Tears could be seen frequently Saturday night at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, as state wrestlers fell in the championship finals in their respective weight divisions.
Among the runner-up finishes was Sandusky’s Isaiah Margheim, but the 195-pound sophomore had nothing to cry about.
Margheim fell 6-1 to defending champion Josh Lehner of Lexington.
The area's streak of state champions did continue, however, as Oak Harbor's Luke Cramer won the 170-pound title in Division II with a dominating 16-3 major decision.
The area has produced at least one state champion every single year since 1969.
“I’m not exactly disappointed because I gave it my all. So there’s nothing more I could have done,” Margheim said. “I could have shot more to think about it, but other than that and pushing myself to what his strength was, I felt good about it.”
Margheim became the 12th wrestler in Sandusky history to reach the championship match, and the first since Delonne Baker took second in the 285-pound weight class in the 2008 Division I finals.
The last Blue Streak champions were Kevin Randleman (160, Div. I) and Chris Corso (152, Div. I), who won titles back-to-back in 1989.
Lehner entered Saturday’s championship undefeated. He gave up just two offensive moves all year, one was a takedown which came from Margheim in the regular season.
“I was trying to get him off balance, but it didn’t really seem to work this match,” Margheim said. “I’m not going to shoot and get stuck under something, costing me something more than I already had.”
Margheim got down 3-0 early, but got an escape in the second period.
“I was still fighting. Even though he put me on my back, I wouldn’t let him pin me,” he said. “It didn’t stop me. He was strong. To be honest if he was about my size, I probably would have beat him because that’s the only thing he really had against me. He was way stronger than me.”
Several championship finalists had impressive resumes entering coming into the night, but Margheim said he ignored all of them.
“I look at everybody else and I wrestle them,” he said. “Whenever I hear something about them from people, they seem like they are scared. I’m saying ‘I’m not scared of you because you are bigger than me. It doesn’t mean nothing.’”
Sandusky coach Casey Harrington said Margheim left it all on the mat.
“I am proud of him for what he did, he did give it his all,” Harrington said. “We narrowed the gap better than we did the last time we saw him, so any improvement is a plus in my book. He is a returning state champ, so you’re the underdog against that guy.”
Meanwhile, Cramer has been wearing a shirt that says “One dream, One Schott” all weekend.
The Oak Harbor senior got his shot at the title and his dream came true with an impressive 16-3 win over Wyatt Running of Clarksville Clinton-Massie.
“I knew going into it, the kid I beat in the semis (Lane Thomas, St. Paris Graham Local), he beat that kid last week," Cramer said. "So I definitely knew going into it that the kid was going to try stuff that really tried to put me to my back.
"The whole thing through was staying solid, and I’m a really good solid wrestler. I knew going through it if I stayed solid, I’d have no problem.”
Cramer spun around Running for a takedown early in the first period then cruised from there. He’s been expected to win this title for a while now, but Cramer said he’s happy he was able to stay focused.
“It was a real big thing after I beat Chris Moore earlier in the year,” he said. “Everyone was like Luke Cramer, Luke Cramer. I felt like I had the big bullseye on my back. But I never really let it get to me. I figured if I wrestled great it would all come down to this.” Cramer was also eager to one-up his brother who wrestled in the same weight division and was the runner-up in 2011.
“I can’t wait to go talk to him,” Cramer said. “I can’t wait to put it in his face. I one-upped him last year, I one-upped him this year. He’s always on my side, but at the same time I know he’s thinking, ‘dang he got me.’”
Cramer said he felt great the entire tournament and wrestled the best he ever has.
“I think one of my biggest things is having an edge on a kid because I can last all three periods,” he said. “I can last a fourth or fifth period, and keep it going.
"Definitely keeping the tempo up on him was really big. You could tell. We hit that second period and he was broke. One dream. One Schott. This is what I train for all year, to stand on top of that podium."
For more information on the state wrestling tournament, see Sunday's Sandusky Register.