COLUMBUS — Madison High School sophomore Devin Oligee entered the Division III state wrestling tournament with just one loss, so he’s no pushover.
And even after securing a coveted podium finish — he was one of the final eight wrestlers still standing after Friday morning’s early session — he was left in awe of the competition.
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“It’s the toughest tournament I’ve wrestled in in my entire life,” said Oligee, who improved to 47-2 in the 170-pound weight class. “All you can do is train your hardest and try as hard as you can. To get to this point is such an accomplishment.”
Oligee was one of six area wrestlers guaranteed podium finishes entering Saturday’s final rounds. Fairfield seniors Moustapha Bal (120) and Jabari Thomas (126) and Talawanda senior Sean Mondello (160) are state placers in D-I. Ross senior Logan Iams (182) and junior teammate Alex Coleman (285) will place in D-II.
Coleman was the lone wrestler to remain in the championship bracket and will wrestle for the state title Saturday.
On Thursday, Coleman described as “eye-opening” how unexpectedly tough his first-round match was. Oligee felt the same about standing in the tunnel waiting to emerge.
“The best feeling. I was very nervous. But it was the best feeling in the world,” he said. “The best opportunity in my life right now. (It’s great experience) getting used to the arena and not being as nervous if I make it the next two years, hopefully.”
Fairfield: Both Bal and Thomas will wrestle in matches to determine seventh and eighth place. Bal won his first consolation match with a pin in 4:55 but dropped a tough 2-1 decision to Lancaster’s Aiden Agin in the tiebreaker (two periods of 30 seconds). Thomas followed Bal’s path by cruising to a 20-5 win in his first match Friday, but suffered a 3-2 loss in his next match to La Salle’s Antoine Allen.
Talawanda: Mondello will also wrestle for seventh and eighth. He won his first match 16-13 before falling to Perrysburg’s Drew Newton 3-2.
Ross: Coleman put both his opponents on their backs to reach the title match. He pinned Norwalk’s Tche Leroux in 2:25 and pinned semifinal opponent Cole Potts of Columbus St. Francis DeSales in 25 seconds.
Iams won his first match 6-5 before getting stopped 4-2 by Steubenville’s David Tuttle.
Wrestling resumes Saturday with the consolation semifinals at 10 a.m. and the third, fifth and seventh-place matches at 11.
The state championship finals start at 5:45 p.m.
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