COLUMBUS – To be called the ‘first-ever’ is a great distinction.
Ada junior Austin Windle will now be known as both the first-ever state qualifier and state-placer in school history.
In Friday’s second-day action of the Division III state wrestling tournament at Ohio State, Windle won his first consolation match of the day in the 160-pound weight class, stamping a spot on the awards podium this weekend. The top eight placers in each weight class are considered state-placers.
The Ada wrestling program did not start up until 2009. When wrestling began at Ada, it was first just a middle school program.
Then three years ago, the wrestling program took another step forward as it started the varsity program.
On Friday, Windle added another page to the Ada wrestling history book as he won his first match of the day, guaranteeing a place on the awards podium on Saturday night.
On Thursday, the first day of the state tournament, Windle lost his first match. Then in Thursday’s consolation match, Windle won by way of forfeit, which kept him alive in the tournament.
On Friday, he opened the day by defeating Columbus Bishop Hartley’s Jacob Croswell in a thrilling 2-1 match in the second round of consolations.
“I was confident,” Windle said. “I knew he (Croswell) was a good wrestler, but I’ve beat him already and I like this situation. I like to fight back the second day. I know it’s not the best situation to be in, but I’m comfortable with it. I know I can make the best out of it.”
Windle said he didn’t let all the hype of the state tournament get to him.
“I took my glances up there,” Windle said about the crowd at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. “It didn’t bother me too much. It’s not any different if it’s in front of 1,000 people or 10 people. I’m going to wrestle the way I’m going to wrestle.”
Ada coach Branden Nickles was confident of Windle’s chances.
“The way we wrestled this year, we put ourselves in position,” Nickles said. “We saw the draw. We saw it last week when we got ready to come down here. It was meant to happen. Everything has worked perfectly and we’ve wrestled well.”
Last season, Windle went 2-2 at the district tournament.
Windle ended Friday losing his consolation quarterfinal to Reading’s Ray Day, 5-2. Windle will wrestle in today’s seventh-place match in Division III.
“I’m glad to represent my school,” Windle said. “I made history. … It’s a great feeling.”