Zack Thomas gets ready to engage his opponent during day one action at the state wrestling meet on Thursday afternoon in Columbus. Thomas advanced all the way to Saturday and wound up with a n eighth-place finish in the 285-pound class. (Times Bulletin staff photo)
Zack Thomas gets ready to engage his opponent during day one action at the state wrestling meet on Thursday afternoon in Columbus. Thomas advanced all the way to Saturday and wound up with a n eighth-place finish in the 285-pound class. (Times Bulletin staff photo)
By Brian Bassett
Times Bulletin Correspondent
sports@timesbulletin.com
COLUMBUS — The magical run came to a halt on Saturday for Van Wert senior wrestler Zack Thomas.
Thomas was pinned by Delta sophomore Chance Veller (25-9) with 44 second left in the second period on the floor of the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of the Ohio State University.
Despite the loss, Thomas walked away from the 2014 Individual State Wrestling Tournament with an eighth-place finish.
“It feels pretty good to know I made it this far,” admitted Thomas.


Cougar coach Ben Collins couldn’t have been prouder of the 285-pounder.
“We’re most definitely proud of Zack,” Collins said. “He’s wrestled well the last three weeks. It’s probably the best we’ve ever seen him wrestle. He deserved (a trip to state) and he belonged, obviously, with his placement.”
Thomas (27-16) and Veller matched up in the seventh-place match Saturday afternoon, and it was heavily contested early on.
The match was a dead-heat after the first period before Veller won the toss and chose to start down the second.
Thomas held Veller in check most of the second period before Veller got two reversal points - almost immediately followed by a pin of Thomas.
“I was on top. I was in control of him,” recalled Thomas. “Then he got up and I tried to shoot back underneath him. I got caught and he got me.”
Collins agreed that the attack was risky for Thomas following the reversal.
“I think (Zack) was just trying to save from giving up an (escape) point. It got him out of position and, like we’ve said all weekend and the last two weeks, position is half the battle. We got out of position, and at heavyweight it goes pretty quick.”
Still, Thomas was able to take the positive out of the experience.
“I didn’t expect myself to get all the way here until the middle of the season. Then I knew I could do it. I worked from there on,” he explained.
That work culminated in earning recognition as the eighth-best wrestler in the state.
“That’s what my goal was this whole year,” Thomas said of a trip to the podium.
“We’re proud of him and happy that he got to experience ‘the show,’ as we call it,” concluded Collins.