VERSAILLES – Three Versailles wrestlers have one final opportunity to represent their community, and they all hope to finish their high school careers on the podium at this week’s state tournament.
Seniors Bo Bey, Tanner Bey and Jonathan Moorman will represent Versailles in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III state wrestling tournament at The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus. The state tournament will begin today and continue through Saturday.
“It’s awesome to represent Versailles at state with the best of the best,” Bo Bey said. “It’s cool just to be able to represent small town Versailles in a big place like Columbus.”
Both Bo Bey and Moorman will compete at the individual state tournament for the first time while Tanner Bey has qualified for a second consecutive year. They’ve all been to the state tournament before, though, with Moorman and Bo Bey watching from the stands and waiting for their opportunity to compete on Ohio’s biggest stage.
“It’s definitely not anything like wrestling around here where you’ve got some smaller schools and small crowd of 20 people,” Moorman said. “It’s a lot different.”
It will be beneficial for all three that they’ve experienced the atmosphere of state before, coach A.J. Bey said.
“I think they understand the logistics of getting down there and how they have to wrestle to stand on the podium,” he said. “And I know all three of them their goals earlier this year were to stand on the podium. It’s going to be a meat grinder down there, but we’ll see what happens.”
Tanner Bey had been to the state tournament as a spectator prior to competing for the first time last year. However, it’s different actually stepping into the arena.
“Last year I was a little nervous going in because I had never wrestled there,” he said. “Once you walk out of the tunnel it’s kind of all eyes are on you. I think I’ll be a little bit better this time since I’m used to it a little bit and I don’t think it will be so much nervous.”
As they prepare for the state tournament, all three of the Versailles seniors have the same goal: to finish in the top eight of their weight classes and earn a spot on the podium.
“Just hoping to see that we all get on the podium together and accomplish our goals,” Moorman said.
In the 145 pound division Tanner Bey will begin state tournament action against Belmont Union Local senior Devin Crum, Moorman will take on West Lafayette Ridgewood senior Kasey Bethel in the first round of the 170 pound class, and Bo Bey will face Navarre Fairless junior Nick Shephard in the opening round of the 182 pound tournament.
“It’s going to be surreal because I’ve been there in the stands watching them come out and wrestle,” Bo Bey said. “I’ve never been actually a part of it. So it’s going to be definitely different and probably pretty awesome.”
The three seniors are close friends, they said, and they’ve been together throughout their wrestling careers so it’s fitting that they get to complete their journeys together.
“We’ve been together since junior high,” Tanner Bey said. “It shows how much you and friends can push each other.”
As four-year varsity letter winners, each of the three Versailles state qualifiers are well prepared to compete at the state tournament, Coach Bey said, and he thinks it’s a very good possibility that they can accomplish their goals and make the podium.
“I’m sure there’s going to be some nerves,” Coach Bey said. “Even just walking out of that tunnel you get butterflies. You’re down in a dark tunnel, and you walk out and there’s 10, 15,000 people watching. I’m sure they’re going to have butterflies, but once the whistle blows I think they’re going to be all right.
“To end their careers down there, I think it would be suiting if they all ended up on the podium.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.