(March 18, 2015)
By Pat Donahue, Staff Writer
Jonathan Alder senior Troy Caldwell entered the state wrestling tournament, held March 12-14 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus, with a chance to win a second straight Div. II title.
A state champion in the 220-pound weight class last year, Caldwell elected to move up this season to the 285-pound heavyweight class. Though he was often lighter than his opponents, sometimes by 30 pounds or more, he amassed 42 wins and only one loss leading up to state.
Coach Ron Thomas Sr. said Caldwell spent extra practice hours this season wrestling against Assistant Coach Ron Thomas Jr. In recent weeks, he also added workouts with former Alder wrestler, Bobby Blankenship.
The extra work paid off as Caldwell pinned his first three opponents at state, for which he earned a trip to the final round where he faced Galion senior Deakon McCoy. Like Caldwell, McCoy entered the tournament with a 42-1 record. His one loss was to Caldwell; Caldwell’s one loss was to him.
And so the stage was set for the state final on the center mat in front of a packed house. The wrestlers battled through the three regulation periods, neither scoring a take down but both scoring a point each for an escape. The match went into overtime as the other matches on the stage ended, leaving Caldwell and McCoy to finish the last match of the tournament and the season with all eyes fixed on them.
The two heavyweights went through three tie-breaker periods, each scoring one more escape point. This pushed the match to an ultimate tie-breaker to be determined by a 30-second period (the seventh period overall) in which McCoy chose to try to escape, leaving Caldwell the task of stopping him.
Both wrestlers were visibly exhausted. McCoy fought to get free from Caldwell’s grasp, which Caldwell later admitted he barely maintained until the time expired. The Jonathan Alder senior gutted it out, though, taking the win and notching his second state championship.