COLUMBUS, Ohio — In this instance, eighth was enough…to at least land a spot on the coveted awards podium.
That’s because Gallia Academy’s Kaleb Crisenbery, wrestling his final match of his decorated Blue Devil career, placed eighth in the Division II 145-pound weight class — as part of the annual state wrestling tournament.
In Saturday’s seventh-place match, at high noon and inside Value City Arena in Columbus, Crisenbery lost a tough-luck 7-3 decision in wrestling’s version of double overtime.
It’s called an ultimate tiebreaker, and follows a match’s three two-minute periods — plus an overtime minute.
There are a pair of 30-second periods following the first overtime, and a winner — without a pinfall — is declared with the most points after those 30-second sessions.
That winner, of that match, was Franklin’s Trenten Scott —as Crisenbery, competing in his initial and final state competition, completed his five state matches with a record of 2-3.
In placing eighth, he earned all-Ohio honors and a spot on the awards podium — becoming only the sixth Blue Devil in school history to place at the state meet.
Already the 12th all-time Blue Devil to wrestle at the state tournament, Crisenbery was attempting to join Jeptha Robinson (1988), Jared Gravely (2010), Brandon Taylor (2012), Zack Tackett (2012) and Cole Tawney (2013 and 2014) as the only podium finishers in Blue Devil history.
He did just that, concluding his career in Blue and White with 155 victories — for fourth most all-time at GAHS.
In addition, he became the seventh Blue Devil in the past eight state tournaments to earn at least one team point — and win at least one match.
He posted a senior season record of 53-9, and scored six team points for Gallia Academy this past weekend.
“It feels great to place,” said Crisenbery. “I wanted to end on a win, but it is what it is.”
Against Scott, after a pair of scoreless opening periods, the match went into overtime — and then into the two 30-second tiebreakers — tied at 2-2.
Crisenbery led 3-2, but Scott scored the final five points, including getting two for a 4-3 lead headed into the second tiebreaker.
Scott gained the final three points prior to that final 30 seconds, thanks to too many caution calls against Crisenbery.
“I just had too many cautions against me. I had one earlier in the match and a couple more towards the end. That’s what cost me those points,” he said. “And I really couldn’t get a shot in and I wasn’t really setting anything up. I got really frustrated towards the end. I thought I should have beat him.”
So too did Gallia Academy head coach Todd May.
“I would have liked to have had this guy (Scott) three out of five (matches). The one thing Kaleb does is get better every time he wrestles somebody,” said the coach. “There’s a cat-and-mouse game to figuring people out, and I guarantee you if we go three out of five, we’re defeating that kid three out of five. We had some self-inflicted wounds in that last match. I congratulate that kid on his win, but do I think he truly beat us? No I don’t. Basically, time ran out on us.”
And, as a result, so did Crisenbery’s career — which included qualifying for the district tournament all four years.
As a freshman, he advanced at the 132-pound weight, followed by his final three years at 145.
“I started wrestling when I was in seventh grade and just fell in love with it from there. I got better each year, and this year was by far the best,” he said.
The best moment, of course, came on Friday —when he pinned Lane Householder of Sheridan a minute-and-a-half into the second period to secure his state place.
Crisenbery had defeated Householder by a 3-2 decision to capture third-place at the Division II district meet at Heath.
Had he lost Friday’s consolation contest against Householder, Crisenbery would have finished 1-2 — and not on the podium.
“I went into that match telling myself I had to do it. I knew that could be my last match, and everybody was wanting me to place,” said Crisenbery. “I had to do what I had to do to go out there and get the win.”
And with that win, he became the fifth Blue Devil to reach the medals stand since 2010.
Taylor, in fact, served as the assistant coach to May this season.
“It’s nice being able to coach a state placer. I’m absolutely proud of Kaleb. He put us back on the state map for Southeastern Ohio,” said May. “I’ve seen him do five new things in a matter of a weekend that was learned over the last two weeks that made the difference in getting us on that podium. That’s a credit to his intelligence of being able to pick things up. It’s been an amazing maturation process to watch. He came in there and worked hard, and our hardest worker went the farthest this year.”
Information provided by Gallia Academy High School was used in this story.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106