In my many years of watching high school sports, I would argue the state wrestling championships last weekend in Columbus were the best ever. Considers this:
*The Wadsworth-St. Edward shootout for the Division I championship was unprecedented with two teams essentially dominating the rest of the state.
*When can anyone recall the big school division team race boiling down to the final three matches of the year?
*The Grizzlies end 13 straight years of St. Edward domination.
*How strange was it that Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia in his 26th season wins the title the same weekend he is inducted into the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame?
*Paige Nemec of Crestwood became the first girl to reach the state championship and won a consolation match.
*Logan Stieber of Division III state champion Monroeville became the 19th four-time state champion.
Behind the scenes, sportswriters wondered if Wadsworth would "choke" on Friday in the quarterfinals and semifinals as it was perceived it did a year ago. The Grizzlies instead took up the challenge.
It was also a bit annoying that a few writers moaned about the attention Nemec received. Why? I really don't understand it because this was an extraordinary moment and she is a very talented and nice young lady.
Weirdly, Division II state champion St. Paris Graham's domination was hardly mentioned. Call it presumption of victory.
OHSAA director of communications Tim Stried did an informal poll about the tournament. My complaint is that with nine and 10 mats going, it has become impossible to really watch individuals. It is so confusing for spectators until the three division championship matches are run on Saturday night.
Two other notes: we did not see hissy fits by wrestlers disputing controversial official calls.
I just wish the public could see losing wrestlers underneath the stands after a tough and/or championship matches. It is only then that you realize that sports teaches a life lesson - just because you work, it does not guarantee victory, but it does make you a better person.