By JAMIE BAKER
COLUMBUS — Saturday was a day Ottawa-Glandorf senior Daniel Beemer and his family will remember for the rest of their lives.
It was the day he became the school’s first state wrestling champion.
Beemer capped a dominating 41-0 season by jumping out to an early lead in whipping Edison’s Sam Stoll 9-4 for the Division III 182-pound state crown in Saturday night’s OHSAA state tournament finals at Value City Arena.
They’ve had a wrestling team at Ottawa-Glandorf for 53 years.
But never before has the school produced a state champion, or a wrestler the caliber of Beemer, a three-time state placer who has won 79 of his 81 matches over the past two years.
“It’s so surreal right now. It’s been a childhood, if not a lifelong, dream to win state,” Beemer said as he awaited the presentation of his state championship medal by O-G head coach Randy Ebbeskotte.
“To be able to accomplish that with the group of guys we have and the community around me, words can’t describe it. It’s just awesome.”
Ever since Beemer burst onto the scene as a freshman, everyone who follows the sport knew he had the tools to be something special.
But during those first two years of mat success, which included a fifth-place finish at state as a sophomore, Ebbeskotte wasn’t sure Beemer had what it took to make Saturday’s state championship a reality.
“He was a good wrestler right away. We knew he had the ability but his freshman and sophomore year, to be honest, he was a little lazy. He got by on all of that talent he’s got,” Ebbeskotte said.
Not satisfied with where he was at and where he wanted to be, Beemer picked up the pace and began to do what was needed to make his state championship dreams a reality.
“I’ve really had to pick it up the last two seasons. I felt I was really close last season. I lost in the semis and that just gave me more fuel for my fire,” Beemer said. “I had more motivation to get to where I needed to be to represent my family, my school and northwest Ohio down here to the best of my ability.”
Beemer passed his final test with flying colors before Saturday night’s finals crowd of 12,271.
Beemer’s match against Stoll, a three-time state placer with a 55-3 record from tradition-rich Edison, wasn’t even close.
He scored his first takedown just 35 seconds into the match and led 2-1 after the first period.
A Beemer escape made it 3-1 before he finished a nifty outside single-leg takedown midway through the second period for a 5-2 lead at the break.
An escape by Stoll cut the margin to 5-3, but Beemer was able to counter a shot by Stoll and score a takedown for a 7-3 third-period lead that essentially wrapped up the title.
“I got that opening takedown and that was a real confidence builder. For me to get that lead it really made me feel confident. At that point, I felt like I could control the pace of the match,” Beemer said.
“After I was able to stop a couple of shots and got that second takedown, I felt like I was really in command.”
Beemer’s performance is now the gold standard for wrestling at Ottawa-Glandorf.
His championship, coupled with junior Danny Rosales’ seventh-place finish at 170 pounds, give the Titans two state placers in the same season for the first time.
Beemer’s legacy at Ottawa-Glandorf will be difficult to duplicate.
“Coming into the program I had big goals in mind for me and wrestling at Ottawa-Glandorf,” Beemer said. “I wanted to be the highest state placer, the first state finalist and set other records. And the guys I wrestled with these four years, we’ve all elevated the program at O-G to a higher level.
“To finally cap that off by only giving up one takedown all season, going 41-0 and winning a state championship, it’s been as close to perfection as I can get.”
And a season no one at Ottawa-Glandorf will soon forget.
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