by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
COLUMBUS — Teays Valley senior Camden McDanel handled his semifinal opponent to set up a shot at taking care of some unfinished business in the Division I state wrestling championships.
Teammate Joey Thurston is also returning to Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center Sunday as he vies for seventh place.
McDanel (41-2) advanced to the 190-pound state title match with an 18-6 major decision over Springboro’s Myles Johnson (50-4).
This will be McDanel’s third time in the title match – he came in second as a sophomore at 182 and second last year at 190.
“We’re going to do it – this is it, it’s the last time, the last chance. I’m prepared, my coaches are prepared, I believe in myself, I believe in the training I put in, I believe in my teammates who’ve gotten me this far, I believe in my coaches who went out of their way to help me when I asked for help and when I didn’t ask for help, my dad and my family, everyone who supported me — I’m going to finish it tomorrow,” McDanel said.
“Sometimes getting to the finals the first time, sometimes I think is easier than the next two times,” TV assistant coach and Camden’s father, Josh McDanel said. “COVID you’re in a gym (at Hilliard Darby), it’s a little bit different, a smaller environment. Last year, we knew what our end match was going to be if we got there against Seth (Schumate – now wrestling for Ohio State). “He’s wrestled a lot of these guys multiple times, sometimes that can be a challenge even for a kid like Camden.
“Hat’s off to Myles Johnson, he wrestled Camden tough. That’s the most he’s come after Camden. It’s special but he’s got one mission and we’ll see what happens tomorrow night.”
Johnson was an opponent he was familiar with.
“When we wrestled earlier in the season, he kind of ran away from me. He wasn’t running away from me that time, so I kept doing my thing,” Camden McDanel said. “If a shot opened up, I took it.
“He was really, really slippery. I couldn’t turn him on top because every time I grabbed the wrist his arm would slip out. So, I just kept taking him down and letting him up. He wasn’t doing a whole lot in neutral so all I had to do was stand there and wait for him to mess up and I just shot.”
Championship matches begin with the parade of champions at 5 p.m. and wrestling begins at 5:15.
Thurston (36-9) faced Mustafa Woodi (37-5) from Shaker Heights in the heavyweight quarterfinals and lost a 6-4 decision.
“We just told him to not hold anything back,” Teays Valley coach Todd Nace said. “He’s got that little roll that he hasn’t showed all weekend. Sometimes we get the kid on their back with it, sometimes we don’t.
“Early he got out of position and got snapped down. He readjusted and that didn’t happen to him the rest of the match.”
Thurston will be facing Midview’s Austin Dye (35-7) in the seventh-place match.
“We love Joey. He’s a great kid and we’re really proud of where he’s at,” Nace said. “We’ll try to get seventh in the next round sometime in the morning and see what we can do.”