COLUMBUS — For the two Mount Vernon wrestlers who made it past the first day of competition, Day 2 of the 2012 OHSAA State Wrestling Championships became two very different stories.
For Mount Vernon’s 106-pound Dakota Riley, disaster struck in the first 10 seconds in the form of freshman Austin Assad (20-2) of Brecksville-Broadview Heights.
When the two of them met in Friday evening’s championship semifinal round, Assad took a lightning first shot, grabbing Riley by his amazingly quick feet to score two instant points. That move turned out to be the difference-maker as Assad shot down Riley’s chances of a state title in the blink of an eye, winning their match 5-4.
“I thought, maybe, (Dakota’s) speed and size would help out a little more than it did,” said Mount Vernon coach John Brown. “(Assad) hit us early for two points. He kept shoving us toward the out of bounds. We didn’t circle quite as well as we should have. We gave up a stalling point. It didn’t go the way we wanted it to go.”
Assad, who has been to the State Middle School Championships, gained a berth in the State Wrestling Championship final match and will wrestle for first place on Saturday. If Riley gets that far in 2013, Brown hopes Friday night will be the first step.
“I told him, ‘I want you to remember how bad this (loss) feels,’” said Brown. “‘That’s your motivation for next year. Anytime you don’t think you are working hard enough, just think about this time.’ We were capable of winning it this year.”
Riley will wrestle today for a shot at the third place championship. It is a huge letdown for the junior, who had his sights set on the top step of the podium.
“He’s on the podium, but that’s not what we came here for,” said Brown, who has coached five state runners-up, but never a state champion. “He came here for the title. He’s worked hard for it.”
In his morning match, Riley (44-4) clinched a spot on the podium with a 13-3 major decision over Eddie Noble (30-6) of Lebanon, a state placer last year. Riley attacked from the start of that championship quarterfinal, scoring seven points right out of the box to put the match away early.
“I was really confident coming in,” said Riley, following the match with Noble. “Getting those points at the start really helped me.”