ARCANUM – Ethin Hoffman is just the fourth Arcanum wrestler to qualify for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state meet, and he wants to achieve more than any Trojan wrestler ever has.
Hoffman wants to place at this week’s Division III state tournament, hopefully better than seventh, which is the highest finish ever by an Arcanum wrestler.
“Definitely want to place,” the Arcanum junior said. “I believe the highest placer for Arcanum is seventh so I definitely want to do better than that.”
Hoffman is the first Arcanum wrestler since Nick Firestone in 2012 to qualify for the state tournament. In 2010 the Trojans’ John Sullenbarger and Jared Beatty both advanced to state, placing seventh and eighth, respectively.
“I think this is huge for our program,” Beatty, who now is the Arcanum wrestling coach, said of Hoffman joining the exclusive club of state qualifiers. “It probably won’t be valued as much in the community as it is. We’re kind of a small-scale wrestling program as far as everybody else here in Arcanum, but it’s really big. For the people that follow it it’s huge.”
Hoffman finished fourth in the 126 pound division at last week’s district tournament in Troy to earn a spot in the state tournament. In the first round at the state tournament he’s match up against Delta junior Cole Mattin, a district champion.
“We’ve got a really tough kid to start off with from Delta,” Beatty said. “He’s a junior. He’s like 43-3. He’s a two-time state placer so definitely got our hands full the first round. Hopefully can wrestle well there and whatever happens happens.”
Hoffman was a state alternate as a sophomore so he traveled to Columbus last year and experienced the state tournament atmosphere. He thinks that experience will help him when he competes this year.
“Walking out of the tunnel and looking up and seeing everybody, how big the place was, and I just wanted to do that, wanted to be there,” he said.
Hoffman started dreaming about qualifying for the state tournament during his freshman season. He’s worked hard to achieve the goal and put in extra time to make it happen.
“He puts in a lot of work outside the team,” Beatty said. “He goes to Mike DeHart’s up in Covington a lot. He keeps his head down. He is a good kid. He is a quiet kid, works hard. Not just in here in our room but also outside of here he puts a lot of time in.”
Having worked so hard, Beatty thinks Hoffman is certainly capable of achieving his goal of placing at the state meet. And regardless of what happens this week, the experience will be beneficial for his wrestling career moving forward.
“I think qualifying this year is definitely going to help him out for next year, hopefully have him come back with that confidence of a state qualifier,” Beatty said. “Definitely be there next year placing hopefully higher than we do (this year). We have an opportunity to place this year. Hopefully gets to Columbus and wrestles well, wins a couple matches and we can get a medal, bring a medal home.”
The OHSAA state tournament will begin Thursday and continue through Saturday at The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus. The first round of the Division III tournament will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.