By JAMIE BAKER
Time for Bluffton’s Zach Wilson to give it another Schott.
And he’s hoping his season ends with him wrestling for a Division III state championship at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center on March 2.
After two straight fourth-place finishes at state, the Pirates’ senior 152-pounder is hungry for more.
Wilson won a 17-10 offensive slugfest against Creston Norwayne’s Kurt Moore in last year’s Division III 145-pound state quarterfinals. But his state final dream took a hit in his next match as he dropped a tough 10-7 decision to Delta’s Tyler Fahrer in the semifinals.
You could tell watching Wilson wrestle in the Saturday morning consolation matches that the loss had taken its toll on the Bluffton standout.
“I watch that semifinal loss from state every now and then,” Wilson admitted. “I have a good picture from after I lost in the semis and it shows how tore apart I was.
“I look at that picture every once in a while. And when I do it makes me want to train even harder. I just need to keep wrestling hard and working on my technique.”
So far so good for Wilson, who ripped through his first five opponents of the season at last weekend’s Findlay Duals.
For Wilson, the next several Saturdays and the work he puts in in Bluffton’s practice room everyday is one more step on the road toward fulfilling his goal of making the state final.
Wilson might bump up a weight class or two during the season. It won’t be because he’s ducking anyone though. He’s just looking to compete against the toughest kids he can find.
“I’m looking to wrestle whomever I can. If they are the best then I want to wrestle them. I want to get as many good, quality matches in that I can to prepare for March,” said Wilson, who has a 125-17 career record.
“I try to find the best guys to work out with in practice and that’s going to be the way it is all year. I want to go at it everyday in practice and hopefully that’s going to pay off down the road.
“During the offseason I counseled a few camps and went to the Disney Duals and pretty much worked out all summer. I tried to stay tough and focused on my technique. I really think I made some gains.”
The wrestling season is a grind. And for elite wrestlers like Wilson that means morning workouts, dieting during the holidays and working through those bumps and bruises that accumulate through a tough three month stretch of dual matches and tournaments.
Wilson has been through it all before and is ready to make one last push for the Pirates.
“I think my technique is right where it should be. I just have to be mentally tough all season, when things get a little bit tough, and they always do, I can’t break. I have to stay focused on my main goal,” Wilson said.
“Yeah, I would be a little bit disappointed if I didn’t make the finals this year. But I know in my heart if I wrestle the way I can and should, I’ll be in the state finals.”