COLUMBUS - When an area wrestler begins his season in the Ohio Valley he lays out a series of goals for himself.
Shadyside senior Alex Quinn's goal sheet looked something like this:
Win OVAC title - Check!
SHADYSIDE’S Alex Quinn has his arm raised Saturday night after winning the Division III state championship at 152 pounds by virtue of a 10-0 major decision against Creston Norwayne’s Kollin Moore. Quinn finished the season with a spotless 45-0 record. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Earn 100th career victory - Check!
Win sectional title - Check!
Win district title - Check!
Qualify for Division III state tournament - Check!
Win two matches to earn an all-Ohio place - Check!
Win three consecutive matches and wrestle Saturday night for the state title - Check!
And then there's the ultimate goal - the state championship - of every high school wrestler in the state, but one that only 42 wrestlers get to place a checkmark beside.
After Saturday night's bouts, Quinn is officially a member of the fraternity and can place a checkmark by the final goal ... win the Division III state championship.
"This is the greatest feeling I've ever had in my life," Quinn said. "I have no idea how to even begin to describe this feeling, it's just overwhelming."
The Tigers' senior not only won the title, but he finished off a perfect, 45-0, campaign in impressive fashion, posting a 10-0 major decision against previously undefeated Kollin Moore of Creston Norwayne.
"I've been working toward this since I was five or six years old," Quinn said. "My dad (Sam) was a high school coach and I'd always hear about guys wanting to qualify and hopefully place. But to win an Ohio state title? It's the ultimate."
Quinn, who wore a throwback singlet, becomes Shadyside's 11th state champion, but first since 1994 when Ryan Slack stood atop the podium.
"This is an awesome feeling," said Shadyside head coach Scott Kinemond, who won a state title himself during his prep days in the Orange and Black. "The hardwork and dedication to get to this level and succeed is a great accomplishment. What these kids go through in wrestling is so physically and mentally demanding from the time they're four years old all the way up. I am just honored to be a part of this moment with Alex."
That actually was the year Quinn was born.
It's been a lengthy dry spell for Belmont County prior to Quinn's victory. He became the first champion from Belmont County since St. John's Joe Skoff accomplished the feat in 2005.
Matching up against a fellow undefeated wrestler in the title match, Quinn obviously never expected to waltz to the title. However, he recorded an early takedown and turned into near fall points.
"I knew (Moore) was tough," Quinn said. "But, once I got that first takedown, I felt like I was in control. I just didn't want to let him gain any kind of momentum."
Quinn owned an 8-0 lead after one period, but he wasn't about to relax.
"We talked before the match about staying focused, staying straight on what you've worked at and do what you normally do," Kinemond said. "We weren't going to change anything at this point. Alex is a very aggressive wrestler, which is a plus for him. I told him if he did those things, he'd have a great opportunity to achieve his goal."
Keeping his edge for the entire six minutes was something that Quinn had in his mind, not only throughout Saturday, but the entire season. What turned out to be the last loss of his prep career came in last year's semifinals when he fell to Archbold's Jordan Cowell in the final period.
"Right before the match, I tweeted 'six minutes of relentlessnes,'" Quinn said. "I came to the mat planning on doing that. I knew I couldn't let up because it cost me last year in the semifinals. I wasn't going to make that mistake again."
Quinn, who has said on countless occassions that he wants to win every match with a pin, said it was OK to have just a major decision this time.
"At this point in the season, getting the win is good enough," Quinn smiled.
The ability to end the season without a loss on his ledger is just an added bonus for Quinn, who said he goes into every match thinking he's 0-0.
"I wasn't thinking about an undefeated season," Quinn said. "I just think if you think about your record too much, it could tend to make you overconfident and if you tend to get too confident, you can get knocked down."
The Tigers, who also saw senior standouts Chase Kinemond and Ian Baker stand on the podium, finished the tournament with 42 points, which earned them 10th place overall.
"It's very special, especially with these three kids," Kinemond said. "We drug these kids all over the place from the time they were very young to find the best competition possible to make them better for this reason. To bring three kids and place all three is just awesome."
Palmer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org