Jonathan Alder senior Jacob Johnson, top, is pictured during his fifth-place match at the Division II state wrestling tournament. Johnson earned that spot in the 120-pound weight class.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Kevin Behrens)
The Division II state wrestling tournament was far more rewarding this year for Jonathan Alder High School senior Jacob Johnson.
After bowing out early from the tourney the past two years, Johnson, JA’s 120-pounder, stayed alive to earn his first-ever trip to the awards podium on Saturday.
The 2016 and 2017 state tournaments could best be described as learning experiences for Johnson. He went 1-2 in matches at The Ohio State University’s Schotteinstein Center to conclude his sophomore and junior campaigns.
His final appearance in a Pioneer singlet, though, earned him a fifth-place finish in his weight class.
Johnson took a sparkling 39-1 record into Thursday’s opening round of the state tournament.
He won his first match and advanced to Friday’s championship quarter-finals.
A loss to Streetboro’s Dominic Carone left Johnson with the tougher task of trying to advance to the awards podium via the consolation bracket.
He scored a victory over Davin Rhoads of Louisville on Friday. However, an 11-1 major decision setback to Matthew Cardello of Cuyahoga Falls CVCA pushed Johnson down in the bracket for fifth place on Saturday.
Johnson secured that fifth-place finish with a 5-1 sudden victory triumph over Brady O’Connor of Gnadenhutten Indian Valley.
“I’m very happy with my result,” said Johnson after stepping down from the awards podium. “This was the third time I’ve wrestled at the state and I got to the podium this year.”
“Jacob wrestled very well,” said Alder assistant coach Ron Thomas Jr. “He saw some great kids and he beat some great kids to get where he is. We’re very happy the way it turned out for Jacob.”
Johnson, who said earlier in the week that he was a stronger wrestler on his feet, noted that his takedowns worked well for him during his state tournament victories.
The Alder senior, who is undecided on where he plans to wrestle in college, said his 2018 finish is a big step up from the past two campaigns.
“This is a good feeling,” he said. “I’m happy to end my high school career with a win.”
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