COLUMBUS — Day 1 of the 75th OHSAA State High School Wrestling Tournament at the Ohio State University Schottenstein Center was a Thursday filled with high hopes and triumph, as well as disappointment.
Mount Vernon’s Dakota Riley (43-3) came on strong in the second and third periods to put away Colin Kramer of Mentor on a 5-2 decision in the opening round of the 106-pound tournament.
“First matches scare me all the time,” said Mount Vernon coach John Brown. “To me, that’s the hardest match. When my brother and I competed, the first one was the toughest to get out of the way. Now that we got everything rolling, we’re going to be good.”
For Riley, it was a relief to get that first one under his belt.
“The first match is over with,” said Riley. “I got all the nerves out. It takes me a little bit to warm up. About the second period, I was warmed up.”
Riley had no easy time of it, as he had to claw for every point. Despite being in control of the match in Period 2, Riley only opened up a lead in the final period.
“Dakota got that takedown at the end of the first period and put us in the driver’s seat,” said Brown. “He did a nice job riding (Kramer). He came out in the third, got the penalty point and he got a reversal and we knew we were in good shape then.”
In the 182-pound class, Mount Vernon’s Matt Lybarger (36-7) squeezed by Isaiah Wheeler of Copley with a 2-1 decision. Lybarger wouldn’t be intimidated by Wheeler, who had lost just three times all year.
“I just tried to keep in position all the time,” said Lybarger. “I put the match in my tempo and I knew (Wheeler) couldn’t take me down. I was confident in my defense and, if I had to take him down, I could have.”
It was an almost perfect day for Brown, who is the only area coach with wrestlers advancing to Day 2. Only Yellow Jackets 152-pound freshman Lucas Staten (31-15) did not advance, losing to Andrew Barr of Brecksville-Broadview Heights, 6-1, in the first round consolation. He lost his first round match to Cincinnati St. Xavier’s Joe Heyob.