Ashland senior Josh Bever grabs under-hooks as he battles Friday night against Westerville North senior Jacob Goldsmith, claiming a 5-3 win in the Division I, 220-pound state semifinal match.

COLUMBUS -- Ashland senior Josh Bever doesn't plan to wait in his state title match.

Mapleton coach Corey Kline knows he will have to wait a bit to get his suit from back home.

Regardless, both know Saturday night will be special at the 82nd annual OHSAA State Wrestling Championships at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

Bever (52-1) will meet Lakewood St. Edward's Seamus O'Malley (26-4)  in the finals of the Division I 220-pound weight division, seeking a third career win against his opponent in as many tries.

Kline will coach his wrestler, Beau Lefever (43-2), when the senior takes on Genoa Area junior Kevin Contos (47-2) in the Division III 152-pound state title bout.

Bever, now a three-time medalist, knew he flirted with disaster on Thursday night, battling off his back twice before pinning Garfield Heights senior Leon Webb in the first round.

He had no such struggles on Friday morning in the quarterfinals, taking charge from the outset and pinning Northmont senior Bryan Heyward (40-8) at 1:41.

The semifinal match Friday night, while not as dramatic, saw Bever dominate Westerville North senior Jacob Goldsmith, giving up a late take-down in a 5-3 win.

"I was pretty mad at myself (on Thursday), but at the end of the day (the coaches) know how frustrating it is," Bever said after the quarterfinal win. "They've gone through this process as much as I have. They said focus up, get my head out of my (butt) and wrestle my match."

Bever, the projected state champion in his weight class before the tournament began, said the pressure was off now that he was in the finals.

"For sure," he said, after winning Saturday night. "Instead of focusing on four matches and getting (to the state title match), now I can just focus on getting the job done."

Bever said he isn't worried about the difficulty found in beating an opponent three times.

"No one ever said there was going to be an easy state finals match. I know what I have to do," Bever said.

Ashland coach Sean Seder said Bever and O'Malley know each other well.

"I think for us he knows what we're gonna do and we know what he's gonna do. So it will be one of those nice, strategic kind of matches. We know he is gonna hold onto our wrist, shoot a couple of shots and try to keep it close. We're going to do our best and open it up and get that first and second takedown," Seder said.

"After that first match (Thursday), Josh rebounded. His resiliency, his competitive nature, I am extremely proud of him. Some guys would question themselves. He said, 'It's just a fluke. I am done with that nonsense and am going to just take care of business,' " Seder said.


Mapleton senior Beau Lefever celebrates Friday night after winning his Division III, 152-pound state semifinal match against Nelsonville-York's Noah Inboden, 6-2.

While Lefever conducted his post-match interview Friday night, Kline was busy on the phone, making arrangements for his wife to bring his suit to Columbus for the title match on Saturday night.

"I gotta get that suit brought down now," Kline said with a laugh. "I am glad I left it at home. This is good karma. I called my wife to bring it and then I called my mother to make sure she doesn't forget it."

Lefever didn't forget what he saw four years ago when watching the state tournament from the stands as a freshman.

"My freshman year, I came down here to watch my brother's friend wrestle. I told myself I would be here one day and today's the day," Lefever said.

Lefever won his semifinal match, 6-2, against Nelsonville-York's Noah Inboden on Friday night. That solid win came much easier than his quarterfinal match earlier Friday.

In that bout, Lefever hit a two-point Peterson reversal against Blanchester senior Clayton Schirmer with one second left, earning a 5-4 victory. The move came after Schirmer took a 4-3 lead with a takedown with just 15 seconds left.

"I knew I had to do something to get it. I felt the Peterson so I just went with it," Lefever said.

Kline said, "(Beau) didn't panic (in the quarterfinals). I was panicking a little. (But) I knew he would would wrestle all the way through. We train on a set of moves every day, including the Peterson. That's why we do it."

Kline said Lefever forced the action against Inboden.

"We made him wrestle our match. I don't think he got the positions he was looking for one time during the match. We didn't give it to him. We apparently had a little more for him than he had for us today.

"Knowing what (Beau) has gone through the past few years trying to get here and the work he has put into it ... this is unreal," Kline said. "It's going to be a great time (Saturday night). I can't wait."

In consolation-round matches on Friday night involving area wrestlers:

-- Antonio Lecki from Millbury Lake claimed a 10-2 win against Crestview senior Dakota Blanton in a Division III match at 126 pounds. Blanton (43-6), assured of a spot on on the podium, will wrestle Kyle Keenan from North Lima South Range to decide seventh/eighth place on Saturday. Earlier on Friday, lost a quarterfinal match, 3-0, to Legacy Christian Academy's Gavin Brown before bouncing back to defeat Jacob Poling of Versailles, 7-6, in the second round of consolations.

-- Mount Vernon senior Max VanFossen (49-8) dropped a 7-5 decision in OT to Cole Foor from Pataskala Watkins Memorial in the Division I 170-pound class and will wrestle for seventh/eighth place on Saturday against Jon List from Wadsworth. VanFossen lost his quarterfinal match earlier Friday to Najee Locket from Shaker Heights, 10-6, before coming back later and pinning Jacob Meek from Oregon Clay.

Three Richland County wrestlers were eliminated from the competition in second-round consolation matches during about a 20-minute span on Friday.

-- Mansfield Senior junior Josh Lyons (126 pounds) lost to Aurora senior Jack Gorman on a 15-0 technical fall. Lyons finished the season 34-9.

-- Ontario freshman Ethan Turnbaugh (145 pounds) dropped a 3-1 decision to Thornville Sheridan sophomore Jordan Barnett. Turnbaugh finished an amazing freshman season with a 43-6 record.

--Ontario junior Colton Turnbaugh (152 pounds) fell 4-0 to Louisville junior Jax Leonard. The older Turnbaugh finished his season 47-9.

Also on Friday, Mapleton junior Jeremy Tracy lost his second-round consolation match 10-4 against Troy Christian senior Ryan Whitten. Tracy finished with a 45-8 record this season.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"

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