HILLIARD — Colton Spurgeon does not lack confidence and that’s a good thing according to Mount Vernon wrestling coach Nate Cornell.
“That’s a very good thing,” Cornell said. “Sometimes people confuse overconfidence with cockiness like it’s a bad thing. I want Colton and all of my wrestlers to always be confident.”
Spurgeon, who opened the Division I district tournament at Hilliard Darby with a pair of wins Friday, fell in a championship semifinal before coming back with a pair of wins to finish third, earning the Yellow Jackets’ only bid to next week’s state tournament.
“I knew I could make it,” Spurgeon said. “I just had to stay confident in myself and believe that I could beat anyone out there.”
He started the day by dropping a heartbreaker to Upper Arlington’s Daniel Beam in the championship semifinal of the 113-pound weight class. Beam finished second behind Dublin Scioto’s Dylan Le.
But he kept his eye on the prize with the prize being a spot at the state tournament next week.
He came back with a pin-fall victory over Delaware’s Tamas Eder in the consolation semifinal to stamp his ticket as the Yellow Jackets’ lone representative at state and followed that up with a 4-1 decision over Fuanyi Fobellah to take third place.
“I just kept my head after a tough loss in the semis,” Spurgeon said. “I knew I could beat the kid — I just had to go out there and prove it.”
“He went out there and dominated that kid,” Cornell said. “That shows the character of (Spurgeon). He was able to go out there and take care of business after losing a heart-breaker. I was proud of him … that was the shining moment of the day.”
Cornell sounded like the old Wide World of Sports opening when talking about his team’s performance over the two days.
“The highs are great, but the lows are just as bad,” Cornell said. “You get that high from Colton in that blood-round match. But it’s just as tough to watch Triston (Bowens) and Wyatt (Gregory) lose those matches because those are two kids that have been in the program for four years that had dreams of (going to state). Triston went last year and Wyatt was just that close.”
The Jackets had seven representatives at the district tournament.
Bowens (138 pounds), who was a state qualifier last year, earned a pin-fall victory over Caleb Lake of Chillicothe in a consolation quarterfinal to open the day.
But he fell to Marysville’s Lincoln Heard by a 12-9 decision in the semifinal and finished sixth after falling to Pickerington North’s David Carte by a 16-6 major decision.
Westerville North’s Connor Euton won top honors.
Gregory (170) started Saturday with a pin-fall loss to Cole Foor of Watkins Memorial in a championship semifinal and then fell to Hilliard Bradley’s Kyle DeMoss on a takedown in the final seconds of a 5-4 decision in a consolation semifinal. But he salvaged a fifth-place finish with a 5-2 decision over Olentangy Orange’s Tristan Bluntschly.
Foor finished as district champion.
Rylan Firebaugh (120) fell to New Albany’s Colin Swincicki by pin in a consolation opener, Jacob Burrell (126) fell to Dublin Coffman’s Rupert Moore by a 5-4 decision in a consolation quarterfinal and Gabe Shannon (132) was pinned by Newark’s Rhys Fairall in the first round of the consolation to round out MV’s day.
“We ran into some tough kids,” Cornell said. “I wish we would have wrestled a little bit better. Burrell lost a heart-breaking match. I’m extremely proud of how (he) finished up his career … it was a tough loss.”
Lancaster’s Aidan Agin won top honors at 120, Logan Aigan at 126 and Jacob Reed at 132.
As a team, the Yellow Jackets finished 13th out of 46 with 40 points behind district champion Dublin Coffman (174.5 points).
Spurgeon will wrestle in the state tournament at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus with the first session beginning Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. The Division I preliminaries are scheduled to begin at 5:40 p.m.
The rest of this article is available to our subscribers.
Do your part to support local journalism
Subscribe to our e-edition to read this and many other articles written by your neighbors.