By BRAD BOURNIVAL
The train left the station three weeks ago and no one has been able to track it down yet.
Rolling along in a sea of second- and third-place finishes, Highlandâ€™s Logan Gresock wasnâ€™t expecting much and then it hit.
A Suburban League quarterfinal match with Wadsworthâ€™s Louden Gordon resulted in an 8-7 loss and an eventual third-place conference finish. What it did to his confidence, on the other hand, has been seen in the last two weeks for the Highland 135-pounder.
â€œHe was nervous and gave up five points in the first period but then outscored Louden 7-3 the rest of the way,â€ Highland coach Mark Savoia said. â€œWe kept telling him he had the tools, he just needed the confidence. After that, he realized he was that good.
â€œHereâ€™s a kid that was always second or third and then, â€˜Boom,â€™ to turn it around, it gave him the confidence.â€
He rolled into the Highland District as the top seed and then untracked Parma Paduaâ€™s Mike Sustar with a pin and then tech falled Vermilionâ€™s Anthoney Budka before winning by major decision over Parma Heights Holy Nameâ€™s Matt Szucs.
The sectional victory not only marked the first postseason title of Gresockâ€™s career, it was the juniorâ€™s first tournament win in high school or junior high.
â€œIâ€™ve never been confident going into matches,â€ Gresock said. â€œBut IÂ realized I shouldnâ€™t be playing other peopleâ€™s games. Just let it happen.
â€œThat was a big confidence booster. I knew I had a good chance of winning and started to get more confident and everything just started clicking.â€
So much so, in fact, that Gresock repeated the feat last weekend at Fostoria with another strong showing.
A technical fall over Celinaâ€™s Cody Doner lead to a pin of Willardâ€™s Jeff Goineâ€™s in the semifinals.
That brought even more confidence as Gresock stopped Bryanâ€™s Shayne Combs in the semis before besting Rossfordâ€™s Jordan Wray 4-2 in the finals.
â€œSome of the moves he wasnâ€™t hitting before heâ€™s hitting now,â€ Savoia said. â€œTo win district was big. He should place and that will definitely help next year.
â€œWho knows? Maybe he even walks through this weekend.â€
While an opening-round match against projected state runner-up Brad Wukie of Hunting Valley University School will be difficult, itâ€™s not out of the question for Gresock to go far in the state tournament.
Though he doesnâ€™t expect much, Gresockâ€™s style matches up with the best of them and heâ€™ll need that to roll through a projected semifinal match with the perceived champion in Chase Skonieczny.
â€œThatâ€™s how state champs are made,â€ Savoia said. â€œHeâ€™s been down there several times in the stands. Loganâ€™s pretty focused. Weâ€™ll worry about whoâ€™s next after the match.â€
Bournival may be reached at email@example.com or 330-721-4045.