GARIFELD HEIGHTS — Parker Watson has unfinished business.
The Lutheran West senior is back in the semifinals of the Division III district tournament with two wins at 138 on Friday evening. However, this time around the Avon resident is looking to come home a district champion rather than runner-up and ultimately improve upon his fourth-place finish at last year’s state tournament.
As for today, he’ll wrestle Pymatuning Valley’s Noah Campbell in the semifinals. The second consolation round begins at 10 a.m. with the semifinals tentatively scheduled for noon.
“I’ve got to wrestle more my style,” Watson said. “I’ve got to keep my head up and remember that I can be here too and that I deserve to be here. I’ve just got to take it to them.”
In the first round, Watson built a 6-2 lead in the first period against Beachwood’s Thomas Bond and continued to pile up takedowns in the second. He ultimately won 18-6 for his 150th career win.
Watson, the No. 1 seed out of Independence, needed all three periods to defeat Canton Central Catholic’s Nicholas Cianciola by an 8-1 decision. Watson led 2-1 after the first and was able to prevent Cianciola from escaping the entire second period. He scored a quick escape in the third then added a takedown/near fall to stretch his lead to the deciding margin.
“You’ve got to be tough,” Watson said. “It’s hard holding people down. You’ve just got to fight through it and I’m trying to fight through every one of my matches.”
Black River’s Zach Lahood — the 120 champion out of the Independence sectional — was the only other area wrestler to come away with two wins Friday. He defeated Waterloo’s Deagan Foster by a 10-5 decision then battled through to a 4-3 decision against Grand Valley’s Trevor Meeker.
His second bout was scoreless through the first and Meeker got on the board with an uncontested escape early in the second. Lahood came close on a couple of shots, but finally scored a takedown with 50 seconds left in the second. Meeker, however, secured an escape to tie things up heading into the third. Lahood started the final period on bottom and after 1:26 of fighting, finally got up to secure the much-needed point.
Lahood, a four-time district qualifier, is chasing his first state tournament berth. The closest he came to qualifying was in 2017, when he also reached the semifinals, but ultimately placed sixth.
“I’m ready, I’m so mentally prepared,” Lahood said. “My coaches have prepared me so well for this moment.”
It was a rough first day for area wrestlers, who combined to go 2-16 in the opening round with eight ultimately eliminated. Lutheran West’s Donavon Palmer, a North Ridgeville resident, at 152; Wellington’s Jeremiah McKee (120), Derrick Andolsek (126) and Mike Casella — who won the 220 Independence sectional; Elyria Catholic’s Steven Ferguson (152) and Malik Gaddy (170); Black River’s Jamie Kiousis (160); and Columbia’s Elijah Caraballo (285) all survived their first consolation bout and will need to win three more today to qualify for the state tournament.
Wellington’s Emily Watters was the only area alternate to make the field — stepping in at 106 for Mogadore’s Brady Funk, the three seed from the Independence sectional. She lost both of her matches.
1. Tuslaw 60.5, 2. Rootstown 60, 3. Waynedale 43.5, 4. Norwayne, 35.5, 5. St. John 34.5. Area teams: 21. Lutheran West 18, 32. Black River 10.5, 37. Wellington 7, T43. Columbia 3, T43. Elyria Catholic 3, T47. Oberlin 0.
106 — Patrick Reineke (HWK) vs. Nolan Frye (CH); Jarrison Moore (NOR) vs. Brett Szuhay (CRE). 113 — Brandt Virden (CANA) vs. Dominic Savoca (CRE); Caleb Edwards (ROO) vs. Adam Ryder (TUS). 120 — Zach Lahood (BR) vs. Jake Edelman (PV); Seth Unkefer (WAY) vs. Jackson Reineke (HAW). 126 — Kyle Keenan (SR) vs. Konnor Duncan (KIR); Zach Larue (MAN) vs. Storm Stanley (WAY). 132 — Jake White (MAN) vs. Trent Duvall (ROO); Trey Wonner (CRE) vs. Austin Shepherd (NOR). 138 — Parker Watson (LW) vs. Noah Campbell (PV); Wyatt Zimmerman (ORR) vs. Niko Chilson (ROO). 145 — Brier Marthey (TUS) vs. Cael Rowland (NW); Jeremy Tracy (MAP) vs. Nick Burgard (STJ). 152 — Nick Skye (MOG) vs. Beau Lefever (MAP); Jerry Rose (CAR) vs. Brennan Shirley (TUS). 160 — Kyle Ryder (TUS) vs. Nick Rossi (IND); Ethan Ducca (STJ) vs. Max Lemon (WAY). 170 — Sevi Garza (RIT) vs. Lucas Stoddard (BER); David Cumberledge (STJ) vs. Chandler Keener (SMI). 182 — Chris Langguth (ROO) vs. Tyler Knight (MOG); Doug Byrne (WIK) vs. Kaden Kidd (NOR). 195 — Ryan Boyle (ROO) vs. Mitch Sanders (NEW); Nathan Whitehead (CANA) vs. Jake Loar (TUS). 220 — Alex Piczer (NEW) vs. Anthony Czap (SR); Jeremy Bailey (ORR) vs. Noah Hoffmann (GAR). 285 — William Lindsey (HAW) vs. Joe Miller (DAL); Joe Warren (SMI) vs. Braden Sears (IND).