“I thought Reece looked confident and he felt good about his goals.”
Those were the words of Jonathan Alder High School head wrestling coach Tony Watson to describe Pioneer 106-pounder Reece Chapman.
The Division II district runner-up will now compete in the state tournament at The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.
D-II action is scheduled to get underway at 4:10 p.m. on Friday.
The tournament will continue on Saturday after a pair of rounds (championship preliminaries and first consolation bouts) on Friday. It will conclude on Sunday.
“Reece was the aggressor more often than not during his district matches,” said Watson. “His double-leg and fireman’s takedowns were definitely working for him.
“Reece also proved to be difficult to take down during the district,” said the coach. “He makes an opponent have to be perfect in order to get him off his feet.”
Chapman will open the state tournament with a 44-7 record. His opening round bout will be against Jack Welsh (28-10) of Millersburg West Holmes.
Watson said Chapman’s strategy heading into the state tournament won’t change from previous post-season matches.
“Reece just has to do the same thing he did for the district,” said the coach. “He just has to work on continuing to get better, work on his aggressiveness and be mentally confident.”
Chapman’s goal is to earn a spot on the awards podium, which honors the top eight placers in each weight class.
What does he need to do in order to accomplish that feat?
“Reece will just have to continue to wrestle his style,” said Watson. “He has to stay aggressive and go for a few more takedowns.
“I think he’s worthy of finishing in the top eight,” said the coach. “He just needs to keep that in his mindset.”
Watson stated the obvious when he said Chapman will be going up against the best caliber of wrestlers the state of Ohio has to offer.
“The competition is going to be strong, but Reece is ready for it,” he said. “He’s worked hard during the season and off-season.”
Watson said Chapman’s state tournament qualification is not only good for the individual, but the entire Pioneer program.
“We’ve been working to rebuild our numbers,” he said. “We really needed Reece to take this next step to show other guys they can also do it.”
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