(Posted March 14, 2018)
By Pat Donahue, Staff Photographer
Four Madison County wrestlers made it to the big show–the 81st Annual State Wrestling Tournament held March 8-10 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus. One of those wrestlers made the podium and took home a medal.
Jonathan Alder senior Jacob Johnson earned his spot in the Div. II 120-pound class with a first-place finish at the district tournament. This year marked his third trip to state.
Johnson came away with a win in each of his two previous trips but was hoping for more this time around. He started his 2018 state appearance with a 9-2 victory over sophomore Keegan Kohler of Fairfield Union on Thursday.
Friday didn’t start off as well, but Johnson battled back with three more wins, including an overtime victory, to take fifth place overall in his class. He finished the season with a record of 43-3.
Three athletes represented West Jefferson at state, including junior Joey Buckland who got his first state showing off to a good start with a 15-3 major decision over junior Jamie Viront of Massillon Tuslaw. Day 2 took a different route, with Buckland suffering losses to Dakota Blanton of Ashland Crestview and eventual Div. III 126-pound class champion Cole Mattin of Delta.
Buckland qualified for state with a runner-up finish at district. He recorded his 100th career win while at state. He wrapped up the season with a 40-13 record.
The other two wrestlers from West Jefferson were senior Mark Woodard and junior Hunter Braithwaite.
This was Woodard’s first trip to state. He claimed a 9-4 win over sophomore Carlton Roberts of Rossford in the 152-pound class and finished the season 40-15. Braithwaite competed in the 220-pound class. He qualified for state by placing fourth at district. He finished the season 39-15.