ONTARIO — For someone who had just had his championship dream dashed, Ethan Turnbaugh was refreshingly optimistic.
Ontario’s 160-pounder had just fallen to Licking Valley’s Dylan Dodson in the state finals, but he was quick to put the 8-4 loss in perspective.
“I’m a junior and the first person in 22 years from Ontario to be in the state finals,” Turnbaugh said afterward. “It feels pretty good even though I didn’t get the win. It’s all about the experience.
"Plus, I’ve still got next year.”
If all goes accordingly, Turnbaugh might find himself on top of the state podium next year. The newly-crowned Richland Source Wrestler of the Year had a junior season that was nothing short of sensational.
Turnbaugh won dominant at state, outscoring his first three opponents by a combined score of 28-8. He trailed in the final 5-4 at the start of the third period before allowing an escape and being taken down late.
“Dodson was just the better wrestler today,” Turnbaugh said. “We’ve wrestled twice now. I won the first time and he won the second time. I can’t be mad at it.
“We’re right there with each other. It’s 50-50 either way.”
Turnbaugh is the headliner on an All-Richland Source wrestling team that includes 11 state qualifiers and seven state placers.
Jacob Ohl, Ontario: A freshman, Ohl was a Division II state meet alternate after finishing fifth at the Norwalk district meet. Ohl was 41-4 on the season. He won championships at the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference meet and the Clyde sectional.
Jaxon Swank, Clear Fork: A sophomore, Swank was runner-up at the Clyde district and was 1-2 at the Norwalk sectional. He placed third at the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference meet and finished the season at 31-13.
Brock Durbin, Mapleton: The future is exceedingly bright for Durbin. The freshman placed eighth at the Division III state meet, finishing the season at 34-7. Durbin had to battle through a tough state tournament draw after finishing fourth at the Garfield Heights district. He won a sectional title at Northwestern.
Hayden Kuhn, Crestview: Another of the Firelands Conference’s young guns, Kuhn rumbled to a third-place finish at the Division III state meet. The sophomore was 44-4 on the season and was runner-up at the Plymouth sectional and Rossford district.
Griffin Adkins, Ashland: The junior battled his way to a Division II state berth after losing his second match at the Norwalk district. Adkins finished fourth at Norwalk after taking runner-up honors at the Clyde sectional. He was 40-14 on the season.
Devin McCarthey, Galion: A senior, McCarthey won a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference title and was runner-up at the Clyde sectional. He was 31-5 on the season after going 2-2 at the Norwalk district.
Jayden Jones, Ashland: A senior, Jones was championships at the Clyde sectional and the Norwalk district. He was 1-2 at the Division II state meet at Highland, finishing the season 47-7.
John Metzger, Ashland: Only a sophomore, Metzger was perhaps the most surprising of Ashland’s five state qualifiers. After finishing fourth at the Clyde sectional, Metzger took runner-up honors at the Norwalk district. He was 1-2 at Highland to finish the season 39-14.
Ethan Turnbaugh, Ontario: The junior finished the season at 35-2 after an 8-4 loss to Licking Valley’s Dylan Dodson in the Division II state finals. He was runner-up to Bellevue’s Max Ray at the Clyde sectional before avenging the loss in the finals at the Norwalk district. He was undefeated during the regular season and won his third consecutive Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference title.
Hunter Hutcheson, Madison: Hutcheson was the youngest and most surprising of Madison’s three state qualifiers. The sophomore was 40-9 on the season after going 1-2 at Highland. He won a sectional championship at Sandusky and was runner-up at the Norwalk district.
Nate Barrett, Madison: The senior finished third at this year’s state meet after qualifying for state last year before the tournament was canceled because of the pandemic. Barrett was one of two area wrestlers to reach the championship semifinals. He won a sectional championship at Sandusky and took third at the Norwalk district, finishing the season 50-5.
Trenton Osborne, Madison: The senior, who like teammate Barrett qualified for state last year before the shutdown, capped a sensational season and career with a fifth-place finish at Highland. Osborne (48-5) won a sectional title at Sandusky and was runner-up at the Norwalk district.
Jakob Beverly, Ashland: A senior, Beverly took the most difficult route to a third-place finish at state. He dropped his first match of the tournament before ripping off five consecutive wins in the consolation bracket. Beverly finished 49-8 on the season. He won a sectional championship at Clyde and was fourth at the Norwalk district.
Jake Bever, Ashland: A senior, Bever (53-4) finished fifth at state and led all area wrestlers in wins. Like teammate Beverly, Bever took the long route to the podium after dropping his opening match at state before picking up four consolation bracket victories. Bever won a sectional title at Clyde and was third at the Norwalk district.