COLUMBUS — Wade Monebrake joined an exclusive group when he wrestled for the Division II 132-pound state championship Saturday, March 10.
The Eaton High School junior became only the seventh wrestler in program history to compete in a state title match and first since Jacob Welch did so in 2000.
Monebrake came up short in his quest to become just the fourth state champion in school history when he lost to nationally ranked Jordan Decatur of Cuyahoga Falls Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, 14-4, during the 81st Annual Ohio High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.
“I just wanted to continue to do what brought me here. Hopefully slow him down a little bit and get to my attacks more. He’s obviously really offensive,” Monebrake said. “My game plan was if I’m on my offense he can’t be on his. Just keep attacking. It was pretty sweet. I can’t wait to come back next year and win it. Change the outcome.”
Eaton coach Mark Silvers agreed with Monebrake.
“You can’t really change. You’ve got to do what brought you there. You’ve just got to go out and attack and do the things that got you in that position. He did,” Silvers said. “He tried to slow a kid down, but when he’s fast as lightning it’s kind of hard to do that. He did everything he could.”
Despite falling behind 6-2 after the first period, Monebrake kept attacking, but Decatur had an answer for every move as he expanded the lead to 10-3 after two periods.
Monebrake, who qualified for state as a freshman, used last season’s experience of attending the state tournament as a spectator as motivation. He finished fifth at the district and was an alternate at the state tournament.
“Disappointed. But at the same time you can’t be too disappointed going from fifth at districts to second at state in one year, it’s pretty good,” he said. “It was a good bounce-back year. Last year I was very disappointed in myself. I wanted to come back and I wanted to be a state champ. I fell one step short. I’m going to work harder than I did last offseason that way I’m not denied again next year.”
Eaton coach Mark Silvers credited Monebrake’s support system and work ethic for his successful season.
“No kid does this on his own. They do it with their support system. His dad has been with him all the way through and that’s what makes it happen. No kid can do it by himself. So many of the guys that I’ve had that placed at state it was their dad and their mom that were behind them all the way and made that happen,” Silvers said. “You see him get here and you want to see him reap the benefit of all the hard work and everything he’s done, but he’s laid the groundwork for being back next year to do this again. I think he’s also shown the path to a lot of the young guys that this is what they’ve got to do.”
Silvers said Monebrake, who finished the season with a 48-3 record, had an outstanding season and has set the bar high — not just for himself next season but for the entire team.
“Awesome season. He just had a great year. To rebound from last year’s disappointment with the attitude and everything, the work ethic he’s shown, he’s not here by accident. He’s here because he outworked everybody else to make that happen,” said Silvers, who was coaching his first Eaton wrestler in the state finals.
To reach the championship bout, Monebrake defeated Emileo Calderon of Sandusky Perkins, 6-3, in the first round, Edward Suber of Akron St. Vincent St. Mary, 3-1, in the quarterfinal and Jack Gorman of Aurora, 8-4, in the semifinals.
Monebrake joins Terry Gallimore (1975), Matt Lindley (1986) and Aaron Buzbee (1990) as state runner-ups. Josh Cruze (1990), Butch Hildebrand (1995), and Welch (2000) all won state titles.
“He’s in some very good company that’s for sure. He’s set the bar high for next year for everybody. He did a fantastic job,” Silver said. “I’m really proud of him.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4046 or on Twitter @emowen_RH