COLUMBUS - The only thing standing between Southview senior Greg Isley and the first state wrestling championship in school history is an opponent he has lost to twice, Findlay's Matt Alexander.
Isley and Alexander both captured tight, dramatic victories in the Division I state championship semifinals last night at the Schottenstein Center. The third meeting of the 189-pounder grapplers will be the only match in the D-I finals to feature area wrestlers.
"I was on top looking at the clock running out and it was just a great feeling," Isley said. "You've been working all year to get to that point and you know you have just one match left."
Springfield sophomore Garrett Manley, Waite senior Scott Fuller and St. Francis de Sales senior Maks Babuder have an opportunity to place today. Manley, a 103-pounder, went 2-1 yesterday and could finish third.
Isley trailed Andrew Tumlin of Harrison 4-2 with 26 seconds left in the match. But he took Tumlin down to tie it and then turned him with a half nelson for three more back points and a stirring 7-4 win.
"When I get down, it makes me angry. I get mean," Isley said.
"That's what drives me. I knew I needed to win. I just wanted it real bad."
The victory also gave Isley 100 wins in his career and moved his record for this season to 36-5.
"Earlier in the season, I was joking that I wondered how high that first-place podium will be," Isley said. "But the past few weeks, it's gotten serious. When I got here I felt like I could really win this."
Isley went to overtime in his championship quarterfinal with Kyle Sanders of Columbus St. Charles before pinning him 31 seconds into OT. He said he is aware that Southview has never produced a champion and has had only four placewinners.
"Southview is by no means known for wrestling," Isley said. "People don't know Sylvania Southview in the wrestling community. I'd love to change that. Hopefully, when they say Southview, wrestling people will think about that Greg Isley kid."
But Isley must get past Findlay's Alexander (41-2), who edged Akron Kenmore's Cody Lamberg 3-2 in his semifinal. Alexander has beaten Isley twice this season, including a 6-5 win in the district final.
"For me I have [the momentum]," Alexander said. "But I'm sure he is seeing it as a final grudge match. He will come after me. But I've already beaten him twice. I know I can take it to him. It will be tough. It's the state final and it will be fun."
Isley said he has plenty of family motivation. He said his sister, Danielle, is pregnant and could not come here to watch him.
"Her doctor wouldn't let her come down," Isley said. "So she is sitting at home pulling her hair out."
Fuller, who finished fourth last year, had two losses and a win at 130 and could place seventh.
Waite senior Alex Herrick (140), who was a placewinner last year, went 0-2 yesterday and was knocked out.
Babuder eliminated Clay junior Justin Wharton (37-8) in the 160 consolation round with a pin in 25 seconds.
Babuder, who won his first round match by handing Ethan Taylor of Cuyahoga Falls just his second loss, ensured that he will place in the top eight.
Findlay heavyweight Max Gladstone lost twice yesterday and finished the season at 30-10.39.96196 -83.00298