PERRY — Caleb Selman could be one match away from the only thing that’s been on his mind for a year now — qualifying for the state tournament.
Selman breezed through the first of the Division II district tournament at Perry High School on Friday night.
He racked up back-to-back first-period pins against Firelands’ Mason Stanley and Alliance’s Jackson Eddy.
He’ll meet Lake Catholic’s Rob Boley in the semifinals tonight.
A loss would not eliminate Selman, but a win would punch his ticket to next week’s Division II State Tournament in Columbus.
“This has probably been the main goal since I got knocked out of districts a year ago,” Selman said. “This has been my first time getting to the semifinals without taking on a loss first, so you know, you gotta prepare for it. The competition only gets tougher from here.”
Selman won just one match at the Alliance District tournament a year ago.
The competition will most definitely get tougher tonight when he faces off with Boley.
The Lake Catholic senior won his first two bouts by a technical fall, then an 18-12 decision. He defeated Selman a year ago in the state duals tournament by a score of 7-3 and will bring a mark of 35-4 to the mat.
“He’s definitely a good wrestler,” Selman said. “He’s really good on his feet, so we’re gonna see if I can capitalize on the mat.”
One major difference between this year and last year for Selman, though, is confidence.
A year he lost 10 matches a year ago, but this season he is 32-0.
“I feel like I’m definitely steps ahead of where I was a year ago,” Selman said.
Eagles coach Chris Stamper agrees.
“He really is,” Stamper said. “He’s more confident also this year. That’s the big thing, his confidence. He’s always been a good wrestler, but he didn’t have the confidence that he has this year. Even though we had the confidence in him, he did not have it in himself.”
Adding two quick pins to an already unblemished record certainly does not hurt anyone’s confidence.
A semifinals win today though, would take it another level.
Between now and when Selman steps on the mat tonight, his mind will be solely on what he needs to do to get one more win.
“Probably from now until I get here [tomorrow] morning, I’m going to be thinking about ways to wrestle,” Selman said of his next bout. “Combinations of things I can do, just trying to figure out how I can capitalize on any mistakes he might make.”
Stamper added, “We have experience with Boley. He’s good, he’s quick. They’re both very fast on their feet, it’s just a matter of Caleb needing to take his time, keep it clean, not take any sloppy shots.”
Aside from Selman, Geneva brought seven other wrestlers to Perry, none are still in the championship bracket, but three of them are still alive in the tournament.
Jayden Sabol (120), Jesse McElroy (145), and Alex Kreig (195) are all still alive in the bottom bracket. They will have to win their next two matches to land in the third-fourth place match which would assure them a spot in the state tournament.
Edgewood also brought eight wrestlers to Perry and like the Eagles, still have four remaining, although all in the consolation bracket. Joey Jaraface (106), Kyle Biller (138), Troy Peterson (220) Will Cooper (285) will all try to keep their seasons alive today.