COLUMBUS — Two Versailles wrestlers are competing in the 2014 Ohio High School Athletic Association state wrestling championships at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, and both are still alive for a medal after the first day of wrestling.
“It’s good we have both kids moving to the second day,” Versailles coach A.J. Bey said. “Matt (Mangen) is in a tough side of the bracket, but he’s wrestling well, and I know Moose (Kyle) Dieringer had high expectations of coming in.”
Matt Mangen got off the a great start with a 6-5 win over Cole Zeigler of West Lafayette Ridgemont, coming from behind to claim the victory.
Mangen fell behind 3-1 after one period of action, but picked up the intensity in the second — scoring on a takedown to tie the match at 3-3.
“I knew I needed to wake up,” Mangen said. “When I got that takedown in the second period it was huge because I knew I could ride the guy for the remainder of the period and go into the third period tied.”
The Tiger senior then close bottom to start the third period and immediately took a 4-3 lead with an escape. He then recorded another big takedown to push the lead to 6-3.
From there Mangen protected his lead as he surrendered an escape point and then a stalling point in the final seconds to make the final score 6-5.
And with his first match out of the way, Mangen is looking to find a spot on the podium.
“I was here two years ago as an alternate and last year I lost to the defending champion, so my goal this year is to get on the podium,” Mangen said.
Mangen will take on the Garfield Heights district champion, Zack Durbin of Ashland Mapleton, in today’s quarterfinal bout. Durbin, also a senior, is unbeaten at 50-0 after placing runner-up in 2012 in the 113-pound weight class and third last season at 113 pounds.
For 195 pound junior Kyle Dieringer, he didn’t get the start he was looking for as he dropped his opening bout to Tristan Anderson of Apple Creek Waynedale by the score of 12-3.
But he was able to rebound with a win over Kyle Johnson of Galion Northmor in the consolation round.
“I know Moose isn’t happy being in the concise, but he came back strong after his first match and wrestled well,” Bey said. “He controlled the match.”
And Dieringer, he still has his sights set on a spot on the podium after falling short a year ago.
“That’s the goal,” he said. “Last year I was nervous, but this year I came in pretty confident and focused. I’ll come back tomorrow and wrestle one match at a time.”
And the fact that both Mangen and Dieringer have each other to lean on throughout the tournament is a blessing.
“We help keep each other focused,” Dieringer said. “Matt always tells me the things I can work on for my next match and that helps a lot.”
Both will continue in their quest to reach the podium as wrestling resumes at 10 a.m.