Medina, Contos come up just short in quest for title

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

Clay senior Micah Medina and Waite sophomore Phoenix Contos came so close to reaching the wrestling summit, but coming in at second place at the state tournament is nothing to be disappointed about, especially in Division I.
Medina, wrestling at 120 pounds, won three straight matches before falling by technical fall, 21-6, to Perrysburg’s Marcus Blaze in the finals. The loss was preceded by a pin in 4:48 over Mentor’s Jack DeBoe, and two wins – one by a margin of 4-2 (over Massillon Perry’s Liston Seibert) and the other by a margin of 4-3 (over West Clermont’s Gael Ramirez).
It’s been a tough season for Medina, who has had to battle injuries.
“He had shoulder issues, and his first competition was the Maumee Bay Classic, a tournament we hold. He didn’t place there,” said Clay coach Justin Wharton. “To overcome all those things and to stay committed to the process and work hard is impressive. It was really cool to see how that played out for him.
“He wrestled on Sunday night with a shot to win a state title,” Warton said. "
Medina talked about the experience.
“Confidence is the most important thing,” he said. “I don’t have the greatest technique or best endurance, but I make myself believe that no one can beat me, and no one can beat me and go six minutes with me, and no one is tougher than me.”
Medina, a two-time state placer and a four-team league champion, discussed dealing with the shoulder injury. “Not doing anything was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It wasn’t easy getting back into wrestling, either,” he said. “Watching kids that I’ve grown up wrestling while I sat back was super hard and there were a lot of nights crying and wondering if I’d wrestle again.”
His teammate, freshman Garrison Weisner, came in fourth at 113. He pinned his first opponent, Teams Valley’s Gunner Havens, in three minutes before falling to Massillon Perry’s Mason Rohr, 7-1, in the second round. But Weisner recovered to win three straight matches in the consolation bracket before falling to Rohr, 7-2, in the third-place match.
“For Garrison, a freshman, to go to Columbus and with 15,000 people watching, to perform at the level that he did, it was super impressive,” Wharton said. “He is someone that has had a lot of success, but he had a low moment when he didn’t place at the Brecksville Tournament earlier in the season. For him to overcome the feeling of not having success and needing to fix certain things is super impressive.”
Contos won his first three matches before falling, 7-2, to Perrysburg’s Ryan Avalos in the finals. Avalos pinned his first three opponents before beating Contos. Contos pinned Marion Harding’s David Backus in 3:39 in the first round, beat Miamisburg’s Jayden Cochran, 8-3, in the second round and edged 1-0 Massillon Perry’s Austin McBurney in the semifinals.
“In the semifinal match in the third period, I rode (McBurney) out for the entire period. That takes some mental toughness and physical toughness, for sure,” said Contos. “Both of us were tired. I looked at my dad before the third period and he said, ‘Do you want this?’ It was not easy, but I wanted to get to that point, for sure.”
Despite an incredible performance, Contos was not terribly pleased with the results.
“Second is pretty good, but I don’t think it’s what I wanted. I wanted first place. In my eyes, it’s not where I wanted to be,” said Contos. “Finishing second makes me want to basically throw the medal away. It makes me sick to my stomach. I know I’ve put in more work than anyone in the state. I have to come back 10 times harder. I better finish first. I know I can finish first, that’s my mentality. I have to push the pace a little bit harder, and I think I’ll get the job done.”
Contos’ Teammate Austin Smith competed at the meet but lost his two matches.


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