Cowell’s Season Ends In Disappointment
For some, the goal is accomplished. For some, their season and high school career comes to an end without accomplishing that goal.
Jordan Cowell’s quest for a spot on the podium at the Division III state championships at The Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus ended in disappointment.
Cowell, a sophomore, was the lone Blue Streak to compete at the 73rd annual event. Despite an outstanding season, his placement match ended in defeat.
“It’s sad, because Jordan has put in all the extra work,” said Brian Becher, AHS head coach, “but it all comes down to you have to perform in the pressure situations. He has proven that the last two years he is not to that point yet.
“Jordan needs to excel in those high-pressure situations.”
Cowell’s quest started on Thursday, March 4. He faced McComb senior Chris Osborne (36-5) in the 135- pound championship preliminary.
Cowell scored first on a takedown, but Osborne tallied an escape. Cowell led 4- 1 after taking down the McComb senior for a second time.
Osborne scored a reversal as the first period came to a close, narrowing the gap to 4-3.
Cowell chose neutral to start the second period. Osborne was awarded two points on a questionable takedown at the 1:01 mark of the second period.
Taking a 5-4 lead, Osborne’s lead was short as Cowell hustled out of his grip for a one-point escape, knotting the score at 5 as the period came to a close.
Osborne took down to start the third, with Cowell showing the optional start. The optional start gave Osborne a point and a 6-5 lead.
Osborne had been cautioned for stalling in the second period and was hit again with stalling, giving Cowell one point to knot the score at 6.
“I knew I needed the stalling point, so I went after him and he backed out,” said Cowell. “Once that happened I knew it was time to get the two.”
With time running down Cowell took a shot on Osborne, but the Panther dragged Cowell out of bounds with no points awarded. Cowell came right back at Osborne and scored a takedown with 25 seconds left.
Osborne looked to score on a reversal but time expired, advancing Cowell to the championship quarterfinals with an 8-6 win.
“I thought Jordan was getting after the kid, but it was not a very good effort,” said Becher.
“When Osborne scored the reversal I think Jordan kind of panicked and got tentative, and the match got real tight real quick.” Championship Quarterfinals
Cowell had his hands full in the championship quarterfinals, facing the Maple Heights district champion, Zak Vargo of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.
Vargo, a 32-9 senior rated fourth in the Brakeman Report, won his first match with an impressive 16-1 technical fall over Caldwell’s Jacob Border.
Vargo opened the scoring with an early takedown, but couldn’t turn the Archbold sophomore and held a 2-0 lead after the first period.
Vargo took the down position to start the second and scored an escape, the only point of the period.
The two wrestlers started in the neutral position to start the final two minutes. Vargo went right to work with a takedown for two points.
He needed an injury time-out, and when wrestling resumed Cowell exploded, scoring an escape, but Vargo added a takedown for a 7-1 final.
Vargo would go on to finish third.
Season Comes To A Close
Dropping down to the consolation bracket, Cowell faced Dom Barlow, a 46-5 junior from Heath. Rated sixth in the Brakeman, Barlow placed third at the Heath district.
After the first period neither wrestler had scored.
Cowell took down to start the second. Barlow turned the Blue Streak to his back and picked up three near fall points.
The two wrestled their way out of bounds and were reset in the center. Barlow turned Cowell to his back one more time as the period expired, picking up two more near fall points for a 5-0 lead.
Barlow took the down position to start the final period and managed an escape, with Cowell scoring a takedown. Barlow’s scored an escape and a takedown for a 9-2 final as Cowell closed out his sophomore season with a 55-6 record.
Barlow finished fourth in the state tournament, losing a 3-0 decision to Vargo in the match for third.
“Jordan has wrestled tougher kids than what he has lost to here at state,” said Becher.
“It’s not like he is outmatched; he is just getting outwrestled and not taking the right mental approach to the match, and it just compounds as the match goes on.
“By not going hard the whole time, Jordan builds the other kids’ confidence and they get after Jordan harder.
“Jordan needs to change his mental approach to the aspect of state wrestling tournament. He is doing everything right all year long, but if you’re not going to perform in these three days, I would say it’s life lessons to learn.
“You want to be wrestling on that third day, and we are not there yet.”
South Central senior Payton Oney (52-1), who defeated Cowell in the district title match on Feb. 27, won the 135-lb. state championship.
West Jefferson’s Marco Gualtieri finished second.