State Wrestling: Fairfield senior falls short, but ‘proud’ of runner-up finish

Brandon Smith is Indians’ 57th state placer

HILLIARD – Fairfield High School senior Brandon Smith’s high school wrestling career ended where he wanted – in the Division I state title match. It just didn’t end how he wanted.

Smith, though, with a positive attitude as strong as his massive biceps, put an encouraging spin on his tough 3-2 loss in the 220-pound weight class.

“I gotta be proud of myself. I came up short but at the end of the day not everyone can say they were a state finalist or that they even made it to state. Just be grateful for what you’ve got,” said Smith, who lost to Olentangy Liberty sophomore Dylan Russo at Hilliard Darby High School.

Smith (33-4) became the Indians’ 57th placer in program history. His state title appearance was the 18th for the Indians, who are 10-8 in title matches.

“When it came down to it I didn’t wrestle my 100 percent,” Smith said. “I could give a million excuses why I didn’t win, but at the end of the day I just didn’t wrestle my hardest like I should have been. I didn’t take shots that I should have taken. I just didn’t wrestle to the best of my ability. … Definitely one of those times where it wasn’t my match.”

Smith took up wrestling in seventh grade at the advice of a football coach. The coach told Smith he’d have a better chance at playing football in college if he wrestled, too. It worked. Smith will play football at the University of Indianapolis.

“What I’m going to remember most is the sense of companionship and family,” Smith said of wrestling. “You’re sharing blood, sweat and tears with your teammates for months on end. It just builds a bond that cannot be broken. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

Lakota West senior Aneesh Vyas sixth at 285 pounds in D-I, capping his season at 25-8.

“It sucks it had to end this way but it’s all about the process, not the product. A hard journey,” said Vyas, who went through separate shoulder surgeries last season. “I’ve been doubted the whole way. I can’t hang my head on … two losses to end my career.

“(State) was surreal. I love the fact it was at Hilliard Darby. Honestly, it didn’t make state seem as big as it is. … I had a lot of fun here this weekend. I don’t have any reservations about anything.”

Lakota East senior Max Boaz placed eighth in D-I at 138 pounds.

“I was ranked 13th and I got eighth, so that’s a couple places higher than people expected me to get,” Boaz said. “I’m happy with the tournament overall. I had a really good win my third match to actually place. Overall I think I did pretty well but there’s definitely some things I can improve on.

“It’s a lot different than the last time I was here (as a freshman). Showing up at a high school felt like a regular tournament. I kind of like that more. It feels like less pressure. Not thousands of people in the stands screaming at you. … I had a good high school career and I’m glad it ended with me placing.”

In the D-II state tournament held at Highland High School, Badin junior Ely Emmons placed sixth at 195.

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