On Sunday, March 12th, Loveland Athletics made history when wrestler Elizabeth Madison (9) pinned DeSales wrestler Rebekah Oladokun in the first round of the OHSAA State Championship match. The match was held at the Schottenstein Center at Ohio State University. “It was a bit nerve-racking at first because it was in such a big arena and there were way more people than there are normally,” said Madison.
Before the final match, Madison had an undefeated 41-0 record, which soon became 42-0, while Oladokun had a record of 31-3 before it became 31-4 to finish off the season. Going into the match, Madison luckily knew what to expect from her opponent, as she had already faced and pinned her earlier in the season. “She was also the only girl that really scored points on [Elizabeth] this year, but she pinned her back in January when she went to the Heart of Ohio [tournament] in Mechanicsburg,” said Chris Switzer, head coach of both men’s and women’s wrestling at LHS. “We knew going in that she was a tough opponent, but we also knew that we made our adjustments [since the last match] and she would probably come through, which she obviously did, pinning her in the first period.” Despite the win back in January, Madison knew Oladokun would still be a tough opponent in the State Championship match. “She was a very resilient opponent,” said Madison.
The win on Sunday was a very notable experience for both Switzer and Madison. “For as long as I’ve been coaching, for 25 years, getting to the state title match is very special,” said Switzer. Switzer had already been to one other state title match during his coaching career, but never with both a men’s and a women's wrestler. Switzer accompanied both Ty Harter (12) and Madison to the Schottenstein Center. This is the first year Loveland had an OHSAA-sanctioned women's wrestling team, which made it that much more special for one of its six members to win a state title. Just because this was the first year Loveland has had OHSAA-sanctioned women’s wrestling doesn’t mean this was Madison’s first year ever wrestling. According to Switzer, she has been wrestling since 2nd grade, perfecting the craft in blind preparation for an eventual State Championship Title. “It felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders because I was so nervous about the match,” said Madison.
Although wrestling matches are very much a 1v1 match, wrestling as a whole has many team aspects, primarily shown in the support teammates show one another. Madison and Harter were the only two who made it to state, so as they continued to train and move through districts and regionals in preparation for the state tournament, their teammates, according to Switzer, continued to show up to practices in support of the two wrestlers.
Madison made LHS athletic history this year, but she is a freshman who was able to pin a senior to claim the State Championship Title, so she still has three more state championship tournaments to hopefully look forward to in her high school wrestling career.