KETTERING — Troy High School freshman 106-pounder T.J. Murray continues to impress on the wrestling mat — and it is certainly no surprise.
Murray came within one win of qualifying for the D-I state tournament Friday and Saturday at Trent Arena.
“Once he dropped down from 113 pounds to 106, we knew.” Troy coach Doug Curnes said about Murray’s success. “Getting sixth in the Holiday (GMVWA) is no joke. And he continued to finish in the top three in every tournament. Going into sectionals, he was 19-0 at 106 pounds.”
Murray picked up two wins Friday night to advance to the semifinals.
“Absolutely, I thought I could do this,” Murray said. “This was the goal.”
Murray, 41-9, handled Tyler Scherman — 24-16 — of Loveland in the opening round, leading from the start in a 12-6 victory.
Then came a matchup with St. Xavier’s Carson Adkins, 31-11.
Murray trailed 3-0 in the early going, but was unfazed.
He still trailed 4-2 going to the third period.
After a takedown to tie it, Murray kicked Adkins out for an escape to give Adkins a 5-4 lead.
With less than 20 seconds to go and with a smile on his face, Murray worked a move and took Adkins to the mat for a 6-5 lead. He held him for the final seven seconds, as the Troy coaches erupted in celebration as the match ended.
“He couldn’t handle the third period,” Murray said with confidence. ” He ran out of gas.”
On Saturday, Murray was pinned by 27-11 Alijah Mohanna of LaSalle in 2:57.
He lost the go-to state match 6-2 to 41-5 Brody Palm of Harrison, who would go on to finish third.
Murray lost the fifth place match to Demarco Cates of Colerain 9-6.
“He finished the year seven or eight takedowns short of 200,” Curnes said. “Nobody is going to touch that. That puts him on pace for nearly 1,000 takedowns for his career. Did we think he could make semifinals, yes. Did, we think he could get one of the next two matches to get to state, we did. We just came up one match short.”
Troy’s Danny Murray (165) and De’Andre Jones lost both of their matches and were eliminated Friday.
Piqua’s Max Kaye (138) gave 45-3 Micah Cotrell of Princeton a battle in his opening match before losing a 9-4 decision.
He rebounded with a pin of Lebanon’s Colton McHale — 18-17- in 2:10 in the consolations to stay alive.
On Saturday, Kaye, 33-7, recorded a 15-0 tech fall win over 35-12 Noah White of Milford before being pinned by 31-9 Griffin Burkle of Centerville in 4:58.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]