Newark Catholic’s Caleb Ohl knew he had his work cut out for him before he stepped on the mat at Friday’s state wrestling tournament.
Facing two-time state placer Christian Clary of Dayton Christian, Ohl struggled to get anything going early, and Clary jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead.
As much as he tried, Ohl just couldn’t break through against the more experienced Clary, and fell by a technical fall, 18-3, in a Division III semifinal at Ohio State’s Value City Arena
“He was really physical and had good angles, and he worked his hands and was able to tie me up,” Ohl said. “I didn’t wrestle my best match, but he was tough. I watched him wrestle before, but it’s a lot easier said than done. You can say he does this and he does that, but it’s a lot harder to go out there and stop it.
“I knew he had some weird moves. I wrestled a good pace, and tried to kept moving, but he was able to slow me down. He pretty much controlled the match. I went out there and gave it everything I had, so I can’t be disappointed with myself.”
Newark Catholic coach Jason Boucher said although Ohl made some mistakes, which allowed Clary to score early and often, he knew Ohl would have to be at his best to have a chance.
“The kid is a two-time state placer for a reason,” Boucher said. “He can score from all positions and we knew we had our hands full going in. We didn’t really get our offense going the way we needed to and he was able to capitalize on some mistakes.
“That kid was a great defender. There’s probably not a lot he hasn’t seen, and sometimes it can be tough to break through that defensive barrier.”
Ohl was disappointed, but he is looking forward today where he will wrestle in the consolation semifinals against Findlay Liberty-Benton’s Tyler Sarreshteh.
Ohl, who went 0-2 in 2012 at the state tournament, still has a chance to place third with two wins today. He is going to be the Green Wave’s first state-placer since 2004.
“Making podium was definitely one of my goals this year,” Ohl said. “I made it here last year, and I definitely wanted to make the podium because it has been awhile since someone has placed. It feels good to make the podium, but it’s not over yet.
“I still have two matches, and hopefully I can go down to the consolation semis, win the next one, and get in there for third and fourth and see what happens from there. I’m looking forward to it.”
Boucher not only is looking forward to today, but he thinks the success Ohl has had at the state will only help his progression in 2014.
“We didn’t wrestle our best, but to get to the semifinals as a junior is a fantastic accomplishment, and it’s something to build off as we move into today,” Boucher said. “You can’t replace the experience he is gaining. He has continued to develop his game year after year.
“I’ve watched his offseason commitments each year, and the natural growth from sophomore year to junior year to get to the semifinals is great, and it will help him next year. The more you wrestle, the more you learn, especially when you are in big matches. He is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had and he is committed to the process.”