“The pain of preparation is nothing like the pain of losing,” said wrestler John Smith. It is a statement that Brookville wrestling coach Sam Sampson is familiar.
“It’s been since my junior year in high school since we last won the sectional.” said coach Sampson.
Checking the archives, 1999 was the last time the Brookville Blue Devils brought home a sectional championship, and 21 years seems like it has been long enough to wait.
The Blue Devil wrestlers, fresh off their SWBL winning performance, doubled down, and traveled to Covington High School, for the sectional tournament.
The SWBL is a team goal and a priority for the young Brookville grapplers. Wrestling turns into more of an individual sport as you must finish in the top four of the sectionals in order to advance to district competition.
We are now but two weeks away from the state of Ohio high school championship, where the top four from the four district tournaments in the state, now compete for an individual championship. It is dog eat dog and competition at its finest as we now find out who wants to advance.
The wrestling season is long, and the season wears on the wrestler, now is the time to shine and find out what you’re made of, now is the time to do something unexpected, to leave all you have on the mat, to find out if you’re a winner.
I asked Coach “Sam” the secret to this team’s success, “The secret is hard work, dedication, and great kids,” he said.
The wrestlers met the challenge issued in Covington and won this tournament.
Troy Christian, Covington and Miami East followed in second through fourth place.
Originally, Brookville qualified 10 wrestlers and two alternates for next week’s district.
However, 195 pounder Chase Dyer was disqualified after competing at 195 (and finishing second) instead of his usual 170.
The move to the higher weight occurred at the start of the tournament, and a rules technicality led to the disqualification. As a senior and a state qualifier last year, this hurts and I feel for the young wrestler, to have this season-long goal lost like this, snatched away by a technicality.
Fortunately, Brookville scored enough points that forfeiting his tournament points did not cost the team a victory.
Advancing for the Blue Devils were:
113 – Logan Jones, second place, had another outstanding tournament, he has a chance to be good, he has a lot of talent, it will be up to him as to how much he advances.
120 – Bailey Larson, fifth place alternate, needed to win one match before losing, found himself in a bracket with three state qualifiers, which was tough.
126 – Timmy Davis, third place, his pin in the third-place consolation match turned out to be the tournament deciding bonus points. This freshman pinned in the finals and ultimately saved the team!
132 – Mason Esterline, fourth place, advances to district and still has a chance to make state.
138 – Brennon Moore, third place, another wrestler proving the value of wrestling all out in the consolation rounds, pinned in the finals and again these bonus points were tournament necessary. He made a difference.
145 – Devon Meyers, second place, has been fighting injury most of the season, wisely gave a forfeit to the number two rated wrestler in the state, rather than risk further damage.
152 – Mason Starnes, second place, once again fought to the finish and down by 14 points, somehow, someway, hit a move and pinned his opponent. WOW!
160 – Dylan Starnes, wrestling for fifth place alternate, battled it out in a 23-21 match, I’m not sure if I have ever seen 44 points scored in a match. Well done Dylan. Dylan finished in sixth place at the district last year and goes only as an alternate this year, I’m glad he’s a sophomore and has two more chances. As a side note, the youngest, and least experienced referee there, scored this match perfectly as no coach protested or complained.
182- Luke Williams dropped a semi-final match giving up a takedown after 3-3 tie score, has a good shot a state qualifying!
220 – Matt Hamm, second place, suffice to say, I’ve seen better officiating, bring your track shoes next match.
285 – Jon Mitchell, second, good wrestler in a year when there are a lot of great wrestlers, but still opportunities are there.
Every wrestler here mentioned has a chance.
“At this point it’s their decision,” Sampson said. “If they choose to, then it will be. If they choose to fold, then it won’t.”
Our wrestler of the week? Mason Starnes at 152 pounds.
“He had a great tournament,” coach Sampson said. “He ended up pinning the number two ranked wrestler in the state.”
We have two weeks left of a very successful season. I asked Sampson if there were any goals left?
“More of a wish,” he said. “I wish I could put the minds of these boys from 20 years from now, in their heads today.
“Only then would they truly understand the opportunities that they have in front of them,” added Sampson. “Not just in wrestling but life. I hope they reach their potential attacking each match like it’s their last.
“Leaving everything they have on that mat. Maybe then they can look themselves in the mirror and be satisfied with the man looking back.”
District competition occurs at Troy’s Hobart Arena, its dark and has the appearance of a colosseum, the competition will be much like that of ancient Rome. Win and advance, live to see another day. Lose, and your season is over. Good luck to the young wrestlers!
Support our schools, support wrestling, see you, on the mat … of course!