Ritchie Osha was hoping to make Saturday's wrestling semistate after a regional appearance as a sophomore.
Sophomore Ryan Koerner was just as concerned to wrestle his way through the 113-pound weight class.
While the two Washington wrestlers made the semistate field at the Ford Center in Evansville they arrived with similar, but yet different, maps to success.
Osha was a regional qualifier as a sophomore at 145 pounds. Both he and Washington coach John Thompson had visions of Osha being in the Evansville tournament.
Koerner (30-7) was a regional wrestler last season at 106 as a freshman, but with maturity came the not unusual increase in size. The Hatchets already had veteran Levi Graber at 120, so Koerner had to stay in the next size up.
"Making weight was one of the hardest things," Koerner said. "It's a lot of hard work really. I was going 113 from the beginning of the season. We had Levi at 120. I was hoping to go far. I was just hoping for the best, and to win matches." Osha (34-6) faces Seymour junior Matthews Ruddick (27-13) in the first round. Koerner faces Avon junior Bryan Rossbach (25-11).
Osha had hoped to win his sectional weight class as Koerner did. Making the semistate was rewarding.
"I set goals last year and making the semistate was one of the two big ones," Osha said. "They have both been fantastic for us all year," Thompson said. "They have both had very good seasons with conference championships and being in the sectional finals. Their work has paid off. They're where I expected them to be." While neither wrestler is looking past the first match, Osha does have the possibility of seeing Indiana No. 1 ranked Neil Morrow of Danville in the second round. Morrow is ranked fifth in the nation in the class.
"We're really not looking past the first round," Thompson said. "You never know what can happen in sports, but if Ritchie gets there, that will be a task. You can't look at records at this level, but I think we have good shots in both opening rounds. Winning the first round gives you a chance to finish fifth. We¹re working hard, and we¹ll take our chances." Both wrestlers expect the experience to be good building blocks for the future. At the same time, both would like to keep that experience going as long as possible.
"I just want to do my best and hope for the best," Koerner said. "I think it (the semistate) just helps keep my goals up. If I can get to state, it would be exciting." "I'm hoping to win my first round," Osha said. "I've got more wins and pins than last year, and I'm pretty happy with that."