COLUMBUS – Delta sophomore Zack Mattin carried on his family’s legacy of winning state wrestling titles, claiming the Division III 106-pound crown at the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Individual Wrestling Tournament which concluded Saturday at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University.
He was one of four Fulton County wrestlers to make the finals, with older brother Cole Mattin, along with Gavin Ritter and Xavier Torres of Wauseon being the others.
“It’s really cool,” Zack Mattin said of carrying on the tradition of his family. “My dad (Mike Mattin) won a state title and then my brothers (Drew and Cole) followed suit. It’s unbelievable.”
He met fellow northwest Ohioan Gavin Owens of Eastwood in the final, where he came away with the 8-1 win. “I scored points which is always good. I thought I wrestled really well,” he said of the match.
He cruised to the final behind a tech fall win plus two pins in the opening round, quarterfinal and semifinal matches.
The sophomore is going home with a much better taste in his mouth than a year ago when he finished seventh at state.
“I placed seventh here last year – not what I wanted,” explained Zack. “But I knew this year that it was my time. As long as I put in the work every single day, I’d accomplish my goal, which is to be a state champ.”
Brother Cole Mattin was not as lucky. In his third meeting this season with Julian Sanchez of Genoa, he fell 3-1 to the Comets’ senior in the 132-pound final.
It was a late takedown by Sanchez in the final 15 seconds of the third period that gave him the win over the senior from Delta.
“It was a good shot,” said Cole of Sanchez’ late takedown. “I tried to drape over the top and grab an ankle but just couldn’t catch it. He knew exactly how to finish. It’s a perfect finish, I couldn’t do anything about it.”
However, Cole Mattin can hold his head high knowing he ends his high school career as a four-time state placer, including winning a state title in 2018.
“I think I’ve had an OK career, a good career (that) anyone would want to have,” he said. “Definitely, a lot of kids don’t want to end it like that (falling in the state final). I’m happy and blessed to be where I am today.”
He also displayed his pride in sharing the finals mat with younger brother Zack, who as mentioned, won his first state title earlier in the evening.
“He’s a state champ and I’m super happy for him,” said Cole. “I can’t wait to see the next two years. It was just awesome to be able to compete with him.”
Earlier on Saturday, the Panthers got a fifth place finish from senior Dalton Richard at 285 pounds. To win the fifth place match, he pinned Jeff Meyer of Columbus Grove in just 46 seconds.
“I had the double overs (double over hook) locked up, and I felt him pushing into me too much so I decided to throw it. It worked out for my favor,” said Richard.
He reached the championship semifinals with a pin and 1-0 decision over William Lindsey of Gates Mills Hawken. However, Richard then dropped his next two matches, putting him in the fifth place match where he came through.
“Just in all my years of experience in wrestling, you can’t live in the past you have to move on,” he said on bouncing back from losses to take fifth. “You have to keep going forward.
“It’s just like in life. You can’t move forward if you live in the past.”
It was Richard’s first state placement as he lived up to his own family’s tradition.
“It’s important to me. It’s important to my family too,” he said. “My brother (Devon Richard) was a three-time placer. And, I felt like I can also live up to that expectation that everyone wanted me to live up to.”
Delta’s Dawson Swicegood competed at 145 pounds, opening with a 5-3 sudden victory over Carter Winegardner of Zanesville West Muskingum. But he then fell in back-to-back matches to end his tournament run and Panther wrestling career.
The Panthers finished sixth overall with 64.5 team points. Genoa won the Division III title in impressive fashion, with 172 points compared to runner-up Rootstown’s 79.
In Division II, Wauseon saw a pair reach the final but neither could finish it off. They finished 11th as a team with 42 points. St. Paris Graham won the overall title with 123.5 points.
Gavin Ritter, competing at 120 pounds, began with a 7-0 shutout of Chanston Moll of Williamsport Westfall. He later added narrow decisions over Tyler Masters of Millersburg West Holmes and Josh Dunn of Goshen, handing Dunn just his second loss of the season.
Ritter’s opponent in the title match, Garett Lautzenheiser of Louisville, is someone he was familiar with.
“Gavin’s opponent was someone he had lost to twice this year, so we were using the third times a charm approach,” stated Wauseon coach Mike Ritter.
However, in the final, Lautzenheiser built a lead and then held off Gavin for a 5-4 win.
Torres pinned Beau Smith of Lisbon Beaver in 3:19, then added a 9-5 decision over John Mark Williams of Cincinnati Indian Hill. He pulled off a tight win in the semifinal, downing Cole Hivnor of Mentor Lake Catholic 2-1.
“I just remembered all my training throughout the years,” said Torres of the match with Hivnor. “Everything my coaches (instilled) into me. Everything my family, community put into me. It made me really just want to stick it out, grind through it and get the win.”
It was also special for him that fellow senior Gavin Ritter made the final as well.
“We’ve gone through the program with his dad (coach Ritter) and the plethora of coaches we’ve had since we’ve been six years old,” explained Torres. “It’s just great to finally see all the hard work throughout the years pay off. We are really good friends, so it means a lot.”
The 170-pound final was a bout with Lucas Salmon of Sandusky Perkins, someone who Torres had faced two other times this season, including a week earlier at the district. The Wauseon senior was 2-0 in his previous meetings with Salmon.
“We felt good about the match-up, but it’s not very easy to beat someone three times in a year,” said the Wauseon coach.
On this night, it was Salmon who picked up the 7-4 win.
“I thought both seniors wrestled a fantastic state tournament,” stated coach Ritter. “I know it’s not the finish either wanted or that we wanted for them, but finishing their high school wrestling careers on the stage on Saturday night is a heck of a place to end it. I’m sure as they look back on it in a couple of days, they (will) appreciate it once the sting wears off.”
“Both of these seniors will leave their mark historically on our program,” he added. “Gavin will finish his career in third place all-time in wins with 185, and Xavier is in fourth place with 165 wins. Xavier will finish second all-time in career pins with 80, and third all-time in career takedowns with 508. Gavin became the all-time leader in career takedowns with 605, and holds the top two spots in takedowns in a season with 207 and 191 respectively.”
Wauseon junior Nolan Ray (126) suffered a pair of one-point losses to end his tournament premature.
“(Ray) had one of the toughest quarter brackets I’ve ever seen,” said the Wauseon coach. “As a returning state placer himself, he wound up with a two-time state placer (and eventual 8th place finisher). He lost that match with a very controversial takedown and back points at the end of the match. Had he won that match, his quarterfinal match-up would’ve been against a two-time state runner-up (and eventual state runner-up in the weight class). However, his consolation match was against a former Arizona State Placer that moved in to Graham High School, which he lost by a point.”
Damon Molina (106) opened with a pin in 1:58 against David Woolever of Carrollton. But the sophomore would be shut out in his next two to bow out of contention.
“He had a great season and got better each week, winding up in the district finals, and winning his first round match at state,” said coach Ritter of Molina.
Back in Division III, Swanton garnered a fifth place finish from senior Ryan Marvin (152). His two defeats – including a 9-5 loss in the opener – came to eventual third place finisher in Keringten Martin of Covington.
In the consolation bracket Marvin won 3-1 by sudden victory over Billy Luft of Newark Catholic, 6-4 over Tyler Kay of Liberty Center, 3-2 over Clayton Schirmer of Blanchester and 10-3 versus Nick Skye of Mogadore to take fifth.
Archbold’s three wrestlers all suffered the same fate. Zach Rocha (132), Brennan Short (138) and Kasyn Schaffner (160) each went 1-2 for the tournament.
Both Rocha and Schaffner’s careers came to an end, while Short returns for his senior season in 2019-20.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010