All beat up and trying to get air into his lungs so he could speak, Northmor senior Tyler Beck still managed to flash a wide smile following his title match Saturday night in the 76th Ohio High School Athletic Association Individual State Wrestling Tournament.
Beck was as ecstatic as his body would let him because he had just beaten a nemesis and won a state championship in the process.
Beck scored an extremely physical 6-4 overtime win over North Baltimore’s Dalton Ishmael in the Division III 195-pound weight class title match.
Beck had faced Ishmael in each of the last two state meets, and he had lost both encounters.
“This is what I’ve worked eight or more years for,” he said.
Ishmael (45-2), a senior and the all-time, all-divisions pin leader in Ohio, is now a three-time state placer.
Beck (50-1) had previously placed eighth in the state at 189 pounds in 2011.
Beck hit a takedown in overtime to complete a rally from 3-0 and 4-2 deficits.
“The farther the match went, the more confident I was and it all fell into place,” he said.
Both wrestlers were bloodied by match’s end, and Beck actually wound up on the arena floor after his momentum from nailing a third-period takedown to tie the score 4-4 took him off of the elevated mat.
“It didn’t hurt at all when I hit the floor. I’m not sure if it was my adrenaline or what,” Beck said.
Beck’s lone loss this season was a 15-0 setback in December at the J.C. Gorman Invitational in Mansfield to Lexington senior Josh Lehner (52-0), the Div. II 195-pound state champ this year.
Northmor coach Scott Carr has had five state finalists in his five years at the Golden Knights’ helm. Tyler Heminger was a state champ for him in 2011.
Many coaches, such as Carr, who have state finalists don suit and tie for their title matches on the big stage in the Jerome Schottenstein Center’s Value City Arena.
“It’s always nice to leave Morrow County with a suit in your hand and have a chance to put it on,” Carr said.
Two of Beck’s Northmor teammates, Jamie Baldridge and Colin Visconti, scored place finishes in the finals Saturday, as did Buckeye Valley’s DaShawn Haynes.
Baldridge (47-7) capped off his junior season with a fifth place at Div. III 145 pounds. Visconti (24-9), a senior, wrapped up his career with an eighth at Div. III 152.
Haynes, a 45-8 junior, captured seventh in Div. II’s 126-pound weight division.
Baldridge downed Ian Baker of Shadyside 7-6 in his match for fifth, a bout which got a little closer than Baldridge would have liked near its conclusion.
Baldridge led 6-2 after two periods before Baker scored a late takedown to eventually get to within one point.
“I gave up a takedown I shouldn’t have,” Baldridge said. “I got flat-footed.”
He could have finished as high as third, but he fell 4-1 in his first consolation match Saturday to Thomas Williams of Johnstown Northridge.
Baldridge admitted he was a little sluggish in that match.
“It’s been a long three days here,” he said. “Your body wears down, and I was real sore.”
With the loss of Beck and Visconti to graduation this spring, Carr is counting on Baldridge to be a team leader next season.
“I think he has some things to work on, but I hope he can step up and be a strong, positive leader,” Carr said.
Visconti lost 5-3 to Seth King of Gates Mill Hawken in his match for seventh.
Nonetheless, his two wins at the state this season and his place finish were better than the 0-2 ledger he had here last year.
“I feel better about this year, but I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to,” Visconti said. “I am happy with the fact I came back the way I did from the injury.”
Visconti came a long way from his first dual match of the season in which he tore up his right knee. He wrestled on it for a while but finally had surgery in January before returning to the mats.
“What he did to get here and what he did here, it’s a tribute to his will and heart,” Carr said. “He will be missed.”
Haynes wrestled at Pleasant under open enrollment his freshman year but returned to his home school two seasons ago.
He decisioned Santana Villarreal of Defiance 9-4 to win his place finish.