COLUMBUS - With Seth Williams making his third-straight trip to Columbus and Derik Kopp going down for the second time, Columbian coach Chad Long had high hopes for his veteran charges at the Division II state wrestling tournament.
On Day One, they delivered.
Kopp and Williams scored opening-round victories, advancing to today's championship quarterfinals and keeping the dream of a state title alive.
"The experienced kids that have been there, they can accept that fact that there's a lot of pressure on them and everything else," Long said. "I thought Kopp wrestled outstanding and I thought Seth did enough to win."
Kopp locked up against Andy Dobben of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in his 132-pound first round match, and held control nearly the entire way, posting a 9-5 victory.
Williams, at 152 pounds, grinded out a 5-2 win over Ifa Abduljelil of Whitehall-Yearling. However, Williams and Long agreed the returning third-place finisher from a year ago wasn't at his best.
"I didn't really eat that much, as much as I should've after I weighed in. Not making excuses, but I was a little tired," Williams said. "After eating tonight, (getting) some rest, I'll be ready to go tomorrow. Win by one, win by 10, it's all the same."
"He just didn't have to go-go juice," Long said. "Trying to get down to weight, his weight's still fluctuating right now. Everything he eats, he has to cut all that weight to get down to 152. It's been messing with him here. We're going to get some food in him and hopefully he looks a lot better here in the quarters."
No matter how it comes, Williams said it always helps to get through that first match.
"Getting that first match out of the way, it's good to get things in motion, get me in my attack mode," Williams said.
In his quarterfinal match, Williams will see a familiar face in David Brian Whisler of Warren Howland, whom Seth has trained with in the past.
"Obviously that kid knows what you do and now we just got to counteract," Long said. "This is a whole different atmosphere down here. Whisler was here last year. However, Seth has been here for three years now. He's going to feel a lot of pressure and I think Seth can beat him on his feet."
Correll's debut at state didn't go the way he planned, dropping his first match in the 138-pound bracket by pin in 53 seconds to Heath Lange of Indian Lake.
"He fought hard, he was bridging, but when you get down here, you're going to have good pinners no matter where you go and who you wrestle," Long said. "It's just unfortunate that's what happened."
Correll though battled back in his consolation match, scoring an 11-5 win over Logan Johnson of Newark Licking Valley.
"It was rough," Correll said when asked to describe his first day at state. "I got pinned my first match and that's the first time all year I've been pinned. It was kind of overwhelming walking out and seeing the big crowd, but after I got used to it, I came back and won my second match. I'm pretty happy overall."
Correll held control nearly the entire way in his consolation match, earning him the right to come back today with a chance to work his way up to as high as a third place finish.
"I got a takedown right away in the first period. Then after that, I controlled the match basically," he said.
The Division II championship quarterfinals will start today at 10:35 a.m. Kopp is slated to be the first Tornado to take the mat as he will lock up with Kade Kowalski of Dresden Tri-Valley. Williams' match will soon follow with Correll competing the consolation bracket, scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m.