By Ben Robinson
COLUMBUS — Miami East seniors Graham Shore and Alex Isbrandt, both three-time state placers, had visions of closing out their prestigious high school careers on top of the podium at the state wrestling meet.
For Shore, his dream is still alive after a dominating 9-3 win over Clay Eagle of Ashland Crestview in the semifinals Friday night.
“Graham took care of business,” said Miami East coach Mark Rose.
And in the process, Shore controlled the match on his feet by recording four takedowns.
“He’s so quick and fast on his feet,” Rose continued. “He rattled off a lot of takedowns and kept the pressure on throughout the entire match.”
And Shore never let up when he had the lead.
“He didn’t sit on the lead either,” Rose said. “We’ve seen it too many times where a kid sits on a lead and it evaporates in a hurry. Graham continued to score when the opportunity presented itself.”
Shore will now face Julian Sanchez of Genoa Area in the finals tomorrow night.
“It’s nice to see the smile on his face,” said Rose. “He needed to get into the finals to finish out his high school career.”
For Isbrandt, it was a two pivotal sequences that cost him a chance of returning to the state finals match after finishing second a year ago.
“We got caught in the Peterson twice,” Rose explained of his 10-6 defeat to Evan Hosteler of Apple Creek Waynedale in the semifinals. “It’s hard to come back from that.”
The match started out at a high pace early as both wrestlers scrambled in an attempt to get a takedown. Hosteler was able to come out on top for the takedown and a 2-0 lead until Isbrandt escaped to close out the frame.
Then, another scramble ensued and Hosteler was able to catch Isbrandt on his back for a reversal and three back points.
“Give the kid credit,” Rose said of Hosteler. “He knows how to lock it up.”
Still, Isbrandt was within striking distance as he cut the margin to 8-6 in the third period, but was once again caught for two near fall points to end his quest of reaching the finals for the second straight year.
Isbrandt now faces Jared Ford of Troy Christian in a rematch of last week’s district championship match in the consolation semifinal.