COLUMBUS — After placing fourth during a breakout freshman season, Firelands’ Payton Burgdorf was shattered when he lost in the state quarterfinals last season because of the high expectations he put on himself.
Burgdorf still has those high expectations, but another quarterfinal loss Friday morning wasn’t enough to send him into a freefall.
“I feel like I’m a little more experienced with taking losses,” he said. “I think I know how to cope with them now. I’m not devastated for days after. I can keep my head up after and keep going.”
Burgdorf lost 8-5 to Louisville’s Garett Lautzenheiser, who is ranked No. 3 in the state, in the quarterfinals and bounced back to pin Williamsport Westfall’s Chanston Moll in 2:28 in the consolation second round. He followed with a 7-0 win over Padua’s Jimmy Balazy in the consolation quarterfinals.
The win against Moll guaranteed Burgdorf a third straight state placement.
“Losing in the quarters always knocks you down,” Burgdorf said. “You have to keep your head up and I feel like I was able to go out there and compete at my best.
“I’ve been trying to achieve my dream of getting to the top the last three years but I’ve come up a little short each time. I can still get third this year, which is higher than the past two years. After (today) I’ll reset my goals and start grinding for next year’s tournament.”
It was a blockbuster opener, pitting the Nos. 4 and 5 wrestlers in the state against each other — and they both happen to live in Lorain County.
Lutheran West senior Parker Watson, who resides in Avon, came up with an 11-9 victory over Edison senior Jordan Keegan, who lives in Vermilion.
Watson lost his quarterfinal 8-3 to New Paris National Trail’s Peyton Lane, but he and Keegan battled back through the consolation bracket to earn podium spots for the second straight season.
“I was really disappointed with the quarterfinal, but everyone’s tough here so you know that can happen,” Watson said. “I had much higher expectations than this and they got crushed in a matter of minutes. So I just had to get the focus back for the next one.”
Watson, who is an Ohio State commit, grinded out a 4-2 win over Archbold’s Brennan Short in the consolation second round. He had to injury default his consolation quarterfinal to Troy Christian’s Austin Awan.
“It’s nice knowing I’ll be back here next year wrestling, but it doesn’t give me an edge because technically everyone here has that ‘Ohio’ edge.”
Keegan won a 14-3 major decision over Galion Northmor’s Niko Christo in his consolation second-round match, then followed with an 8-1 win over Newark Catholic’s J.T. Brown in the consolation quarterfinals.
“I’m proud that I was able to come back but I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to where I wanted to be,” he said. “For my last few matches I kind of want it to be all business because I want to finish the best I can.
Day 2 casualties
A trio of area wrestlers saw their state tournament runs come to an end Friday morning in the consolation second round.
St. Edward junior Hudson Poole, an Avon Lake resident, lost 3-1 to Lancaster’s Aiden Agin, who was sent into the bottom half of the bracket after a 2-1 loss to Elyria’s Nate Burnett earlier in the morning session.
North Ridgeville senior Jacob Dunstan was pinned in 1:29 by Powell Olentangy Liberty’s Lucas Uliano, who is ranked No. 11 in the state.
Avon senior Tommy Sear lost a tight 6-4 decision to Clayton Northmont’s Andrew Knick, who is ranked No. 12 in the state.
- The OHSAA added a banner along the eastern wall of Value City Arena that featured a timeline of high school wrestling legends in Ohio. Included in the group were Frank Fiore, who won two state titles at Garfield Heights in 1954-55 and was the founder of the Elyria High wrestling program, and Pioneers coach Erik Burnett, who won four state titles at Oberlin from 1984-87.
- Casstown Miami East sophomore Olivia Shore fell short of her goal of becoming the first female state placer. She lost a 4-2 match to Edison’s Alec Homan in the quarterfinals, then lost 10-7 to Hawken’s Patrick Reineke in the consolation second round.
- Elyria appears to be locked into the No. 3 spot in the Division I standings. The Pioneers have 105 points, behind St. Edward’s 176 and Cincinnati LaSalle’s 151.5. They are far ahead of No. 4 Brecksville (65), so there shouldn’t be much movement today.
- Avon is No. 8 on the Division I leaderboard with 34 points.
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