After his Division II district wrestling tournament at Wilmington, Caleb Wetzel of Highland had no clue that he’d be competing at the state meet this past weekend.
Wetzel had finished fifth at 132 pounds in that meet, meaning he was the state alternate and, while a handful of those wind up competing in the state meet, being able to do so isn’t something an athlete can feel too confident about.
However, early in the week Wetzel had gotten notice that the third-place finisher in the district meet wouldn’t be able to wrestle, giving him the opportunity to extend his season.
While he didn’t wind up on the podium, he was able to take advantage of that opportunity, going 1-2 in the Schottenstein Center.
“I found out at the beginning of the week, which was unexpected,” he said. “For the whole week, I was the only alternate in the tournament, so that was cool.”
Wetzel fell by major decision in his first match by an 11-1 major decision, but bounced back to earn a third-period pin over Elijah Parrish at the 4:18 mark to earn the right to wrestle on Saturday.
While he suffered a 7-1 loss to eventual third-place finisher Brock Christian of Perry, the Scot junior was pleased to get some unexpected state meet experience.
“That was pretty sweet,” he said. “I wanted to win, but all those guys were state qualifiers and this kid wasn’t a state qualifier.”
And getting a taste of state-level action has him hungry for more. Wetzel noted that he plans to put in more effort in order to reach the podium in 2023.
“I’ve always gone to camps, but never went year-round, so that’s what I’m going to do this summer,” he said.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS