By ANDY WOLF
FOR THE COURIER
BOWLING GREEN — Obstacles can knock down any athlete, but only a select few get back up again.
For Luke Leonard of Fostoria, missing out on being a state qualifier by one match last year became that hurdle.
Though for Upper Sandusky, all four of its state qualifiers had to battle their way through the consolation rounds Saturday at the Division II District wrestling tournament at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center.
The Rams’ Thurston Dyer (113), Carson Mengerink (132) and Tylor Pritchard (220) finished third while Alex Kenner (160) ended up fourth.
Their success earned the Rams a seventh-place finish as a team with 77½ points. Toledo Central Catholic captured the team title with 191 points.
Leonard, a junior, rebounded from a sixth-place district finish last year by placing second at 126 to earn his state berth.
“I came into (Districts) thinking I should have been at state last year,” Leonard said. “I used last year to motivate me and knew I had to execute.”
Leonard started Saturday in the semifinals only needing to win one of his next two matches to qualify.
Facing Adam Wilhelm of Dayton Carroll, Leonard opened his semifinal match with a takedown in the first period for an early 2-0 edge. Leonard held on for a 3-2 decision to set up a title bout with Springfield Northwestern’s Devin Rogers.
Despite dropping the match 9-4, Leonard didn’t let the loss take away from the gratification of qualifying for the state tournament.
“Every day in practice is miserable and exhausting and takes a lot out of your body,” Leonard said. “I just keep thinking it’s all to get to state and to finally reach my goal is an accomplishment.”
Dyer, a sophomore, had to battle his way through the consolation bracket after dropping a 7-6 decision in the quarterfinals.
Dyer, who ended up finishing third, put together back-to-back wins and clinched his state tourney berth with an 8-4 victory over Oak Harbor’s Dylan Mansor in the consolation semifinals.
“It was one of those things where it’s the go-to round and you have to give everything you have,” Dyer said. “I wrestled loose and did everything I could to win the match.”
Kenner also had to string three consolation victories together on his way to placing fourth to earn a state bid.
“My goal is to place at state again,” said Kenner, a sixth-place finisher at state last season. “Losing early got me down at first but I figured I’d build more steam to get through the rest of the matches.”
Pritchard and Mengerink each made their way to the semifinals before falling into the consolations.
Mengerink jumped out to an 8-2 lead against Lima Bath’s Tre Wheeler after one period before recording a pin in 1:17 in his go-to-state bout. Mengerink claimed third with a 14-0 win over Oak Harbor’s Rhett Peterson.
Pritchard earned his state berth with a 6-3 win over Bowling Green’s Tyler Jacobs and put an exclamation mark on his district tournament by pinning Sandusky Perkins’ Kordell Chaney in 4:47 to earn third.
“(Coming back after a loss) was probably the hardest thing to do,” Pritchard said on his semifinal loss. “I was beat and upset but I knew I had to win the next one and that was the motivation.”
It won’t be hard to find motivation at next week’s state tournament.
Lance Smith (132) Keegan Green (152) and CJ Matheny (160) also wrestled for the Redmen but failed to qualify.
Smith and Green lost in the second consolation round while Matheny dropped both of his matches.
Dylan Robertson (195) won a pair of matches for the Rams but also failed to qualify.
1, Toledo Central Catholic 191. 2, Lexington 115. 3, Sandusky Perkins 100½. 4, Wauseon 97. 5, Clyde 92½. 6, Oak Harbor 78½. 7, Upper Sandusky 77½. 8, Lima Shawnee 57. 9, Sandusky 52. 10, Wapakoneta 49½. 11, Tipp City Tippecanoe 47½. 12, Tiffin Columbian 46½. 13, Mansfield Madison 46. 14, Lagrange Keystone 38½. 15, Springfield Northwestern 37½. 15, Elida 37. 17, Lima Bath 36½. 18, Eaton 35. 19, Defiance & Norwalk 33. 21, Napoleon 31. 22, Bay Village Bay 28½. 23, Rocky River 27½. 24, Medina Buckeye 24½. 25, Galion 24. 26, Lorain Clearview & Fostoria 23. 28, Vermilion 16½. 29, Maumee 16. 30, Bellevue & Bowling Green 15. 32, Monroe 12. 33, Bellefontaine, Celina, Dayton Carroll & Benjamin Logan 11. 37, Dayton Thurgood Marshall 8. 38, Sheffield Brookside & Bryan 6. 40, Rossford 5. 41, Clear Fork 4. 42, St. Marys Memorial 2. 43, Middletown Fenwick & Kenton 1. 45, Ontario, Fairview Park Fairview & Firelands 0.