THS’ Warthling ready to make most of opportunity at states
It’s taken four years, but Warthling’s scholastic wrestling career has led him down the path to the NYSPHSAA wrestling championships that will be held in Albany this weekend.
“Now that I’m going I’ve got to realize that I have to make the most of it and this is my only shot,” Warthling said.
Warthling punched his ticket to the big dance when he was officially awarded an at-large wild card bid on Feb. 15.
But securing his spot to states was far more difficult than Warthling could have foreseen.
Initially, Warthling was told he did not have enough power points to qualify for an at-large bid.
It took a couple of hours of diligent research on the part of Warthling and Warriors head coach Jeff Hess to prove that Warthling did indeed have more than enough points to qualify over the wrestler who was originally picked ahead of him.
Hess spoke with the head of Section VI and once the points issue was cleared up, Hess gave Warthling the good news to pack his bags for the state capital.
The next day during the section-wide practice at Lancaster High School , Warthling gave an indication of his level of focus.
After getting their Section VI singlet and other apparel for states, while most wrestlers were admiring themselves in the mirror, Warthling packed his gear away and began jumping rope.
“He’s not just happy to be there anymore,” Hess said. “Now he wants to place, too.”
Warthling, who reached his 100th career win earlier this year, saw his dreams of a sectional title end when he fell to Chris Saden (Fredonia) in the semifinals by a 4-2 final score in the sectional finals that were held at UB on Feb. 10.
Hardly strangers, Warthling defeated Saden (9-6) for the Class C title one week earlier. It was a day that also saw Warthling win Most Outstanding Wrestler.
“I knew that match was going to be a dog fight and that after last week (at class) he was going to want me even more,” Warthling said. “I think if we wrestle 10 times, we go 50-50.”
“Once I lost and walked off the mat there was a flash of disappointment that I wasn’t going to win a sectional title,” he added. “But a bunch of people came up to me, like coach Hess and coach Fummerelle from football, and said, ‘be a man and take third.’”
Warthling did indeed man up as he scored back-to-back pins and took third place with a 3-1 record.
Warthling said once he got the call from Hess about making states he breathed a sigh of relief but he also knew the real work was just beginning as he prepared for the most rigorous week of training in his life.
Interestingly enough, there was a span of several weeks during the regular season where Warthling was without his traditional training partner, fellow senior, Jacob Choate, who was out due to a shoulder injury.
But Warthling did have the benefit of training with two former Warrior greats — Jordan McGregor and Erik Herbert.
Hess said that time was beyond priceless for Warthling. It goes to show how much Tonawanda wrestling truly is a family that McGregor and Herbert would give their time to help Warthling, Hess added.
Now, poised to compete on the biggest stage of his scholastic career, Warthling isn’t content with simply getting to states. Far from it. His mission is to come home a champion.
“If I have a good day then I should be on that podium somewhere,” Warthling said.