Third time isn’t always a charm, unless you’re on the winning side of it.
Before this weekend’s Thunderbird Invitational at Lima Central Catholic, Ottawa-Glandorf senior Danny Rosales and Bluffton senior Deandre Nassar had met twice this season on the wrestling mat.
Both times, Nassar came away with hard-fought overtime victories over Rosales.
The rematch was inevitable at this weekend’s Thunderbird Invite.
In Saturday’s finals of the 182-pound weight class, the two met for the third time.
However, this time there was no overtime needed as Nassar took control after the first period and went on to record an 8-2 decision over Rosales.
Last season, Nassar placed fourth in the 195-pound weight class at the state wrestling tournament in Division III. Rosales placed seventh at 170 in Division III at last year’s state tournament.
After Saturday, Nassar improves to 27-0. Three of Rosales’ four losses this season have come from the hands of Nassar.
Nassar came into Saturday’s championship match against Rosales with a little different approach than in the previous two meetings.
“I found out in the last overtime (win) that I could do what I needed to do,” Nassar said. “I was hesitant with my shots before; and in overtime (previous match) I knew I had to do it, and I did. So, now I just treat the three periods as overtime. I just need to get my take downs in, so I don’t have to do overtime.
“It was basically a battle of muscles the past couple times. Today, I used my technique a little bit more to get my take downs,” he said.
Nassar feels like he has the upper hand with the O-G standout.
“He knows I’m the one to beat. It’s basically me defending my pride. I think the pressure is on him a little bit,” Nassar said.
Rosales noticed early in Saturday’s title match that Nassar was going to be more aggressive.
“I got out of my comfort zone,” Rosales said. “But I was still sticking to the plan, shooting that low shot. I got under him a few times. He’s a good, strong kid. I just opened up a little more and took more shots, and he did the same thing as well. It was a good match.
“We’ll probably face (each other) three more times this year (in the postseason tournament). So, he had better enjoy these wins, because I’m working for him every day.”
For Nassar, wrestling in the 182-pound weight class seems to be a good fit.
“It’s a little bit up in the air, but I’m leaning toward 182 right now. I think I can do some damage at 182 at state,” Nassar said.
With his dominant performance this weekend, Nassar was voted by the coaches as the most valuable wrestler of the tournament.
Longtime Bluffton coach Jeff Kleman was pleased at how Nassar came out and wrestled Saturday against Rosales.
“We’ve been talking to him. He has to get back to the way he was wrestling earlier in the year,” Kleman said. “It’s starting to come again. The competition is getting better, too. Today, he changed it around, made some adjustments and he’s starting to get back to where he needs to be.”
In the final team scores Saturday, Troy Christian won the team title, defeating second-place Covington 193.5-179.5. Eastwood (155), Miami East (151.5) and Blanchester (129) rounded out the top five squads in the very competitive 43-team field.
Allen East (108.5) had the best local performance, finishing seventh (108.5). Bluffton was eighth (92.5).
Other champions Saturday included Ashland Crestview’s Dakota Blanton (132), Covington’s Kellan Anderson (106), Eastwood’s Brandon Hahn (120), Lakota’s Trevor Franks (160), Miami East’s Max Shore (113), Patrick Henry’s Wil Morrow (195), St. Joseph Central Catholic’s Noah Price (285), Swanton’s Ryan Marvin (152), Troy Christian’s Ethan Turner (126), Austin Awan (138) and Nick Baker (220) and Nick Burgard (145) and David Cumberledge (170) of Ashtabula St. John’s.