DAY TWO: DIVISION III STATE QUARTERFINALS
COLUMBUS - Ryan Ford made wrestling history on Friday as he became the first Covington wrestler to record 200 career wins - a milestone reached when he defeated Roostown's Brandon Huffman 11-4 in the 138-pound quarterfinals of the state wrestling tournament.
But for Ford, who has been as focused as ever, the 200 career wins was the last thing on his mind.
"Was it 200?," asked Ford when mentioned of the milestone. "I actually forgot about it. I guess it feels good that it happened here (at state), but really, I'm more focused on other things right now."
And that's taking advantage of his final opportunity at state, which he has done to this point in recording a combined 12 takedowns in two matches without surrendering a single offensive point. Every point given up by Ford has been an escape point when he elected to let his man up so he could wrestle from his feet.
It's an aggressive strategy, one he learned from a mistake a year ago when he lost his opening match at state only to battle all the way back for third.
"Last year, mentally I wasn't as focused and probably took it for granted because I placed third the year before," Ford explained. "I had a big lead in that match and stopped being aggressive. It cost me and I've learned from it."
Ford also learned from a mistake he made at the district meet when he took an unnecessary chance and was caught on his back.
"Looking back, that was probably a good thing because it refocused me," he explained. "I learned that anyone can beat anyone on any given day and you have to be focused and ready to wrestle every time out."
In his milestone quarterfinal win, Ford recorded five takedowns and a second period escape for a dominating 11-4 win.
"Ryan is really focused right now," said Covington coach Tom Barbee. "There's no hesitation in his wrestling. He's more assertive, more determined this year. He knows this is his last go-around."
He will face Dustin Marteney of Delta (30-5) in the semifinals later tonight.