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.”