COLUMBUS — Preble Shawnee assistant wrestling coach Brian Carter called Camron Neal “quiet but deadly” after Neal’s opening round win at the 80th Annual Ohio High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament on Thursday, March 9.
Neal, a senior, dominated his match with Austin Guthrie of Coshocton, winning 12-5, at 113 pounds in Division III.
“It felt good to win,” Neal said. I wasn’t as nervous (as last year).”
Neal, now 40-5, will meet Dylan D’Emilio, the defending champ at 106 pounds Friday morning.
“It’s always good to get that first match our of your way,” Shawnee head coach Jake Follick said after the match. “You’ve got a lot of nerves coming in. I think our experience that we gained last year paid off big. We kind of had those nerves in check already.”
Neal, who placed seventh last year at 106 pounds, took control of the match early and never trailed.
He scored a takedown 15 seconds into the match and led 2-0 after the first period.
Neal scored three more takedowns in the second period to extend his lead to 8-2. In the third, Neal scored on a reversal and a takedown for his final points.
Follick said about an hour before the match, Neal’s headgear came up missing.
“We had a little hiccup with the headgear. We got through it though. We know tomorrow morning we need a better warm up” Follick said. “We did get a little tired there at the end. That’s all warmup. That’s not his conditioning. We didn’t get a great one. We got a win and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Follick said he feels Neal is ready for the challenge of taking on the defending state champ.
“We’re ready to go. To win it all, you’ve got to go through all of these guys,” Follick said. “Our weight is right. We’re in shape. We’ve done everything right up unitl this point. Now, or Saturday night, it doesn’t matter to us we’ll wrestle anytime.”
Neal said he knows he can’t have any letdowns.
“I have to wrestle better than I did,” he said.
Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Friday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH