STATE WRESTLING REVISITED: BIGGEST STORIES
As we all know, this past weekend was the OHSAA state wrestling tournament, which means that the scholastic wrestling season is “officially” over. However, that does not mean the end to the Ohio Lowedown until next November. While this article will wrap up the just completed state tournament, upcoming articles will address a wide range of topics: Ohio wrestlers in the NCAA tournament, Ohio wrestlers in the post-season national tournaments, et al.
First and foremost, let’s take this moment to congratulate the 42 individuals that were crowned state champions. It is the culmination of much dedication and hard work for them as individuals, as well as their coaches, friends, and families. Each young man should take time to reflect upon what they have accomplished, as they will have it as something to cherish going forward. The same can be said for all of our state placers and qualifiers.
My late January state tournament prediction rankings held up relatively in line with how they have in previous years. There were nine correct champions in each division, for a total of 27 in all. The other champions were all projected to finish within the top four of their weight classes: seven in second, four were rated third, and the other four were positioned in fourth.
Looking in the other direction, eleven of the projected champions who did not win either finished second (four) or third (seven). The other four projected champions that did not win, however did place, one each in fourth, fifth, sixth, and seven. Even though there was a swarm of upsets earlier in the tournament, quarterfinals in particular, it was a relatively normal year in terms of prognostication
Perry Panthers Parade
In what was not a surprise to most pundits, Massillon Perry earned their first ever individual state wrestling tournament title, and the Panthers did so in dominant fashion. They more than doubled the runners-up, scoring 185 points, while Perrysburg was in second with 90.5.
The tone was set from the beginning, as the Panthers went 10-1 in the tournament’s opening round, with the only loss being a 1-0 decision by Seth Maylor against projected 285 pound champion Cale Bonner (Perrysburg). Maylor would win his consolation match on Thursday to advance all eleven Panthers wrestler to Friday.
The ridiculousness continued with a 7-3 quarterfinal round. It included an opening match pin from Tommy Genetin, who was trailing 3-2 against Devione Edwards (Lorain) with less than 30 seconds remaining before locking up a cradle and securing the fall. Jake Newhouse continued the Panthers momentum with the previously mentioned upset of Assad, earning the match-winning takedown with about 20 seconds left in the bout. The lone losses in that round came by scores of 1-0, 3-1 in overtime, and 3-2. During the afternoon consolation round, Massillon Perry went 3-1 to accrue ten placers on the tournament (two of the wins came in the tiebreakers and by a 1-0 score, while the loss was in overtime).
While the state title was all but locked up heading into the Friday night session, Massillon Perry made it a night to remember with a seven-for-seven performance in the state semifinals. It is a performance that will be remembered for the good, just as long as the Wadsworth “skunk” from 2009 will be remembered to the bad
Genetin earned an 11-0 major decision over Jarod Bronstrup (Brecksville), Jose Rodriguez followed up with an 8-5 victory over fellow nationally ranked L.J. Bentley (St. Edward) at 113, Newhouse advanced with a 6-4 win over Jonathan Furnas (Olentangy Liberty), and David Bavery – the team’s emotional leader – cemented a four-for-four start with a technical fall over Giuseppe Penzone (Olentangy Liberty) at 126. Riding that momentum, Nick Steed would earn a 3-1 overtime victory over Dominick Demas (Dublin Coffman) at 138, Casey Sparkman would score a 3-1 victory on a takedown at the buzzer over J.P. Newton (Perrysburg) in a de facto state final at 152, and Tony Dailey upended Alex Bair (Centerville) 10-3 at 160.
It was all over but for the final damage at that point. State titles would be won by Bavery, Sparkman, and Dailey; while Genetin, Rodriguez, Newhouse, and Steed placed second. Additional state placements came from Isaac Bast, who was third at 170; Stefano Millin, fifth at 220; and Jason Spencer, seventh at 132.
Saturday mornings to remember for Northwest Ohio
The second place trophy in Division I, as well as the Division III championship trophy, was decided based on barrages in the Saturday morning consolation semifinal and consolation medal match session. In Division III, Delta bounced back from a very poor Friday night round, in which they went 1-4 in championship semifinals and had capitulated the lead to Dayton Christian (104.5 to 98).
Within two bouts, the Panthers had turned that 6.5 point deficit to a 7.5 point lead, as Drew Mattin (106) and Jake Spiess (113) came through with pins in their consolation semifinal bouts. By the end of the session, four Panthers wrestlers – Mattin, Spiess, Jesse Beverly (152), and Tyler Fahrer (160) – came through with third place finishes, two others placed fifth, and one wrestler placed sixth and seventh respectively. With an aggregate 11-4 mark, including many bonus point victories, they mathematically clinched the state title by the end of the session.
With Kyle Keller (120) losing his finals bout on Saturday night, Delta ended up with a traditional state tournament title without a weight class champion. This is something that hasn’t been done since – I think – the mid-1980s. Furthermore, they scored the fifth highest point total ever in Division III despite not having a single state champion.
While first place in Division I had been long decided, there was a multi-team battle in the works for second place as the Saturday morning session begun. Working with five wrestlers during the session, Perrysburg won the first eight matches their wrestlers participated in to seize control of that battle. In the consolation semifinals, Mario Guillen (113) opened up with a 7-2 decision, J.P. Newton (152) bounced back from his Friday night loss with a 10-4 decision, Kadin Llewelyn (195) avenged a district finals loss with a 3-2 win over Josh Murphy (Brecksville), and Cale Bonner (285) earned an injury default.
During the medal matches, Mario upset nationally ranked L.J. Bentley 8-1 to take third place, keyed by a second period broomstick for five points that was eerily similar to the maneuver from his go-to-state match in 2013 against the same opponent. Moises Guillen (120) followed up with a 5-1 decision for seventh, Newton came through with a 5-2 decision for third, and Llewelyn continued the Yellow Jackets swarm with a pin coming right after a sequence in which he was almost pinned himself. The session’s lone loss came from Bonner in the third place match, when Kevin Vough (Elyria) scored a late takedown during the tiebreakers to win 4-2.
The race for second was over headed into the finals session. However, for good pleasure, Rocco Caywood came through with a 7-3 win over Matt Stencel (Oregon Clay) in the 182 pound state final to end the magical day – and weekend – for Perrysburg