Madison's Blough hanging tough in Columbus

Mar. 9—COLUMBUS — What's tougher than getting to the Ohio High School Athletic Assocation state wrestling tournament?

Madison senior Noah Blough might say getting to the second day.

Blough is on the same script as a year ago at the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

After a 10-5 opening-round loss to Graham Local's Bryce Kohler, he fought back with a 3-2 win over Wauseon's Ian Martin in a Division II 165-pound consolation round match during the first day of the state tournament.

Tournaments are all about making sure you find a way to stay alive for another bout, which is just what Blough was able to do.

"It was a win, but it wasn't how I wanted to win," Blough said. "I was just wrestling to win. I wasn't wrestling to score points, which is what I normally try to do. Hopefully [today], I can be a little better."

Blough seemed in a very good place, up 2-0 headed to the third period where he was able to choose the down position.

An escape would have given him control of the match, but Martin was not about to allow that to happen.

Instead, Blough spent most of the final period with his head pressed to the mat, and Martin's shoes keeping his legs all but paralyzed.

His inability to make much movement drew a stalling point with 1:23 to go in the match.

"You're just trying to keep wrestling," Blough said of the situation. "When he has the boots in, it's hard to move and get out. When you get called for stalling, you just have to stay in your head and keep wrestling and try to get out."

"You can panic down there," Madison coach Andrew Tomaso said of Blough's predicament. "Especially when they have the legs in, it's tight space. I feel confident with guys in the bottom position, that they shouldn't get turned, but it's scary, anything can happen."

Blough never did get out, but with 18 seconds remaining, Martin changed strategy and gave Blough the escape and a 3-1 advantage.

Blough said he was happy for more than just the point.

"He was very tough on top," he said. "I don't know if I ever could have gotten out of there. He gave me the escape. It was really tough, I should have gotten out, but I wasn't wrestling my best."

At the same time though, Blough was able to keep his belly to the mat and not his back.

"That was one of my weaknesses early on," he said. "Giving up back points that I shouldn't have been. I've cleaned that up a lot over the season."

Blough gave up another stall point, but it proved meaningless as the third-period clock ran out on Martin.

Next up, Blough will face the loser of today's quarterfinal match between Bishop Watterson's Michael Boyle and Columbus DeSales' Zach Lopez. Blough has not wrestled either one before.

A year ago, Blough lost his first match on the second day.

A win today would give him a step on the podium as a state placer, while a loss will end his season.

In spite of what's

at stake, Blough said

his mentality for the postseason has not changed.

"It's just like last week and sectional week, treat every match the same," he said.

Izaiah Siler, Madison's other state qualifier, had his season end on Friday after he dropped his D-II consolation match at 157.

He finished the season with a 31-15 record, and has something to build on for next season.

"It was a really fun experience," Siler said. "And it makes me very hungry. I can't wait to put in the work this offseason and come back with a different mentality."