By Rob Kiser
KETTERING — It has been the goal for as long as he can remember.
And now, Piqua 145-pound senior Andrew Bolin stands one match from the state tournament.
After two wins Friday, Bolin, 36-5, advanced to today’s semifinals where he will wrestle Eric Beck of LasSalle, 33-5.
The winner will advance to state, while the loser will need to win a consolation match to get to state.
“It wasn’t my best wrestling tonight,” Bolin said. “But, I refused to lose. This gets me one match from state and I wasn’t going to lose.
He opened against Dillon Kuntz and found himself in a real tussle.
“I really don’t know what happened there,” Piqua coach Scott Kaye said. “But, Andrew (Bolin) was able to hit the move when he needed to do, so that was pretty impressive.”
Bolin and Kuntz were tied 5-5 in the third period.
At one on point Bolin trailed 10-7, before getting a reversal to make it 10-9.
He let Kuntz up with about 30 seconds to go to make it 11-9.
“I was a little sluggish on my feet for some reason,” Bolin said. “I would be in good position and then he would make some kind of funky move to put me in bad position.”
But, with 20 seconds to go, Bolin was able to take down Kuntz and get a three-point nearfall for a 14-11 win.
“I was finally able to get underneath and come up and get him on his back,” Bolin said.
In the quarterfinals, he faced Beavercreek’s Ian Heiland, who Bolin had beat 10-0 in the GWOC semifinals.
Heiland would get a single leg in the first period to take a 2-0 lead.
“The guys we have been wrestling come out strong and shooting in the first period,” Kaye said. “Then, as they wear down, our conditioning kicks in.”
Heiland tried the same single leg in the second period, but Bolin countered it for takedown and two-point nearfall to make it 4-2. He added four more points in the third period for an 8-2.
“Again, I felt like I was a little sluggish at the start,” Bolin said. “And he came out and really attacked me. But, I just wasn’t going to lose.”
It was a tough night for Tristan Hostetter (126) and Kobe Scott (138).
Hostetter, who finished 23-16, lost by tech fall 16-1 to returning state placer Chase Craft of Northmont in a match that went the entire six minutes.
In the consolations, he lost to Chucky Lipps of Elder 4-0.
“We talked last week about his offense being his downfall,” Kaye said about Hostetter. “Tristan openly admits that. But, we weren’t able to find a solution. Now, he has all summer and fall to work on that,”
Scott,33-9, was pinned in 51 seconds by Quinzell Foster of Harrison and pinned by Devan Davenport of Lakota East in 34 seconds.
“Those guys just really couldn’t get anything going tonight,” Kaye said. “It is has been a tough time for Kobe (Scott). It broke his finger last week and had to have a tooth pulled this week. The wrestling Gods weren’t with him.”
Piqua’s Sam Herndon (120) failed to make weight and finished the season 31-10. Like Hostetter, he is a junior who will be back.
After advancing to the semis, Bolin went down and watched Beck’s quarterfinal.
“He is a really good wrestler,” Bolin said. “I just wanted to see him a little. I have to step it up every match. Because, the competition gets stronger and stronger with each match. Getting these two wins tonight definitely relaxed me tonight.”
And brought him within one match of his ultimate goal.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.