A two-person contingent will lead the Green Bulldogs to the Division I state wrestling tournament and both will arrive in Columbus with a different story.

A two-person contingent will lead the Green Bulldogs to the Division I state wrestling tournament and both will arrive in Columbus with a different story.

Senior Noah Schaub is making a return trip to the state level after a disappointing result one year ago and looking to make the final event of his high school career a meaningful one.

“It was pretty special to qualify as a senior after getting down there last year and not placing,” Schaub said. “Last year was more of a learning experience on the big stage and just qualifying was a big feat.”

Schaub placed fourth at 126 pounds at the Mentor district tournament to earn his return trip to Columbus, where he will be joined by first-time state qualifier Floyd Rogers. Rogers, who only started wrestling in seventh grade, has the requisite level of enthusiasm one would expect from a wrestler who just secured his first trip to Columbus by winning the 220-pound title at the district meet.

“I was ecstatic honestly. At first it didn't really hit me when I won my semifinal that I was going to states,” Rogers said.

Although he’s in just his fifth season of competitive wrestling, Rogers set a goal of placing in the top five in the state for this season. It was a lofty aim, but one he believed was possible from the outset.

Still, it wasn’t until a midseason championship at the Washington Courthouse Invitational that the closeness of his goal crystallized for Rogers.

“After I won at the Washington Courthouse tournament and pinned my guy in like 45 seconds in the final, I was like, ‘If I wrestle like I did here, I know I’m going to states,’” Rogers said.

On his two-hour trip south, Rogers (34-11) will be able to draw from the lessons Schaub learned from his own state experience as a junior. Schaub (33-14) was one of four Green wrestlers who qualified last year and he remembers the benefits of having teammates to train and travel with through the postseason. The chance to make it for a second straight year is once he values highly.

“I like competing at the highest level and I like the bonding time with my coaches and teammates,” Schaub said. “Mostly though, i like facing the best competition I’ll ever see.”

That chance to shine against the best of the best is a draw for Rogers as well, although he admits that he sometimes feels he could be further ahead as a wrestler if he hadn’t been such a late arrival to the sport. With the massive scale of the state tournament and the number of matches going on at any given time, both Green wrestlers know staying focused and calm will be vital.

For Rogers, that means either finding a place to sit down and be alone with his thoughts or relax to the soothing sounds of one of his favorite recording artists, Jack Johnson. Johnson’s music is known for its laid-back vibe and that vibe jives perfectly with Rogers’ need to calm himself and get focused before stepping onto the mat.

Schaub takes a similar approach and knows that the natural tendency is to get too amped up and try to come flying out of the gate and do too much in the opening minutes of a match.

“I just tell myself to keep moving, don’t slow down and try to keep moving for all six minutes of the match,” Schaub said.

Both Schaub and Rogers relish the chance to write a successful final chapter to their story and become the ones to help Green wrestling make a return to the podium in Columbus.

Reach Andy at 330-580-8396 or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB