COLUMBUS — When Brunswick resident Tyler Maclellan arrived in Columbus, he was proud of the accomplishment of just making it to the state individual championships.
But after opening with a win on Thursday, Maclellan had more than a happy-to-be-there mentality.
It showed as the CVCA junior went on to place eighth in the Division II 170-pound bracket.
“My goal at the beginning of the year was just to make it to state at first, but once I got here, I realized I could place and all my hard work was going to pay off,” he said. “When I got here, my coaches told me that I prepared really hard this year and no one has wrestled the competition we have this year.
“After I won the first one, I got a lot of confidence in myself and after that I just kept going.”
Maclellan, state alternate as a sophomore, opened with an impressive 2-0 decision over Alec Eisnnicher of Sunbury Big Walnut and was able to bounce back from a loss in the championship bracket with an 8-1 victory over Bryan’s Brock Nagel.
Maclellan also got a kick out of watching a fellow 170-pounder in Brunswick’s Tyler Hughes, who he drilled with at least once a week during the season, wrestle for the D-I championship, as well as good friend Josh Heil, who placed third for the Blue Devils at 106 pounds.
Despite ending his season with a loss by pin in the seventh-place bout to Canfield’s John Poullas, Maclellan was able to put it all in perspective.
“I’m pretty happy with it,” said Maclellan, who finished the season with 40 wins. “I know I could’ve done better, but next year it just motivates me to work even harder. I want to be on the top.”
A little revenge
With Black River’s Sebastian Vidika already assured a spot on the podium, the junior was able to finish a little higher with a win over a familiar foe. Vidika’s consolation bout early Saturday was against Sandusky St. Mary’s Central Catholic’s Alex Smith.
Smith handed the Vidika his only regular-season loss — an 11-4 decision for the 106-pound championship at the J.C. Gorman Invitational.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match, so I just had to wrestle smart,” he said. “I learned (from the last meeting) that I just can’t wrestle stupid. I can’t give up points and have to capitalize off of his mistakes.”
Vidika, who was a match shy of placing at state last season, went on to place fourth overall after a loss to Hunter Bray of Dayton Christian in the third-place match.
As one of the lone veterans on a young squad, Wadsworth senior Mathias Zollinger saw his prep career come to an end with his first All-Ohio finish after failing to place a year ago.
Zollinger dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Mason Calvert of Sidney.
“I had a set of goals at the beginning of the season, and I accomplished nearly every single one of them,” he said. “One of them was to go out with a win. That didn’t happen, but I gave it all I got and that’s all I could’ve done.”
In the closing seconds of regulation, Zollinger broke out of Calvert’s hold, which would have been the escape needed to tie the match, but the officials ruled that Calvert was still in control as Zollinger broke free and went out of bounds as time expired.
While Zollinger didn’t get that final prep win, he finished the season with 46, become the 90th Grizzly to place in Columbus all-time after helping Wadsworth to its 21st consecutive Suburban League championship.
Luck ran out
After finding ways to pull out matches in the closing seconds and rallying from big deficits, Black River senior Mike Hozan came up short in his seventh-place match at 120 pounds.
Hozan, the school’s first three-time state placer, fell 8-7 in a marathon overtime match against Chandler Minnard of Bloom-Carroll after two 30-second tiebreakers.
“Sometimes you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield, and today I was the bug,” he said with a laugh. “I just to try and wrestle every last second and I knew that might have been it. I just tried to go hard until the very end.
“It was a fun ride. I hope I made everyone proud of me.”
St. Edward’s Dean Heil, the older brother of Brunswick wrestler Josh Heil, won his fourth state championship with an 8-0 decision over Uniontown Lake’s Zac Carson at 132 pounds. The Oklahoma State recruit was one of three wreslters — CVCA’s Nathan Tomasello and St. Paris Graham’s Bo Jordan were the others — to become four-time state champs, making 25 in state history.
l Speaking of the Eagles, the Lakewood-based private school won its state-record 28th team championship and 15th since 1997. The only team to win the D-I title in that span was Wadsworth in 2010.
l Former Highland two-time state champ Jesse Leng is the lead assistant for St. Paris Graham, which won its 15th state banner by claiming the D-II trophy. Leng won D-II titles in 1998 and 1999.
l More than 13,000 fans watched the championship matches Saturday night, making the five-session total 58,047 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.