COLUMBUS — While his teammate was ecstatic for his own third-place finish, Saturday’s March 10 realization for Legacy Christian’s Tommy Hoskins seemed too much for him to bear.
Hoskins, a three-time defending state champion, came to Columbus as a favorite to win the Division III 126-pound state title, but after a 3-0 upset loss to eventual champ Cole Mattin of Delta in the semis, his dream of winning a fourth title had been erased.
Relegated to the consolation rounds, Hoskins made quick work of Newcomerstown’s Logan Hursey and recorded an 11-3 major decision win in the consolation semis. He then edged Akron Manchester’s Zach Larue, 4-3 to claim third place.
As the match referee raised Hoskins’ hand in victory, the LCA senior appeared wide-eyed and distraught as if he’d lost.
“It’s starting to sink in that … it’s over. It’s done. And it’s not the way that I wanted to finish,” Hoskins said, moments after receiving an emotional hug from his father/coach, Tom Hoskins, and his brother Drew, as he stepped off the state tournament mats for the last time.
“But I mean there’s nothing I can do now. This is it, this is the end of the tunnel until I go to college (at the University of Oklahoma). You’re on the state floor and you never quite realize when it’s going to be the last time that you’re on that state floor.”
Hoskins admitted that he wasn’t 100 percent for the postseason. He’d missed a good bit of the season with a knee injury, and said he had been dealing with the flu bug in recent days. But he said that wasn’t an excuse for his loss.
“Nobody cares about that stuff here,” he said.
While Hoskins’ high school wrestling career had ended, freshman teammate Clint Brown’s foray into the state tournament spotlight had just begun.
After a loss in the championship quarterfinals, Brown had to battle his way through four consolation matches to claim his third-place finish in the Division III 132-pound weight class. He said he owed a lot of his success to Hoskins.
“Tommy is a huge example to me. He’s awesome, to be honest,” Brown said. “He really pushed me hard throughout the season. When I was the only guy on the team who was wrestling, when Tommy was injured, he was there to push me to my limits and he just kept me going. I’m really thankful to have Tommy on this team.”
Two other Greene County-area wrestlers ended their seasons on the awards podium on Saturday: Greeneview’s Devan Hendricks claimed a 10-4 decision win to claim fifth place at 126 pounds in D III; and in Division II, Bellbrook’s senior Ben Sherrill lost a narrow 3-1 decision to Aurora’s Andy Garr to place sixth in the 138-pound weight division.
Still looking a bit dismayed by finishing third in his final state tourney, Hoskins said he plans on using his third-place medal as a motivational tool.
“One of the things that anybody can say that knows anything about a sport is that the key to success is failure,” Hoskins said. “I’m going to remember this failure for the rest of my life. Every time I’m tired and I don’t feel like working out, I can look at that third-place medal with the rest of the gold ones next to it. There’s nothing that’s going to make me work harder than knowing a kid took my dream away from me when I did everything right. … It just didn’t work out for me this weekend.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.