COLUMBUS — Woodmore’s Evan Ulinski knew Delta’s Jake Spiess quite well before they met Friday in the Division III state wrestling semifinals at Value City Arena.
Spiess, a sophomore, entered with a 46-0 record at 113 pounds and was a season-long favorite to win a state championship. He owned a 2-0 record all-time against Ulinski, including an overtime victory in last year’s state final at 106.
Yet Ulinski, a senior, never stopped believing he could beat Spiess, then finally proved it with a stunning 5-3 come-from-behind victory.
PHOTO GALLERY: Wrestling Day 2
Spiess owned a 3-2 lead with 15 seconds remaining when Ulinski slipped out of Spiess’ clutches and pulled off a reverse with only a few seconds left. The sudden turnaround drew plenty of cheers from the crowd of 9,600.
“It feels pretty good,” Ulinski said. “It feels great. It’s good to get him back. I kept him from being a four-time champion.”
While it looked like time was quickly ticking away for Ulinski, he didn’t panic with less than 20 seconds left while caught in a cradle.
“He seemed like he was gassed, and I still had plenty in the tank,” said Ulinski, who improved to 50-2. “I just made sure to keep after it. Really, I just wanted to keep the tempo up, and he just folded.
“The mentality is to keep wrestling and just keep winning. I got here and hopefully I can end the season with a win this time.”
Delta senior Kyle Keller will also be looking for a state title today.
Keller (51-6) pinned Liberty-Benton’s Tyler Sarreshteh at the 3-minute, 43-second mark of their championship semifinal at 120.
Genoa junior Jay Nino (220) outlasted Archbold’s Travis Jaramillo to score a 5-2 decision and put himself in position to compete for a state title.
Nino (63-2) will face Fremont St. Joseph’s Corey Durbin, who pinned Columbus Bishop Ready’s Patrik Garren at the 3:49 mark.
Delta’s Drew Mattin (106), Tyler Fahrer (160), and Ryan Patchin (182) suffered defeats in championship semifinals matches, which hampered the Panthers’ chances of finishing atop the Division III team scores.
Dayton Christian moved into first place with 104½ points. Delta is second with 98.
Mattin suffered a tough 2-0 ultimate tiebreaker loss to Dayton Christian’s Hunter Bray. Fahrer lost a close 3-0 match to Mechanicsburg’s Austin Reese, and Patchin was pinned by Rootstown’s Travis Linton in 5:06.
In other championship semifinals, Otsego’s Jordan Hendrix (160) had a tough time against Creston Norwayne’s Kollin Moore, who dominated for a 18-3 technical fall. Archbold’s Kenny Price (138) fell 10-3 to Mechanicsburg’s Kaleb Romero.
In consolation quarterfinals, Delta’s Dustin Marteney (132) pinned Norwalk St. Paul’s Wes Fritz at the 4:15 mark, and Otsego Trent Soto (132) posted a 4-3 decision against Caldwell’s Kameron Rayner. Archbold’s Logan Day (145) defeated Dayton Christian's Nick Vestal.
Delta coach Tony Carrizales was named the Division III wrestling coach of the year.