COLUMBUS — Daniel Patten has proved he belongs on the biggest stage of Ohio high school wrestling.
The Stow-Munroe Falls junior 145-pounder earned his second straight All-Ohio place at the Division I state individual wrestling tournament, which concluded March 9 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
All that’s missing from Patten’s trophy case is a state title — and he will have one more shot at that accolade next year.
Patten finished one spot higher than a season ago, as he took fifth place at the state tournament. Patten said he felt "much better" than he did last year.
"It sucks to lose your last match of the season," Patten said. "I’m glad I was able to get it done. I feel like, if I wrestle hard and work this off-season, I should be able to come back and win a state title."
Patten said he plans to wrestle both freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments in the off-season. Stow coach Tyler Buckwalter said that work ethic should serve him well.
"I think he just needs to get better in a few positions," Buckwalter said. "He needs to get better on bottom. He’ll work for it, I’m sure, because he loves the sport. You’ve got to remember he’s only been wrestling for five years, where others [his age] have wrestled for 12."
In his opening match March 7, Patten looked like a veteran in his second trip to states. He dominated Avon’s Tommy Sear 10-1.
"I think the biggest thing was that I was down here before," Patten said. "It was the most people I ever saw in an arena when I was here last year."
In the quarterfinals March 7, however, Patten found himself facing Mason state runner-up Chris Donathan. After getting the first takedown, Patten was overpowered and pinned in 5:15.
"He’s got to be able to get out from the bottom," Buckwalter said. "He kind of shut down after the first period."
The loss set Patten up for rematch from districts with St. Ignatius’ DJ Huff. The match was tied 1-1 heading into the overtime, but Patten won a wild scramble at the end of the sudden victory period to win 3-1.
"We both knew what each other were going to do, so we kept it tight," Patten said. "It’s great to get back on the podium."
Patten then defeated Oregon Clay’s Alex Szigeti 6-1 to the consolation semifinals.
In the consolation semifinals March 9, Patten ran into his arch rival: Wadsworth’s Michael North. After the two wrestlers split matches earlier this season, North scored a tight 1-0 decision thanks to an escape in the second period.
"I’m interest to see what tournaments North is going to wrest this off-season.
In the fifth-place match, Patten was trailing in the third period vs. Clayton Northmont’s Andrew Knick, but a late takedown allowed him to pick up a 6-5 win.
Patter finished his junior season with a record of 43-5.
"Any time you can win four matches at states, you’re doing something right," Buckwalter said.