Buckeye football recruit looks to end wrestling career with state title, undefeated season

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Pickerington North lineman Patrick Elflein

At 32-0 in his senior wrestling campaign, Ohio State football recruit Pat Elflein
of Pickerington North is preparing to make a run at a gold medal in the
heavyweight division in Division I at the state wrestling tournament
this coming weekend in Columbus.


At 32-0 in his senior wrestling campaign, Ohio State football recruit Pat Elflein
of Pickerington North is preparing to make a run at a gold medal in the
heavyweight division in Division I at the state wrestling tournament
this coming weekend in Columbus.

Although
Elflein is the division’s only unbeaten grappler going into the
competition, it wasn’t really his main objective at the start of his
season.

“I wouldn’t really mind a loss because during the regular season
it’s all practice basically until the postseason which is what I’m in
right now,” Elflein said. “So if I lost during the season I really
wouldn’t dread it that much. But it just worked out good and I haven’t
lost yet.”

It’s been a fairly steady climb for Elflein to get to this point in his high school wrestling career.

“I was varsity all four years,” he said. “In my freshman year I
didn’t make it out of the sectionals and in my sophomore year I didn’t
make it out of the sectionals. My junior year I made it out of the
sectionals, made it to the districts. I made it to the district finals,
actually. I wrestled Kyle Rose in the district finals and he went on to win the state championship last year. He beat me, 7-5. It was real close.

“Then I went to the state tournament and lost my first match in
triple overtime. My second match I won but I had a high ankle sprain in
the last minute of the match. So I sprained my ankle, finished the match
and it was all swelled up. I could barely walk on it and I had to
wrestle my next match the next day and I ended up getting beat by a kid
that ended up getting third.

“And this year I’m undefeated. I won every tournament. Actually
there hasn’t been an offensive point scored on me this year at all.”

Elflein credits a lot of hard work, for the most part, for his spectacular results this season.

“It’s really just been a natural progression. I’ve just been
working really hard this year because of what’s in front of me at Ohio
State,” he said. “So I’ve been busting my butt. Going to Ohio State has
really been motivating me. I’ve been working really hard to represent
the Buckeyes.”

And now he’s in a really good position to try to win it all.

“I’m ranked second right now behind Nick Tavanello (Wadsworth) –
he’s a two-time state champion at 215 – the weight class below,” Elflein
said. “Actually he bumped up to heavyweight this year. I faced him in
junior high but not in high school. I won’t face him until the finals
because he’s in the other half of the bracket. Making the state final is
my goal and I’ve got a good shot at winning it all so that’s my goal.”

Elflein has been working at just that, sort of, since junior high
school and has come a long way and he even has a score to settle.

“I started wrestling in the seventh grade and I did it because my
brother, he kept telling me to do it because he said it would make you a
better football player,” Elflein said. “So I started wrestling and my
first year wasn’t good at all, I got pinned in almost every match. And
in my eighth grade year I was like I’ll do it again for football. So
that’s why I did it because of football. And it really did, it made a
huge improvement on the football field. That’s why I kept doing it.

“And in my eighth grade year I was a stud, I made it to the
junior high states and that’s where I wrestled Nick Tavanello. He pinned
me but I just kept going with it and I made varsity my freshman year
and I was like, maybe I can do something with this. So yeah, state
champion is always the ultimate goal.”

So admittedly he’s thought about what it might be like to stand atop the podium as the D-I heavy weight champion in Ohio.

“Oh yeah, that’s all that’s been on my mind this year, winning
that state title,” Elflein said. “So yeah I’m gearing towards it.”

And just like his brother told him a ways back, wrestling has already helped his gridiron career immensely.

“It’s actually helped me with football a ton,” Elflein said. “If
you’ve ever watched a wrestler practice, it’s all the drills we do that
just makes you athletic, about (using) your hips and leverage. That’s
where it’s all at on the offensive line and defensive line, just getting
under people and (using) your hands too. And just using your hips and
driving your hips into somebody.”

But win or lose, it will be a quick transition back to football for Elflein.

“Hopefully I can win the state and take that momentum right to
football and slam the weights hard,” he said. “But I’ll be doing track
too though. I do the shot and disc. If I do track, I’ll be the first boy
at my school to get 12 varsity letters. I’m pretty excited about that.”

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