COLUMBUS: Lake junior Zac Carson is flirting with perfection on the mat.
Carson upped his record to 45-0 with a 17-2 victory Thursday over Medina sophomore Zach Defraine at 145 pounds in the opening round of the Division I state wrestling tournament at Value City Arena in the Schottenstein Center.
“It is just great to be back,” said Carson, a state runner-up last year at 132. “It is great to be down here under the lights and in this atmosphere. Everything is just awesome.”
Carson said he doesn’t dwell on being undefeated, but embraces that an undefeated season means he is No. 1 in his weight class Saturday night.
“Zac has done a great job all year long,” Lake coach Mike Mattingly said. “He is focusing very hard. He came up a little short last year after making it to the finals. He just takes it one at a time and has a good head on his shoulders. He doesn’t get too high or too low, he just stays after people, has good technique and lets the match come to him.”
Hudson senior wrestler Michael Coleman is trying to determine if he wants to attend Navy or Army next year. His decision will be made sometime soon, and Coleman hopes to make it with a Division I state championship to his name.
Coleman got one step closer Thursday when he defeated Springboro senior Joe Kylin 14-1 at 160 pounds in the opening round.
“I just take it one match at a time,” Coleman said. “I don’t want to jump ahead or anything. These are always tough matches at state. You always have some nerves, but you have to learn to control them and use them to your advantage.”
Coleman, who is 35-2 this season, placed fourth at state last year. He needs two wins today and one victory Saturday to be a state champion.
“Michael took control and stayed in good position, which is what we want to do,” Hudson coach Joe Caniglia said. “It is nice to get that first win out of the way.”
Coleman has a 3.6 grade-point average and has been accepted to Army and Navy with the proper nominations.
“He is more mature and experienced this year,” Caniglia said. He has worked very hard and is putting himself in better position to be successful. On and off the mat, he leads a very disciplined lifestyle and he is focused.”
Lake senior Alec Cotton (126, 40-6) and sophomore Andrew McNally (152, 41-6) also won a first round match Thursday.
Perry advanced 10 of its 11 wrestlers to today’s championship quarterfinals and is atop the team standings with 31 points. Brecksville is second with 19 points.
Panthers seniors Tommy Genetin (106, 42-6), David Bavery (126, 48-5), Casey Sparkman (152, 48-5), Tony Dailey (160, 40-4), Isaac Bast (170, 48-7) and Stefano Millin (220, 41-9) each went 1-0 Thursday with juniors Jose Rodriguez (113, 26-2), Jake Newhouse (120, 38-9), Jason Spencer (132, 37-12) and Nick Steed (138, 27-5).
“Our kids did very well,” Perry coach Dave Riggs said. “We had a couple of tough bouts. We won some close ones, had a few pins and had a couple of [injury] defaults.”
Three Walsh Jesuit wrestlers went 1-0 Thursday; sophomore Alex Mackall (120, 37-7), senior Nolan Whitely (132, 33-4) and senior Michael Kostandaras (138, 37-6).
“That was probably one of my most nerve-wracking matches,” Kostandaras said. “Both years prior to this, I lost my first one down here, so that one felt really good to get out of the way. Last year, I didn’t make it to state, but the two years before that, I came here with high expectations to place real high and do well, but I lost my first match both years.”
Wadsworth sophomore Noah Baughman (106, 44-3) and junior Tim Knipl (170, 35-5) both won their opener Thursday, and so did Nordonia seniors Mike Decesare (145, 34-5) and Alex Woicehovich (220, 31-3).
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.