They reached the goal every high school wrestler sets out to achieve at the beginning of the season, make it onto the award’s podium at the OHSAA state wrestling championship tournament.
West Jefferson seniors Josh Doherty (160 pounds) and Jake Burns (195) didn’t finish as high as they would have liked, but both finished their last high school wrestling careers on the coveted platform.
Doherty placed fourth at 160, not a bad spot at all considering his quarterfinal loss Friday morning, March 10 required him to wrestle his way through the consolation round. He picked up three straight pin victories, downing Corey Bogan of Mechanicsburg (1:58), Elvis Conte of Massillon Tuslaw (2:16) and Steele Strout of Northridge (4:56). His run came to an end with a 8-6 loss to Luke Sorboro of Rootstown in the third-place match.
Doherty ended his senior season with a 50-4 record.
“My goal here coming in was as long as I place top four I wasn’t going to be disappointed,” he said. “Because coming in there are always going to be upsets and crazy things that go on.”
Burns also returned to the award’s podium with an eighth-place finish at 195 pounds. He placed fourth in 2016. Placing this season wasn’t nearly as cut and dry for Burns. He won his first match Thursday but had to battle through adversity in his quarterfinal match Friday against Daniel Beemer of Ottawa-Glansdorf.
Less than :30 into the match he suffered a gash over the top of his head which required five stitches. He had his head wrapped up and continued to battle, a controversial call in overtime kept him from reaching the semifinal. He went into the consolation round and picked up an important 6-5 win over Deandre Nassar of Bluffton.
That win assured Burns a spot on the podium, he didn’t wrestle again but took his eighth-place finish.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.