North Union’s Dylan Thompson attempts to get out of the grasp of Will Bechstein during the Division III state wrestling tournament. Thompson dropped two matches to the Bloomdale Elmwood grappler and went on to place fifth in the 220-pound weight class.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
North Union High School wrestler Dylan Thompson left The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Saturday very pleased with what he accomplished.
No, he didn’t carry out the championship medal from the Division III 220-pound weight class.
He left with something far more important … he was able to prove a lot of people wrong.
“I think a lot of people underestimated me,” said Thompson, after he won a match to place fifth in his weight class. “There were some who didn’t think I should have been here and others were wondering how I would do.
“I’ve been saying all along that I wanted to prove that I belonged here.”
Thompson silenced any naysayers with his performance throughout the tournament.
He dropped his opening round match Thursday afternoon to Will Bechstein of Bloomdale Elwood by a 17-10 verdict.
That could have set any detractors thinking they had proven their point.
Thompson, though, stayed alive in the tournament with a 3:09 pin-fall later that evening over Mike Casella of Wellington.
The Wildcat senior went into Friday’s second consolation bout needing only one victory to assure himself of a place on the awards podium.
Thompson passed that test with flying colors when he put Alex Piczer of Newbury to the mat in 3:25.
That triumph placed Thompson in the consolation quarterfinals on Saturday morning with a shot at competing for either third or fifth place.
Ironically, his next bout featured a rematch against Bechstein.
The Elwood grappler proved he had Thompson’s number with an 11-3 victory.
Bechstein took a 2-0 lead in the first period with a takedown and added a marker early in the ensuing set with an escape.
Another takedown and a near-fall pushed Bechstein out to an 8-0 advantage by the end of the second period.
Thompson wasn’t able to do much against the Elmwood junior, who went into the state tournament with more than 40 victories on his resume.
The NU athlete managed points on escapes, but ultimately fell well short of victory.
The setback put Thompson in the match to determine fifth and sixth place against Anthony Czap of North Lima South Range.
Czap got out to an early 4-0 lead after a couple of takedowns.
Thompson tallied his first point on an escape as the opening period came to an end.
The local grappler pulled to within 4-3 with a takedown and then began to pick up steam.
Thompson tightly wrapped Czap on the mat to grab a 6-4 margin by the end of the set on a near-fall.
Czap opened the third period with a takedown that knotted the score at 6-6.
Thompson broke the deadlock with an escape and then showed Czap who really was the boss.
A takedown and near-fall doubled his advantage to 12-6.
Thompson threw in a couple of takedowns for good measure as he claimed fifth place with a 16-8 major decision.
While extremely pleased with his three-day performance, Thompson (who finished the season with a 38-11 record) didn’t go into any theatrics such as chest thumping or bicep flexing.
“I feel I had a good tournament,” he said with a slight smile. “I got on the awards podium and that’s awesome.”
“Dylan earned his spot on the podium,” said North Union coach Garrett Andrews. “He studies wrestling and pushes himself year-round.
“He won only one match here at the state tournament as a junior,” the coach said. “I think that helped drive him this year.”
Thompson became the first NU wrestler to advance to the state awards podium in the past three years.
Corbin Bunsold (third) and Brandon Cox (fourth) each placed during the 2016 state tournament.
Although Thompson’s days in a North Union singlet are over, his wrestling career is not.
He will attend Heidelberg University, where he plans to both wrestle and play football.
“That’s going to be tough,” admitted the former Wildcat gridiron lineman. “However, I’m going to give both a try and see how it goes.”
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