ONTARIO — The rest of the state wrestling community will find out this weekend what Colton Turnbaugh has known for a long time.
Colton’s younger brother, freshman Ethan, may be a little unorthodox but he is fun to watch.
The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Ethan Turnbaugh won a Division II district title at 145 pounds over the weekend at Norwalk High School. The younger Turnbaugh rumbled to a 16-1 win over previously unbeaten Isaiah Bretz of Van Wert in the finals and will take a a 42-4 record into the state tournament, which begins Thursday at the Schottenstein Center.
“I love watching him wrestle, honestly,” said Colton, who will join his younger brother at this week’s state tournament after placing fourth at 152 pounds at Norwalk. “He always rolls and stuff. He’s funky like that and he’s good at it.”
While Ethan’s style is best described as freewheeling, Colton is more of a technician on the mat. The junior takes after his father, Wes, a state champ for Ontario in 1999.
“Dad and I are a little stricter,” Colton said. “You’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt.”
Ethan needed overtime to take care of Tiffin Columbian’s Brody Conley in the semifinals, 7-5. It was the fourth meeting of the season between the two (Turnbaugh is 3-1 in those match-ups).
“I’m strong on top and bottom, but the last time he beat me he went neutral the whole time,” Ethan said. “I wanted to use his own game against him and that’s what I did.”
The semifinal scare helped Ethan re-focus for the finals. He hit Bretz with several cradles and was in control from start to finish.
“I thought it was going to be a lot tougher, but he was a sucker for the cradle,” Ethan said. “I hit him with that four or five times.
Ethan’s freshman season has been nothing short of sensational. He placed second at the 57th J.C. Gorman Invitational in early-January and won a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference title in mid-February. He followed that up with a sectional title at Sandusky, pinning all four of his opponents.
Ethan will open state action against Gnadenhutten Indian Valley senior Adam Lenhoff (42-11).
“I think I can go down there and place,” Ethan said of his expectations for the state meet. “It’s going to be a real tough tournament, just like (the district tournament) was. It’s going to be like the semifinals match was, but it’s going to be like that the whole way through.”