COLUMBUS: A one-point deficit for the first time this postseason proved to be no big deal Saturday night for Nathan Tomasello.
Not following six minutes on the mat that concluded with Tomasello, a Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy senior, winning his fourth state wrestling championship.
Tomasello became the 23rd wrestler in the 76-year history of the state tournament to win four state titles when he defeated Carrollton senior Joey Miller with a 14-5 major decision in Division II at 120 pounds at Value City Arena at Schottenstein Center.
“I still can’t believe it,” Tomasello said. “I feel like I am still training for a fourth state title. It will hit me probably tomorrow. This is an amazing feeling having people appreciate my kind of style of wrestling. The fans and having my whole family and also having Harry Lester coming in from Colorado to see me win my fourth state title really means a lot. I thank God for helping me stay confident in that match when I gave up a takedown early.”
Miller led 3-2 in the first period, but Tomasello quickly recovered and built leads of 5-3 and 10-4 following the first two periods.
“Nathan is awesome,” said Lester, 29, a 2001 CVCA graduate, a four Division III state champion and an Olympian.
“It was kind of exciting there for a second when he almost got thrown, but then he just showed his resiliency to come back and finish the match off strong. He just wrestled like he normally does and got the win.”
Tomasello, a 5-foot-3 Ohio State recruit, finishes the season 51-0 and his career 178-5.
“Nathan did a tremendous job,” CVCA coach Dave Bergen said. “I had little doubt that he would win. I was calm until I sat in the chair, then the jimmies starting taking over a little bit. Nathan has the most wildly amazing work ethic. I have said this a million times. I know that he was ready and he wrestled that match in his mind probably a thousand times in the last 24 hours.”
When asked if he would get a workout in today, Tomasello said: “I will probably get a run in, probably three to four miles. Running not only helps me with my fitness, it also helps me think about stuff. I really want to soak this in for the next couple of days.”
Lester said he is not surprised that Tomasello, 18, will go for a run.
“Nathan is the hardest working person I have been around,” Lester said. “Not just high school wrestling, not just college wrestling and not just an Olympic athlete. He is the hardest-working person I know. He came out and trained with me. He deserves this. Once he does college and once he does the Olympic level, he will be in the elite with those guys also. I have no doubt.”
Irish, Tigers wrestlers win
Elsewhere in Division II, St. Vincent-St. Mary junior Aaron Adkins pinned Revere senior Stephen Suglio in 1:01 to win a state title at 195 pounds.
“I just kept my feet moving and I got him off balance,” Adkins said. “As soon I got my shot, I went after it. As soon as his head went down, I went and locked him up.”
Adkins, a member of the St. V-M Division II football state title team, helped the Irish to a third-place finish in the Division II team standings with 78.5 points. St. Paris Graham won the team title with 155.5 points.
“This could not have happened to a better kid,” St. V-M coach Anthony Gary said. “Last year, he came down to the state tournament and had some adversity. It seemed like he always has bad luck. … He was a match away from placing.”
In Division I, Massillon senior Ivan McClay won a state title at 126 by defeating Hilliard Davidson junior Bobby Smith 3-1.
“I was preparing all day for this, all year for this and my whole life for this,” McClay said. “It came down to six minutes and I knew I was ready. I trained hard every day. Literally every day, I thought at least one time about this. I can’t tell you how many times I walked that tunnel in my head. As soon as the whistle blew, I knew I had it.”
McClay is the first state champion in Massillon’s wrestling history.
“This is a dream come true,” McClay said. “I was holding back tears. You go your whole life trying to accomplish something and then when you accomplish it, you don’t have a word for it.”
McClay’s reaction on the mat was low key, but coaches and fans were emotional.
“This kid worked his butt off every day,” Massillon coach Gil Donahue said fighting back tears. “This is so sweet. I knew he had it in him ever since he was a little boy.”
Perry sophomore Jose Rodriguez (106, 42-2) and senior JoJo Tayse (46-7, 195) also won Division I state titles. Perry (105 points) was second as a team to Lakewood St. Edward (117 points).
In Division III, Waynedale senior Zack Nelson (126, 58-0) won a state title along with Waterloo senior J.J. Diven (138, 50-0), Rootstown junior Travis Linton (44-3, 170) and senior Jake Moore (220, 40-3).
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.