TYLER BECK ... STATE CHAMPION!!!
By JON KLEINKNECHT
Inquirer Sports Editor
COLUMBUS — In an epic bloody and brutal battle that more resembled a last-man-standing fight between two gladiators than a state championship high school wrestling match, Northmor’s Tyler Beck emerged as the survivor … uh-h-h … winner, in overtime over long-time nemesis Dalton Ishmael last Saturday night before a frenzied crowd of nearly 14,000 in Value City Arena, earning himself the title of state champion.
“I guess all things ARE possible with the Lord,” said a beaming Beck, a 195-pound senior, moments after recording a takedown of North Baltimore’s Ishmael with 23 seconds remaining in overtime to wrap up a thrilling 6–4 victory in Division III.
It was a vicious match between the foes that included numerous blood stoppages, a delay of several minutes when Ishmael was injured in the third period, Beck careening off the elevated platform that the mat was on in the same frame, Ishmael having his head wrapped in an attempt to stop a nosebleed late in the match, and a halt in action of a minute or so when Beck was poked in the eye in overtime.
Just 11 seconds after competition resumed following the eye-poke incident, Beck shocked Ishmael — the Ohio high school career leader in pins — with a lightning-quick legs-shot takedown to score the winning points as a loud roar from the crowd filled the arena.
“This is what I’ve worked eight or more years for,” a humble, soft-spoken Beck said in the media interview room only two minutes removed from the brawl. “The farther the match went, the more confident I was and it all fell into place.” Asked how the unexpected detour off the platform and onto the arena floor affected him, the champion responded, “It didn’t hurt at all when I hit the floor. I’m not sure if it was my adrenaline or what. It probably looked a lot worse than it was. I’m sure I’ll feel it tomorrow,” he added with a smile.
With more than 150 career pins, Ishmael — like Beck, a senior — isn’t use to matches going into the third period and overtime. He entered the battle with a 45–1 mark this winter — the only loss being via disqualification in an earlier tournament when he used an illegal hold that resulted in an opponent sustaining a serious injury.
Ishmael was 3rd in the state at 195 a year ago, and 5th at 189 as a sophomore. Both years, he defeated Beck at “The Big Dance” including via a convincing 12–2 count in 2012.
Beck was 8th at 189 pounds as a sophomore.
The victory was the 50th in 51 matches this season for Northmor’s most recently crowned state champ. His lone loss was to Lexington’s Josh Lehner. Lehner posted a 52–0 record and won the Division II 195-pound state championship.
Northmor head coach Scott Carr said the strategy late in the match wasn’t complicated. “We just told him to keep working. He’s been working on leg attacks the past three to four months. He’s got a 3.7 GPA. He’s a smart kid.”
The fifth-year head coach has two of Northmor’s four state champions under his helm. Tyler Heminger won in 2011 after three consecutive seasons as a runner-up. When it was mentioned that both of his state champions are named Tyler, Carr responded with a laugh, “It’s gonna be a pretty popular name now (in Morrow County).”
C.B. Dollaway — currently a mixed martial arts professional fighter — became the Golden Knights’ first state titlist in 2002.
Two years later, Brian Baldridge followed suit.
The Black-and-Gold — who placed 12th as a team with 39.5 points — had three wrestlers in the tournament earn trips to the podium and medals.
Beck’s teammates — Jamie Baldridge (145 pounds) and Colin Visconti (152) — were 5th and 8th, respectively, in their weight classes.
Baldridge is a junior.
Visconti — who had arthroscopic in January — is a senior.
Galion junior Zac Tupps also secured a trip to the podium and an accompanying medal by placing 4th at 126 pounds. Tupps registered a 3–2 record in his second trip to Columbus. Two of his three triumphs were of the overtime variety. He also rang up a major decision. On the season, he posted a fine 52–7 mark — the wins being a GHS single-season record.
Another Tiger — sophomore Deaken McCoy — wrestled in the seniors and juniors dominated 220-pound weight class. One of only two underclassmen in the 16-wrestlers field of that division — McCoy went 1–2. His win was by pin in the opening round.
The Orange-and-Blue tied with Upper Sandusky for 32nd place at 17 points. The Rams had six wrestlers in the tournament. Troy Christian secured the team championship with 95.5 points — 13 more then runner-up Delta.