Junior Blake Sampson will be representing Bluffton High this weekend at the State Wrestling Meet held at Ohio State’s Value City Arena. The 285 pounder advanced with a third place finish at last weekend’s District Meet held at Troy. Junior Shawn Justus saw his season come to an end at the District Level as did freshman James Badial-Luna.
Sampson won his first two matches via pin Friday and was in the semifinals to start the day Saturday at Troy. Miami East’s Ben Ferguson, who ending up winning the class, pinned Blake in the semifinal match sending the Pirate down into the consolation bracket. There, Sampson gutted out an 11-7 win over Greenview’s Isaiah Harding and won the third place match with a pin of Troy Christian’s Seth Douglas. “I thought Blake wrestled well. He went 4-1 on the day and even after the loss, he rebounded and had two nice wins to advance to Columbus,” coach Jeff Kleman relayed.
Sampson is confident heading into the state meet. “I’ve had a pretty good season and a good record. I didn’t win many tournaments but had a few runner ups,” the junior heavyweight said. Blake won the Sectional title last weekend at 285 and had second place finishes at Van Buren and Allen County Invites. “I want to stay focused and take on match at a time and hopefully get on the podium.”
Sampson’s first match will be against a familiar foe, Van Buren’s Isaac Sexton. The two have faced twice this season with the match record at 1-1. “He’s a bigger guy, I’m hoping to be in better condition than he is. I just want to win that first match then see what comes next,” Blake said after practice Monday.
Kleman relayed, “Anything can happen at the state tournament. Blake is in the final sixteen wrestlers of the state of Ohio. Alot of guys wish they were there and Blake is able to say he made it.”
Kleman likes the way the season ended for his young Pirate squad with no seniors. “We ended up second at the conference meet. We did well down the stretch. Three of our thirteen wrestlers made the District meet. We definitely improved as the season progressed. Hopefully Blake can give us another positive send off into the off season.”