By Rob Kiser
COLUMBUS — Versailles 182-pound senior Jerome Bey didn’t want to let teammates Tanner Bey (145) and Jonathan Moorman (170) down at the D-III state wrestling tournament Saturday.
Tanney Bey and Moorman had already recorded wins, before Jerome Bey took the mat on the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University.
“We had talked about this on the way over here (to the state tournament),” Bey said with a big smile. “We were all going to win our first match and go back to the hotel (instead of having to wait several hours for a consolation match).”
So, when he found himself in a 3-3 tie with Navarre Fairless junior Nick Shepard with less than 10 seconds remaining, Jerome Bey knew what he had to do.
He escaped with five seconds to go for a 4-3 victory.
“I knew those guys (Tanner Bey, Jonathan Moorman) were going to be mad if I didn’t win (and they had to stay),” Jerome Bey said. “So, I knew that escape was going to be pretty big.”
Jerome Bey had the first takedown of the match to go up 2-0 and was leading 2-1 going to the third period.
He started down and with about 30 seconds to go in the match, Shepard let him up to give Jerome Bey a 3-1 lead, but Shepard immediately took him down to tie the match and set up the dramatic finish.
“I had to get the escape,” Jerome Bey said. “That kid was taking me down pretty easily. I didn’t feel like the odds were on my side going to overtime.”
Tanner Bey started the day for the Tigers and drew on his experience from being here last year.
“There were a lot of nerves last year,” Tanner Bey, the only one of the three who had wrestled at state before, said. “I knew what to expect. I was a lot more prepared.”
He jumped out to a 4-1 lead on Devin Crum after one period and stretched it to 7-1 in the second period.
Leading 7-4 in the final 30 seconds, he got a takedown to finish off the win.
“I knew I had it,” Tanner Bey said about the win. “I was able to score early on. It feels good to get that first win.”
Moorman was trailing 2-1 late in the first period before taking over the match and going on to a 14-5 victory over Kasey Bethel of West Lafayetter Ridgewood.
Moorman had come over to the state tournament last year as an alternate.
“And I have been here a few times watching matches,” Moorman said. “It gives you an idea about the atmosphere. It is a great experience being in the crowd.”
But, nothing compares to being on the mat.
“It is a whole different world,” Moorman said with a big smile. “This is huge to get the win. This is definitely going to take the pressure off. I just had to shake some nerves off early.”
The quarterfinals resume at 10 a.m. Friday morning.
Tanner Bey, 44-8, will wrestle Derek Gross, 52-0 of Norwalk St. Paul, a three-time state placer.
Jonathan Moorman, 37-11, will wrestle Brad Mendoza, 45-3 of Gibsonburg.
Jerome Bey, 37-10, will wrestle Tanner May of Carey, 38-8,
And they will look to continue the Tiger victory trend.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.