SPARTA — Cody Matthews will stand on the podium at the OHSAA Division II state wrestling championships in his home gym on Sunday.
The only thing left to determine is which place on the podium the 152-pound Highland High School junior will occupy.
Highland was chosen as the site for the Division II state tournament after Ohio State University opted not to host it due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Matthews posted a 2-1 record on the first day of the state tournament on Saturday to earn a spot in the third round of the consolation bracket. He will face Graham Local senior Trace Braun (35-4) on Sunday morning.
“It’s pretty awesome. He’s a junior and a placer, that’s fantastic,” Scots wrestling coach Adam Gilmore said Saturday evening. “He’s top eight now; hopefully (Sunday) morning he can come in and get a win and climb into the top six and keep going that way. We’ll see.”
Matthews (46-5) opened the tournament with a pin fall victory against Lake Catholic senior Anthony Trivisonno at the 3:39 mark. That match featured a battle between the No. 7 (Trivisonno) and No. 9 (Matthews) ranked wrestlers in the 152-pound weight class in Division II, according to InterMat Ohio Wrestling.
“It felt really good, especially being in front of the home gym, with a lot of our fans and the team here. It felt really good to get the first one out of the way,” Matthews said.
The bout was tied 4-4 when Matthews gained the advantage and scored the pin fall. He said good preparation leading up to the tournament was the key to that win.
“We’ve been practicing really hard this week,” Matthews said. “(Teammate) Eli (Grandstaff) has been helping me a lot this week and I think that helped me a lot with that match.”
In the second round, he faced undefeated and InterMat Ohio Wrestling No. 1 ranked Peyten Kellar of Vincent Warren, losing via pin fall at the 3:44 mark to drop into the consolation bracket. Kellar (34-0) earned a place in the semifinal round on Sunday following a pair of pin fall wins on Saturday.
Matthews aggravated an old shoulder injury in the match against Kellar, but overcame that to earn an 8-4 victory over Ashland’s John Metzger in the second round of the consolation bracket.
“The coaches helped a lot, just getting my mind back in it,” Matthews said, explaining his quick turnaround for the consolation match. “At that point, I only needed one more win to reach the podium. … For right now, I’m savoring the moment, but it’s time to start getting my mind right for (Sunday) and just start climbing and see how far I can get up on the pdoium. … (The shoulder) is a little sore, but some ice and waking up in the morning, I should be good. (Kellar) was really wrenching on it during the match.”
Matthews said he suffered the original injury during the 2019-2020 postseason.
Graham Local leads the team standings with 80.5 points heading into the final day. The rest of the top five teams includes Louisville (44 points), Lake Catholic (40.5 points), Copley (40 points), with Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and Aurora tied for fifth place with 33 points each.
For complete information about the OHSAA Division II state wrestling tournament, go to baumspage.com.
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