While it was Tri-Valley’s Kade Kowalski who brought home a state wrestling title to the Muskingum Valley League on Saturday, two other local wrestlers earned All-Ohio status.
One of those wrestlers — Sheridan’s Evan Loughman — had the MVL’s previous state wrestling champion with him to provide guidance.
Drew Carpenter, a former General heavyweight and now assistant coach, was unhappy with how his protégé wrestled in his consolation semifinal match.
“He was too cautious,” Carpenter said.
The junior responded in his final match, pinning Toledo Central Catholic’s Jquan Fisher at the 3:43 mark to earn fifth place and All-Ohio honors at the Division II state meet at Ohio State’s Value City Arena.
“I didn’t end the weekend where I wanted,” Loughman said. “But it’s still top five in the state and it’s always nice to get a win in your last match of the season.”
Crooksville senior Jordan Burkholder (106) also earned All-Ohio honors by finishing eighth. He lost his final match to Akron Manchester’s Joey Bowen 6-0.
Loughman started the morning against Warren’s Brandon Pahl and seemed out of sorts in a 10-4 loss.
In the fifth-place match, Loughman and Fisher traded points before the Sheridan wrestler got the crucial takedown and ensuing pin.
“He wrestled his match,” Carpenter said. “Because he did that, he wound up getting the win.”
Burkholder never could really get going against Bowen, and it’s the second consecutive season Bowen beat him in his final match.
Ceramics coach Jeremy White still is proud of what Burkholder has accomplished.
“I can’t put into words what he has meant to our program,” he said. “Being a two-time state qualifier and making All-Ohio his senior year is a great motivator for future wrestlers.”
As for Loughman, he’s back in 2014-15 and assistant coach Chris King said there are some elements that need fine-tuning.
“We need him to better understand match situations and start eliminating things that put him at risk,” he said. “This is not his final event so we will continue to work on him and hopefully the result will improve next season.”
Carpenter also thinks he could make his final season a special one.
“I think he has the potential to be a state finalist,” he said. “We’ve just got to get him comfortable and ready to wrestle for three full periods.”