By JAMIE BAKER
COLUMBUS — Just one to go for Elmwood’s Dylan Hinton.
Get his hands raised tonight, and he’ll be a state champ.
He won his semifinals match Friday by the slimmest of margins to highlight the second day of the OHSAA state wrestling tournament at Value City Arena.
Hinton had to rally in the final seconds to knock off Bluffton junior DeAndre Nassar at 197 pounds.
Just looking at Hinton, one could tell he was all business on Friday.
And, for Hinton, business was good.
The Elmwood senior knocked off Nassar on his way to earning a spot in today’s Division III 197-pound championship match.
The two met earlier this season in the Van Buren Invitational with Hinton rolling to an 11-1 win.
It was a much different match Friday.
Hinton got a takedown early. Nassar scored an escape to cut the lead to 2-1. The two traded escapes to make it 3-2 in the third period.
That’s when things got interesting.
The two scrambled and Nassar got a takedown on the edge of the mat with 18 seconds remaining to take 4-3 lead. But Hinton was awarded a penalty point for Nassar locking hands and used a switch to earn an escape in the final five seconds for the match-winning point.
“It’s crazy, I worked so hard for this, I’m so excited,” said Hinton, who will take a 48-2 record into today’s state final against Grandview Heights’ Hudson Jump, who pinned Hinton in last year’s state tournament, ending his season.
“It was a tougher match than the first one. It was a battle, but I expected a battle from him today.”
It certainly was a battle. A battle similar to Hinton’s 4-0 quarterfinal win over Martins Ferry’s Dalton Hoover, in which Hoover was forced to use three of his five minutes of blood time for a bloody nose and cut above his eye.
How physical did it get?
There was nothing illegal or dirty in the match, it was just hard, physical wrestling by both Nassar and Hinton. Nassar, now 40-2, lost part of his front tooth in the match against Hinton.
“He was being real physical and I handled it pretty well up toward the end. It was kind of rough. I thought I was going to end up winning but it was a close one,” said a soft-spoken Nassar.
“I just have to fight back through the consis and try to get third.”
THEY’RE OUT: Tiffin Calvert’s Connor Kwiat came up empty in his second and final state tournament appearances.
Kwiat, a senior, went 1-2 in the tournament losing in the 170-pound consolations to Nelsonville-York’s Tyler Speelman 9-1 to end up with a 31-8 record.
Lakota sophomore Trevor Franks (45-8) fell to two-time state placewinner Chase Moore of Swanton 5-2.
SATURDAY SCHEDULE: Consolation semifinals are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, followed by the placement matches for third-, fifth- and seventh-place.
Hall of fame ceremonies take place to kick off the final session at 5:20 p.m. with the parade of champions set for 5:30 p.m. with the Division I, II and III championship matches to follow.
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