Ross senior Logan Iams won his first-round match at the Division II state wrestling tournament Thursday at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center, defeating Tai Carter of Sandusky Perkins at 182 pounds. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY GREG BILLING

Prep wrestling: Ross teammates prevail in opening round at state meet

Fairfield’s Moustapha Bal, Madison’s Devin Oligee also advance

COLUMBUS — Logan Iams pulled off a reverse with 26 seconds left to win his match. Alex Coleman felt like he escaped to win his tougher-than-expected match.

The Ross High School teammates survived Thursday’s first round of the state wrestling championships at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center. Iams, wrestling in the 182-pound weight class in Division II, scored the late reverse to beat Sandusky Perkins junior Tai Carter 8-7 in the championship bracket.

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As for Coleman, he pinned Warsaw River View senior Owen Kempf in 3:46 to advance. Coleman entered state as a district champ, so his first-round match pitted him against a wrestler that finished fourth at his district.

“It was a tough match, probably one of the toughest matches … tougher than I thought a first match would be,” Coleman said, practically breathing a sigh of relief. “I left it a little close. I kept trying to throw him and getting re-thrown, actually.”

Iams and Coleman return Friday for the championship quarterfinals. Those wrestlers that lost first-round matches Thursday had to wrestle again Thursday night in a win-or-go-home scenario. The Rams were glad that wasn’t them.

“I think I’ll chill out with my boys who are here, hang out and get my mind right for tomorrow,” Iams said. “I definitely think if I wrestle to the best of my ability, I might pull some upsets and win the whole thing. I don’t know. I’m shooting for at least top five on the podium.”

Both Iams and Coleman finished fifth at the district tournament last season to serve as state alternates. They’ve experienced the state atmosphere before, but nothing like this. Emerging from the temporary tunnel onto the Schottenstein floor can be intimidating. Iams had another word for it.

“It was awesome,” he said. “It’s been a dream since I started wrestling. It was everything I dreamed of and hoped for.”

“You want to be the kid that’s winning,” Coleman said of watching previous state tournaments and visualizing being on the mat. “It motivates you to work harder during the summer.”

Also winning championship-round matches on Thursday were Fairfield senior Moustapha Bal and Madison sophomore Devin Oligee.

Bal, wrestling at 120 pounds in D-I, won 11-8 over Upper Arlington senior Mitch Herren.

Oligee, wrestling at 170 pounds in D-III, scored an 8-2 victory over Orwell Grand Valley senior Clayton Takacs.

All return Friday for the championship quarterfinals and three wins away from a state title. Two wins guarantee a spot on the podium and no worse than an eighth-place finish.

“I definitely had faith in myself and my coaches and everything I’ve been working for,” Iams said. “I had a little bit of nerves being my first year here, but I’m a senior here, so I’m putting everything I’ve got into it.”

Added Coleman: “It’s eye-opening how hard the rest of the matches are going to be. I feel pretty good that I can get to the finals. I need to come in a little more aggressive instead of easing into it like I did today. I guess I shouldn’t have done that. I need to come out aggressive the whole time.”

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