COLUMBUS — Gutsy Ada junior wrestler Chase Sumner had his fine season ended by a severe high left ankle sprain in the 138 lb. bracket Friday at the Div. III state meet in Columbus at the Schottenstein Center.
Despite the injury, Sumner fought his way to the seventh-place match and finished his campaign with a sparkling 40-5 record. He became the first two-time state meet placer (top-eight finisher) in Bulldog wrestling history.
The injured Sumner was pinned by Brian Persinger of Wooster Tri-way (42-8) in the consolation quarters Friday evening to end his dreams of a top-four finish.
The defeat dropped Sumner into the seventh-place match against J.D. McNett (35-6) of Tontogany Otsego Saturday morning.
But due to his serious injury, Sumner was not expected to wrestle McNett Saturday. Sumner actually hurt his left ankle Friday morning in a loss to Gavin Stika, but continued to battle through two more matches.
Sumner started out Thursday in the 16-man draw as a three seed and faced sophomore Billy Luft, a sophomore from Newark Catholic who came in as the two seed from the Coshocton district with a 37-7 record.
Sumner pinned Luft at 1:10 to advance to the championship bracket quarterfinals against Stika, the top seed in that quarter of the draw.
Stika, a junior from Creston Norwayne, won the Garfield Heights district title and sported a 44-2 record after decisioning McNett 11-2 in his first round state match.
Stika pinned a hobbled Sumner at 4:56 in the championship quarterfinals of the double-elimination event Friday morning.
The resourceful Sumner then managed to edge Zane Strubler (45-11) of Casstown Miami East in a gutty 4-2 decision during the second consolation round Friday afternoon to stay alive for a top-four finish in the double-elimination event.
"He hobbled around on one foot, literally," recalled his proud father/coach Jason Sumner of the win over Strubler. "Chase had a takedown but couldn't release his grip and got called for locking hands, so he was up 2-1."
Strubler chose the neutral starting position in period two and Sumner earned a second takedown, but got caught in a scramble pulling Strubler out of bounds to save his ankle, giving Strubler a point.
Sumner chose the neutral position to start the third and final period, and was able to ward off any Strubler takedown attempts to capture the close decision.
But then, compromised by the serious ankle injury, he lost to Persinger to fall into eighth place.
"Chase is so full of heart and probably shouldn't have wrestled Strubler, but he wanted to earn a spot on the podium," said coach Sumner. "We felt we owed it to him to see how far he could get, knowing the injury would not allow him to battle back to finish as high as third."
State competition resumes Saturday morning at 10 a.m., and concludes later in the day. The seventh-place matches will be contested at 11 a.m. Saturday.
"We went about our day keeping Chase with the Ohio State University training staff," said coach Sumner. "They did everything possible to give him the opportunity to climb as high as possible.
"We left it up to them to let us know when enough was enough," he continued. "That ended up happening in the last match against Persinger. We didn't want to leave with any excuses, and I think he accomplished that by trying to push through the pain."
His father reported that the injury might also be a stress fracture, and that they would know more once he goes to OIO Monday for further testing.
Although Sumner did not come home with a tangible title trophy, he may have won a different kind of intangible championship with his gritty effort under duress. The experience should help him in his quest to return to state for a third time next season - and to reach the final podium.
Sumner finished fourth in the 132 lb. class in 2016, the highest finish ever for an Ada grappler at the state meet.
Allen East senior Schuyler Caprella remains alive in the tournament at 132 pounds having advanced to the championship semi-finals on Friday.
Caprella (40-5) advanced to the championship semi-finals at 132 pounds with a 9-0, major decision, win over Michael Yacapraro of Wooster Triway Friday morning.
In the semi-finals Friday night, Caprella fell to Mechanicsburg's Alex Rhine 16-5, major decision, to drop into the consolation semi-finals Saturday morning. In the consolation semi-finals, Caprella will face Logan Kissell of Garfield.
A win would advance Caprella to the third place match Saturday afternoon, while a loss would drop him into the fifth place match on Saturday. The other consolation semi-final has Tuslaw's Isaac Elliott facing Brad Trescott of Rootstown.