What a way to end your high school wrestling career.
Wilmington High School senior Jacob Boldman will get the opportunity to walk out on the Schottenstein Center floor and wrestle in front of more than 10,000 wrestling fans.
“It feels like … it’s unexplainable,” Boldman said. “All the hard work has finally paid off. I feel like I should have qualified a few years back but it feels good to qualify my senior year.”
Boldman will be joined by Clinton-Massie’s Matt Asher and Davey Tunon at the Div. II Ohio State Wrestling Championship, which begin Thursday afternoon on the Ohio State University campus.
Asher is 25-13 this season and finished fourth in the district tournament this past weekend. He’ll face Claymont District champion Ana Abduljelil (42-2) of Columbus Whitehall-Yearling in the opening round of the 113-pound weight class.
“It’s been my goal all season,” Asher said. “I’m really happy I get to get here this year.”
There was a time, just a few years ago, when Asher knew nothing of high school wrestling.
“The only wrestling I knew was WWE (professional wrestling),” Asher said. “I didn’t even know this wrestling.”
Asher was a fifth-grader playing basketball at Clinton-Massie, but he was cut from the team.
“My friend’s dad (Bobby Frederick) called me up and he’s like ‘Since you didn’t make the basketball team, why don’t you come out and try wrestling.’ I said OK but wasn’t really excited about it.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Asher had success in junior high school and then posted a 25-7 record as a freshman. He narrowly lost his go-to match last season and was clearly headed in the right direction.
Asher credits Frederick with much of his success. He also says the basketball coach who cut him deserves some credit.
“I should probably go give him a ‘thank you’ later,” Asher said.
Boldman is concluding a storied WHS wrestling career. A four-year wrestler, Boldman has compiled a 120-39 career record, which includes a 34-3 record this season.
Boldman, who finished third at the district tournament, will face Alliance District runnerup Cory Simpson (46-4) of Mogadore Field in a 132-pound opening round match.
At the district tournament, Boldman battled Micah Marshall of Chaminade-Julienne in both the opening round and in the “go-to” match. Boldman defeated Marshall 6-1 in the first round. Despite that win, Marshall gave Boldman fits to the point where the WHS senior was not over confident.
“I was, for sure, not overlooking him,” said Boldman.
It was a tight match early, with some chippy moments where both wrestlers showed their frustration before Boldman pulled away for a 13-4 win.
“I just pushed past that limit and I mentally broke him,” Boldman said. “Me and him were frustrated with each other.”
Boldman said his goal this week at state will be to reach the podium (top eight). He’d like to get in the top six, which would put him on the school’s Wall of Fame.
WHS head coach Kelly Tolliver believes Boldman is hitting his stride with the state tournament approaching.
“He probably should have gone to state before now,” Tolliver said. “He was in a meat-grinder of a weight class last year, too. Some of the toughest kids in the state are in this district.
“The kid has earned it. He’s worked hard all year. He’s got a great practice partner in (WHS grad) Isaac Bray. He’s hitting on all cylinders right now. He’s peaking at the right time and that’s key.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.