by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
COLUMBUS — Teays Valley’s Joey Thurston is wrapping up his high school wrestling career with a spot on the podium after just missing out the last two years.
The senior heavyweight won his final match by a 10-1 major decision over Midview’s Austin Dye to claim seventh place at the 86th OHSAA Boys Wrestling State Tournament.
“I’ve been one match away the last two years. I finally made that podium,” Thurston said. “I wished I could have been a little higher, but I’m still blessed to be on it.
“I’m happy and I hope everybody is proud of me.”
After losing a 6-4 decision Saturday in the consolation quarterfinals, Thurston wasn’t holding anything back Sunday.
“I knew it was going to be my last high school match so I just wanted to go out and do what I needed to do and wrestle as hard as I could,” Thurston said. “I felt really good out there. I felt like my stuff was opening up. I was pulling the trigger on everything I thought was right.”
With 110 wins over the last three seasons, getting that last one at the Schottenstein Center caps a great career.
“That’s always the goal to go out with a win and get your hand raised in the last match,” Teays Valley coach Todd Nace said. “I’m really proud of Joey coming a long way after some adversity in his life. There’s no better kid to deserve it than Joey.”
Thurston and fellow seniors Camden McDanel (wrestling Sunday night for the 190-pound title) and Gunner Havens, who qualified for the state tournament all four years, have been mainstays in the Vikings’ wrestling room for way longer than the last four years.
“They’ve been a staple in our program since they were in second, first grade,” Nace said. “Their dads were in our program in the ’90s. They stayed around in their hometown and brought their kids into our program and we’re grateful for that.
“It’s something special to have those three kids. I’ve loved watching them grow up and it’s really special for all three of them to make it through four years and do what they’ve been doing for our program.”