HAMPSHIRE – At one of the nation's top high school wrestling tournaments, anything can happen while hundreds of spectators rain down coaching advice and related wrestling-speak.
For Burlington Central wrestlers Austin Macias and Nick Termini, competing at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman tournament in Ohio last weekend was a learning experience. It was the first time for both competing in this particular tournament.
"We knew once the first whistle blew, it was going to be a free-for-all," Termini said. "There was amazing matches all around the gym. You're kind of in awe that you get to be part of this great tournament...[and then] you're going to be on mat two in a couple seconds."
Macias, a Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville commit, went 2-2 in his matches at the 126-pound weight class. After receiving a first-round bye, he won his first match 9-3, and later lost his second 4-3. He won his first wrestleback 6-1 before ultimately losing in the second wrestleback 14-5 in a major decision.
Had he won two more matches, he would've placed. While it wasn't the outcome he had hoped for, he'll use the losses as opportunities for improvement.
"I felt like I could've done better than what I did," Macias said. "There was a lot of learning experiences from it. Overall, do I think it was a great weekend? No, I definitely don't think that. There's a lot that I need to improve on. Having a loss is sometimes easier to improve from."
Macias dropped just two matches last season, and won Burlington Central's first state championship in wrestling.
To Termini, the tournament went better than he expected. His goal was to get one win at the top-tier tournament, and he exceeded it.
After receiving a first-round bye, he lost 5-2 to the eventual sixth-place finisher in the 138-pound class in his first match. In the wrestlebacks, Termini won two matches before losing his third.
Termini took sixth at the state meet last year.
One of his takeaways from that experience was needing to have a short-term memory following a loss and moving on quickly. So, going into the Walsh Ironman, he wanted to see how he could bounce back in short order.
"I think I really did a lot better job," Termini said. "That was a really huge takeaway for me: Starting to learn how to get that mentality of 'If you lose the last match, you've got to come back, [and you've] got the rest of this match and [to] keep moving forward in the tournament."