Wrestler Zach Horan’s perfect postseason run comes to an end, Bennett moves on
Zach Horan’s record was 12-11 overall and 0-1 in the Mid-American Conference when the regular season concluded.
The three-time high school state runner-up was not pleased, so he phoned his former high school coach.
“I was really down on myself. I didn’t have very much confidence, and for the first time in my life I was losing a lot of matches,’ Horan said. “I called my high school coach and he told me you can split it up into two seasons. You got the regular season, and the postseason and anything can happen in the postseason.”
Something did happen. To begin the NCAA Championships Thursday at St Louis, Horan upset No. 12 seed Bryan Ortenzio of Penn to clinch his fourth consecutive postseason victory.
He was down 3-0 entering the third period and won 5-4 with a last second takedown.
“I know I needed to do something when the third period started,” he said. “He was favored to beat me anyways, so why not just give it all I got. So in the last two minutes, I tried to pull something out. So I just went for it.
“Most of the postseason, pretty much everyone I’ve wrestled has been favored to beat me and I’ve just been going and wrestling as hard as I can.”
Horan’s streak of improbable postseason wins ended in the second round against No. 5 Joe Colon of Northern Iowa 9-2. The score was not indicative of the match.
The desperation Horan used to win the first four postseason matches of his career helped to widen a 4-2 lead Colon had with a minute remaining in the match.
Just by stepping foot on the mats at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, Central Michigan’s Mike Ottinger and Horan accomplished something no pair of Chippewas true freshman had ever done.
No more than one true freshman had earned a berth in a single NCAA postseason tournament for CMU, until this season.
“I think it’s great. It shows that we have a bright future for our program,” Horan said. “Mike and I live together. We both work very hard. We’re both far away from home, which isn’t very easy for us and we just kind of been feeding off each other.”
Donnie Corby shared the same fate.
Ben Bennett of the 184-pound division was the only wrestler who came out of Thursday unscathed.
He showed his experience in his third trip to the NCAA Championships by winning his first two matches by a combined score of 18-1.
Borrelli said he did well, but pointed to the “tough road in front of him” starting tomorrow morning against the returning champion.
Heavyweight Peter Sturgeon tallied his first career win in the NCAA Championships. He lost in the following round to No. 2 Tony Nelson of Minnesota 6-0 after defeating him at McGuirk Arena in December 6-4.
Joe Roth and Scott Mattingly dominated their opponents in the first round of wrestlebacks. Mattingly had a pin and Roth won 12-3.
CMU was tied for 13th in the field of 78 as of late Thursday.
“It was good at some times and disappointing at some times. Kind of up and down,” Borrelli said. “(Not having) Donnie Corby and Mike Ottinger in the tournament is disappointing, but we’ve got five guys winning matches and scoring points for us still, so in that way it’s a positive.”
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