NORTH CANTON The last time Luke Reicosky put on a Hoover uniform, he walked off the mat a winner.
That his win at the Division I state wrestling championships came in a the third-place match is part of the story, but while Reicosky wishes he had been competing in the championship match, being able to walk off the mat victorious still means a lot.
"Things went pretty well and I only had one loss, but to get to win my last match and go out on a win is a lot more satisfying," Reicosky said. "I wish I had gone to the finals, but winning my last match meant a lot."
Part of the reason the win was meaningful is that Reicosky doesn’t play a spring sport for Hoover, so the end of wrestling season meant the end of his high school sports career. He was a standout running back for the football team and one of two competitors at the state tournament for the wrestling team, though he hasn’t made a decision yet about whether he wants to wrestle in college.
While he feels that he did everything he possibly could to succeed on the mat during the season, Reicosky noted that in the offseason for wrestling, he devoted his energy to football because that was the sport he was preparing for at the time.
"During the summer, I focused on football, Whichever season it was, football or wrestling, I put 100 percent into that," he said of his training.
As a two-time state qualifier, Reicosky joins a select group of Hoover wrestlers who have achieved that feat. Although he, teammate Ben Smith and head coach Nick Gamble were the official Hoover contingent at the state tournament, friends, family members and teammates made the drive to Columbus to see him compete. Having that support provided a boost of energy, as did the always-enthusiastic crowds that fill the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the Ohio State University campus for the state tournament each March.
Reicosky admitted that he enjoyed the final few weeks of the season even though he had fewer and fewer teammates around as they were individually eliminated from the postseason.
"I liked it when it slimmed down a bit because the guys who really wanted it and wanted to work hard were the ones who were still there," he said.
The atmosphere at the state tournament left an indelible impression on Reicosky, from the large crowds to the pyrotechnics on the final day to the chance to spend a weekend in Columbus. Some of his friends who have siblings that attend Ohio State were able to make the trip down and spend the weekend with their brothers or sisters and cheer Reicosky on and their support was another memorable part of the weekend.
At the same time, there was a bittersweet note to the proceedings because after a middle school and high school sports career with the words "Hoover" and "Vikings" displayed across his chest, Reicsoky knows he won’t have another chance to don the orange and black in a competitive setting.
He’s now pointed toward college and while he hasn’t settled on a school yet, he wants to pursue a career in business. Not having organized sports in his life should he choose not to wrestle in college will be difficult, but knowing that he was able to walk away on a winning note lessens the sting a bit.
A 3-2 decision over Nevan Snodgrass of Kettering Fairmont in the third-place match was close and hard-fought, a fitting end for Reicosky’s career. Smith added a fourth-place finish at 195 pounds to help the Vikings place 14th as a team, one spot above Federal League rival Jackson and seven spots behind Perry, giving the Federal League three teams in the top 15.
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