COLUMBUS – Wilmington’s RJ Tolliver will be the first Hurricane wrestler to place in the state tournament since 2008.
At the Division II OHSAA State Wrestling Championship at the Jerome Schottenstein Center at Ohio State, Tolliver and Clinton-Massie’s Anthony Tissandier made it to the second day of competition on Friday.
While Tissandier was eliminated from the tournament, Tolliver won his second match of the day and will wrestle for seventh place Saturday morning. The round will begin at 11 a.m.
“It’s incredible,” WHS coach Kelly Tolliver said. “For us, we have a couple different things going on here. I want him to be successful because he’s my son, but we also want to continue to grow the program that (Ron) Sexton and (Jeff) Wiederhold built.”
Tolliver will face Baden Pinson of Reading in the seventh place match on Saturday. Pinson pinned Tolliver in 2:20 in the third-place match at last weekend’s Div. II Southwest District tournament.
Tissandier struggled in his second round consolation match against Josh Barr of Bay Village’s Bay High School. Barr had a 5-0 lead after one, grew that to 9-2 after two and went on to a 10-3 victory that put Tissandier out of the tournament.
In his first match of the day, Tissandier lost to Keysean Amison of Sandusky Perkins 9-3.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Tissandier said. “I just wasn’t quite ready. I’m disappointed but I have to get ready for the next one.”
Tissandier trailed 2-1 after one and was up as the second period started. The two wrestlers then were in a position early in the second where it was more difficult to determine who was in control as the official began counting nearfall points. As it turned out, Amison was getting credit for the points and eventually a 7-1 lead.
“This guy was not unreachable,” CM coach Spencer Running said. “That one tight scramble … that five-point swing was tough.”
For Tolliver in his opener Friday against D0minic Cooper of Canfield, frustration was the key word.
“That’s an understatement,” Tolliver said. “I didn’t know what to do. All he was doing was stalling.”
Cooper was hit with stalling twice, giving Tolliver one of his points in the 7-2 loss.But as WHS coach Kelly Tolliver put it, Cooper knew how to “manage the clock” in the match.
In his second round consolation match, Tolliver squared off against Devin Goschinski, a thick-legged senior from Ashland. Tolliver fell into an early 1-0 hole and the thought was that Goschinski was going to ride out the clock.
Going into the third period, that strategy was working, but Tolliver scored an escape early in the period to tie the match. Tolliver was then able to take a 2-1 lead when Goschinski was hit with a second stalling with 50 seconds to go.
The final seconds were a whirlwind. As Goschinski worked feverishly for a winning takedown, Tolliver had to be aggressive enough to keep from being hit with his second stalling.
“At that point it wasn’t about energy, it was all about heart,” RJ Tolliver said.
As the clock neared 0:00, Tolliver scored on a takedown to clinch the win and a spot in WHS history.
“It’s what you work for,” he said.
The last Hurricane state placer was Christopher Holcomb, who was sixth at heavyweight in 2008.
In his third round consolation match, Tolliver was decisioned by Mathieu Holt of Granville, 4-1.
“It probably would have benefited me if I’d take more shots but I don’t do that,” said Tolliver. “You have to set up your shots and I don’t do that well enough.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports