Duncan eager to return to state

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Konnor Duncan

Like most first-time participants, Kirtland junior 120-pounder Konnor Duncan wasn’t prepared for the walk from the auxiliary gym onto the arena floor during the first day of the 81st Annual OHSAA State Wrestling Championships at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus on Thursday.

Duncan went from a comfortable space in the practice room to the center of attention on one of 10 mats in front of 16,000 diehard wrestling fans.

“Walking out of the tunnel was crazy,” Duncan said. “I had no idea what to expect and being there is inspiring. Now I know what to expect when I walk out on those mats next year.”

Duncan finished the tournament 0-2.

“On Thursday, my biggest problem was not going out to wrestle my style,” he said. “I was looking to stop the other guy and I didn’t have a solid plan.”

Despite the two setbacks, Duncan is confident he was ready for the challenge of the state tournament.

“In regards to the competition, I have a lot to thank my coaches for,” he said. “The wrestlers here are around the same skill as the ones we meet in our tournaments throughout the season.”

He finished the season with a 23-17 record.

While Duncan has many fond memories of the 2017-2018 season, he won’t soon forget his 8-3 win over Tuslaw’s Andrew Wenzel in the quarterfinals of the Division III district tournament at Garfield Heights.

“The highlight of my season was my match against Tuslaw at districts,” Duncan said. “It was a great feeling to take it to a team that has their reputation and that beat us in the (state) duals last year.”

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.