COLUMBUS — Hillsboro Senior Lane Cluff traveled to the Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University and competed in the OHSAA Individual Wrestling State Tourament on Thursday for the third time and broke through with his first win at the State Tournament when he pinned Daniel Wirth of Lisbon Beaver at the 1:32 mark of the third period.
In Cluff’s two previous trips to the State Tournament he was eliminated on day one of the tournament after losing in the Championship preliminary round and consolation round one.
In 2017 Cluff faced off with Sam Robinson of Wintersville Indian Creek via a 3-2 decision in the Championship preliminaries and was pinned by Noah Meeker of Elida in consolation round one.
In 2018 it was Travis Kuttler of Minerva who spoiled Cluff’s second trip to the Schottenstein Center with a pin in the Championship preliminaries before Lima Shawnee’s Bobby Grothjan pinned Cluff in consolation round one to send the Hillsboro senior to his fourth straight loss at the State Tournament.
This year it was a different story for Cluff in the Championship preliminary round as he established himself in the first period and controlled the action despite trailing 2-1 at the period buzzer.
In the second period Cluff was able to take control of Wirth and score a take down for two points and earned another point by escaping Wirth in the period. Cluff added a second take down in the second period as time was winding down and took a 6-2 advantage into the third period.
It was apparent to start the third period that Wirth was winded but, the same was not true for Cluff as he realized his opponent was compromised and took advantage to earn the pin fall victory at the 1:32 mark of the third period.
“Coach is always on us that whoever is in the most shape at the end of the match is going to get the win. All the extra running after matches and everything that coach has us do, had us ready to wrestle for six minutes, not give up and capitalize on mistakes,” said Cluff.
Cluff was clearly jubilant over the win and the chance to return to the Schottenstein Center for day two of the State Tournament on Friday.
Cluff reflected on his first career win at the State Tournament and said, “It’s amazing. It’s amazing to not have to look up into the stands to all the fans who have traveled with you all season and not have to disappoint them or feel like you could have done better. We all get to come back tomorrow, wrestle two more matches at least and win one of them we’re on the podium.”
The senior also took the time to mention his coaches and the work and effort they put in to help him achieve his goals.
“I just want to thank coach for all of the hard work and dedication he gives me in the room and time that both of them give me and I’m going to get on that podium this year,” Cluff said.
McClain Sophomore Kade Rawlins traveled to the Schottenstein Center on Thursday and competed, for the first time in his career, in the OHSAA Individual State Tournament in the 220 pound class.
Rawlins faced a tough slate in the Championship preliminaries as he was paired with the defending Division II 220 pound State Champion Tyler Stein from Canfield.
Stein scored a take down in the opening period but was unable to keep Rawlins on the defensive for long as the Greenfield native made it difficult for Stein to find an advantage as he took a 2-0 lead after the first period.
Rawlins was able to thwart several early take down attempts by Stein and kept the match standing for much of the period. However, Stein was able to take control late in the period with three take downs and an escape for a 9-0 advantage entering the third period.
In the third period Stein was able to control the action early and scored with escapes and take downs to take a 15-0 lead.
An injury timeout was called with 1:18 to go in the third period after Rawlins was able to force Stein out of bounds and Stein signaled to his coaches that something was wrong.
Following the stoppage Rawlins was able to take advantage of Stein, who appeared winded, and scored a near fall for three points prior to the final buzzer.
Despite the 15-3 loss Rawlins was able to showcase his talents against the best wrestler in the division andlasted all three rounds.
Rawlins’ second match pitted him against Skylor Wooley of East Liverpool in the consolation first round.
Rawlins was able to keep pace with Wooley in the first period and it ended in a 0-0 stalemate however, Rawlins got caught in the second period and Wooley was able to score the pin fall victory to end Rawlins’ season.
As previously reported by The Times-Gazette Rawlins was the fourth place finisher at the Wilmington District Tournament and earned his spot with a win by pin in the consolation semifinals.
Rawlins had a record of 45-3 entering the State Tournament and finished the season with a 45-5 record.
Ryan Applegate is the Sports Editor for The Times-Gazette. Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.