COLUMBUS — The Butler wrestling program made history as they tied a school record set in 2009 for the number of State qualifiers.
Ronnie Pietro, Jansen Love, Logan Hoskins, Jestin Live, and Nick Coyle traveled to the Schottenstein Center on the Campus of Ohio State University last Thursday to compete in one of high school wrestling’s grandest events.
“The Division I State Tournament is ridiculously deep,” said Butler head coach Mark Peck. “I felt like all of our guys really wrestled well. We were just a whisker away from having eight state qualifiers, so we were really pleased. The expectation level our guys have is pretty high. We were really pleased, but not satisfied.”
Ronnie Pietro finished his career by placing fourth at 132 pounds. Pietro was a four-time State placer, two-time District Champion, four-time sectional champion, two-time GWOC champion and finished his high school career at 170-29 (82-13 at Butler).
“Ronnie has had a great career,” said Peck. “He put a tremendous amount of time in and did the necessary things to wrestle at that level.”
Jansen Love, wrestling at 182 pounds, went 1-2 in his first trip to state. Jansen finished his career 123-29 (60-16 at Butler) and was a two-time sectional champion and a two-time GWOC Champion.
”Jansen overcame several injuries during his career,” said Peck. “He was able to overcome a lot and had a great end of the year. What he was able to accomplish with the injuries were pretty good. A lot of kids would have quit.”
Logan Hoskins fell just short of the podium as a sophomore at 120 pounds. Hoskins is a tw0-time State qualifier and finished his sophomore season at 42-8 lifting his career record to 77-18.
“He has a tremendous amount of mental toughness and has a lot of strength for his size,” Peck said. “He hates losing more than he likes winning.”
Sophomore Jestin Love (152) made the trip to Columbus for the first time this season. He also was one match short of placing, dropping a 2-0 match in the round to place. Jestin finishes 41-8 & has a career record of 77-22.
“I thought he might be wrestling a weight class too high, but he proved to us otherwise,” Peck said. “He was crushed losing that match. You hope that feeling motivates kids.”
Junior Nick Coyle went 0-2 at State at 195 pounds wrestling on a knee injury suffered in football that had not fully healed. “No one would have thought that Nick would return to the mat as fast as he did after tearing an ACL in the fall, but he was determined, said Peck. “Four or five weeks ago I didn’t think Nick would be wrestling – we actually discouraged it, but he wanted to wrestle and worked really hard in his rehab. He is tough and has a lot of natural ability.”
Coyle finished fourth in the district after winning the sectional and finished the year 11-5 and has a career record 85-31 through his junior year.
Peck said wrestling at the level his program does is a year-round commitment.
“We want kids to play other sports – in fact we encourage it,” said Peck. “It’s better for the kids, better for the school if kids play more than one sport. But whether its wrestling, golf, no matter the sport, there’s a certain amount of work that goes on year round. Golfers can’t just go out at the beginning of the year and expect the muscle memory to be there if its the first time in months they’ve picked up a golf club. Wrestling is the same.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.