last year,” Garringer said. “Last year, Cale was sixth at Districts. This year, he makes it to State and wins a match. He was very close to placing, getting on the podium. We fell short. We’ve all fallen short (of our goals). You have to bounce back and figure something out this summer.
“We’re looking for big things from him the next two years,” Garringer said.
The Panthers last State-placers are Coby Hughes (sixth) and Jared Fenner (eighth) in 2017.
“Cale’s probably one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Fondale said. “During the season, in the off-season, in the weight room. He’s always asking how he can get better.
“He fell a little bit short of reaching his goal of placing this year,” Fondale said. “I don’t think anybody has any doubt that he has a lot to be proud of. We’re not totally happy how it turned out today, but, Cale’s a great kid with a great work ethic. We’re excited to have him for two more years. We’re excited to have him in the wrestling room as a leader for our younger guys coming up. It’s good have Cale around. A lot of the younger guys already look up to him, and rightly so.”