By- Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HILLIARD — While it wasn’t the on-the-mat performance Oberlin senior Fallon Cook was hoping for, competing in the inaugural Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association girls state tournament was everything she had dreamed it would be.
“I just feel that every single girl that’s here worked so hard to be here and to be able to be here myself means so much,” she said. “It’s been really motivating. I go out there and see girls giving it their all on the mat. It’s so inspiring.”
Cook opened against Indian Creek’s Ellie Paterra, the No. 2 seed in the 116-pound bracket, and was pinned in 18 seconds. Paterra got her forearm into Cook’s neck, cutting off the oxygen and blood to the point where Cook nearly lost consciousness.
“She had a really tight grip,” Cook said. “I couldn’t breathe after she had got over my throat. When they blew the whistle the entire room started spinning. I tried to stand up but I had to go talk to the medics.”
Cook was cleared to continue, but lost a 10-3 matchup against Columbus Centennial’s Hamdi Osman in the consolation first round.
“Right now it stings that she’s done, but she came down and she wrestled to the best of her ability,” Oberlin coach Gary Huff said. “When she looks back on it she’s going to enjoy that she was down here. She gave it her best shot and just came up a little bit short.”
Cook said she’s happy to be part of the first group of state tournament girls, which she expects will open the doors for future female wrestlers, and she’s also happy she was able to represent one of two Lorain County schools in the inaugural event.
“Now I can say I’ve got to state for Oberlin and I’m really excited about that,” she said.