COLUMBUS — Collin Riley didn’t expect his weekend to end so soon.
His coaches, family, teammates and friends in attendance didn’t expect it, either.
Riley lost his championship quarterfinal match at the OHSAA state wrestling meet on Friday morning, then lost the follow-up consolation match that afternoon, to end his bid at a state title.
Coming off a pinfall victory over Lyndhurst Brush’s Sam McIntosh on Thursday, Riley had all the momentum going into Day 2 of the state meet. He knew he had his hands full in his first match. Nick Barber, Riley’s opponent, comes from Lakewood St. Edward High School, a school known for producing more wrestling champions than any other — 93 in all, almost double that of any other school.
The showdown was truly a highlight of the day for any wrestling fan. Riley took an early lead with a quick takedown, but Barber scored an escape the make the score 2-1. After a stoppage, Barber scored a reversal to take a 3-2 lead, but Riley managed an escape with seconds to go in the first, tying the match at 3.
The match stayed tight, with neither one gaining an upper hand, until late in the third. With the score tied at 4, Riley and Barber both jockeyed for position, with Riley eventually getting Barber’s leg and scoring a takedown with 35 seconds to go. Barber, however, spun around and scored a reversal with 25 seconds left, tying the score again.
“Riley injured his neck on that exchange,” Brown said. “He appeared a little out of it there during the exchange. By the time he realized where he was, (Barber) already had a grip on him and he couldn’t escape.”
The referee did not stop the match. Riley confirmed later that his neck was “better.”
In overtime, both wrestlers were exhausted but aggressive. Barber lunged and scored a takedown 42 seconds in, and the match was decided.
“It’s a game of seconds,” Brown said. “Football is a game of inches. Wrestling is a game of seconds. We were seconds away from possibly wrestling for a state title.”
Riley sat for several minutes along the wall, trying to cope with the loss. Brown consoled him, and reminded him that third place was still there, should he win out. There was still another match to go that afternoon.
That match did not go well for Riley.