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The Suburbanite
  • Lake’s Carson takes second at state wrestling tourney

  • For his first three matches at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center, Lake sophomore 132-pounder Zac Carson was on a roll.

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  • For his first three matches at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center, Lake sophomore 132-pounder Zac Carson was on a roll.
    In his final match, with the Division I state title on the line, Carson ran into an absolute buzz saw in the form of Lakewood
    St. Edward’s senior Dean Heil. Heil defeated Carson by a score of 8-0 in the final and, in the process, became one of just 25 wrestlers in state history to win four state championships.
    The defeat by Heil left Carson just short of his goal of winning his first state title, an accomplishment that seemed within reach and within reason after his first three matches of the state tournament.
    In his opening-round match, Carson outlasted Kasee McDougle from Gahanna Lincoln in a close, low-scoring match that saw the Blue Streaks’ most successful representative at the meet squeak by in a 4-3 decision that sent him on to the quarterfinal round. After a tough opening match, Carson settled in quickly, and Lake coach Mike Mattingly pointed to Carson’s experience as a state qualifier last season as a big part of the reason he was able to show very few jitters in his return trip to Columbus.
    “I believe it helped a great deal. He knew what to expect and was mentally ready to wrestle his best,” Mattingly said.
    The veteran coach also pointed to the presence of teammates Alec Cotton (junior, 120 pounds) and Andrew McNally (freshman, 152 pounds) at the meet as another factor in making Carson more comfortable.
    “It also helped to have some teammates wrestling down there with him . Last year he was the only one from our team,” Mattingly said. “Alec Cotton and Andrew McNally both went 1-2, but wrestled very well in all of their matches.”
    After defeating McDougle in his opening match, Carson faced off against Strongsville’s Ricky Perez in the quarterfinals and wrestled arguably his best match of the event, dispatching Perez in a 9-4 decision. He took Perez down twice in the first period, including one with just one second left on the clock.
    “He wrestled very well in all of his matches, and we knew if he wrestled up to his ability that he could make it to the state championship (match), which he did,” Mattingly said.
    The win advanced him to the semifinals for a matchup with Painesville Riverside’s Nick Boggs, and once again, Carson took control of the match early on and was able to dictate the flow, scoring a 9-5 triumph to set up his match with Heil.
    Consistency was a hallmark of Carson’s four matches in Columbus, with his coach pointing to his consistency and ability to wrestle well fundamentally, taking advantage of every mistake one of his opponents made.
    Page 2 of 2 - “He kept wrestling in every one of his matches and took advantage of mistakes his opponents made. He continued to score points in all positions,” Mattingly continued.
    With the defeat to Heil, Carson finished the season with a team best 45-7 record and received the second-place medal at 132 pounds.
    While Cotton and McNally didn’t fare as well, Cotton’s 42-10 record and McNally’s 39-12 mark both bode well for next season on an individual level, as well as for the program overall.