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by Michael Leonard
Columbus -- Hudson senior Michael Coleman headed to the Division I state wrestling tournament at Value City Arena in Columbus looking to make history.
Coleman did make history.
He became the first Explorer since 1991 to become a two-time All-Ohioan -- an honor last claimed by Hudson head coach Joe Caniglia.
However, Coleman's true goal -- becoming the Explorers' first ever state wrestling champion -- he fell just short.
For the second straight year, Coleman placed fourth at 160 pounds to finish 37-4 on the season.
The state tournament concluded March 1.
While it was difficult to see Coleman not win the state title, Caniglia said his senior had nothing to be ashamed of.
"It's balancing expectations with reality," he said. "In wrestling as in life, there are times when you don't always get what you want.
"He's a high-character guy in every way. He's a guy all the younger wrestlers should look up to."
Coleman started the weekend in excellent form. He opened the tournament Feb. 27 with a dominant 14-1 win over Springboro's Joe Kylin.
"I just wanted to get the first match out of the way and concentrate on things I needed to do in the tournament," Coleman said. "Stay in a good stance and not give anything up."
Coleman was even more locked in for his quarterfinal match Feb. 28. Wrestling against Oregon Clay's Nick Stencel, Coleman got a single leg pickup and then put Stencel in the cradle before pinning him in 55 seconds.
However, for the second straight year, the semifinals proved Coleman's undoing.
Coleman was involved in a tight match with Cincinnati Princeton's A.J. Kowal, who was able to counter Coleman's offense and score a 3-2 win.
"I was wrestling him as hard as I could," Coleman said. "When you lose at states, you've got to forget about your last match and just move on."
"It's just tough," Caniglia said. "He gave it everything he had and just came up short."
Coleman rebounded in the consolation semifinals as he defeated Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Austin Strnad 3-1.
That set up a rematch with Stencel in the third-place match.
Coleman took an early 5-1 lead over Stencel, but could not put him away. Stencel rallied and got an escape in third period to take the lead. He then blocked Coleman's offense from there to score a 6-5 win.
At the Division II level at states, Hudson native and Cuyahoga Valley Christian senior Jeff Hojnacki finished his career as a three-time All-Ohio finisher.
Wrestling at 152 pounds, Hojnacki (27-9) was able to win the final match of his career, beating Clyde's Blake Miller in the Division II fifth-place match 6-0.