LORAIN — Many of the wrestlers at the Division I sectional tournament at Lorain High on Friday night felt pretty good. Some felt exhausted. A few even felt a bit disrespected.
Westlake senior Yousef Mustafa fell into all three categories after winning his 195-pound quarterfinal — a 9-4 decision over Avon’s Paul Sturm — to advance to this morning’s semifinals. It was Mustafa’s only match of the night … which didn’t sit well with the defending champion.
“Every time I have a (first-round) bye I don’t warm up well, and it looks like I gas,” Mustafa said. “One of the things I pride myself on is my cardio. I don’t feel like I dominated him enough — winning by (five) points … it’s almost like a loss.”
Mustafa also didn’t like the fact he received the No. 3 seed even though he won the sectional title at Lorain last season. The top seed went to Lorain High’s Adam Kuchta — a Division III state qualifier last season — and the No. 2 seed went to Amherst’s Dennis Breeding — a returning Division I district placer.
“They’re both tough guys and I’ll have to win two tough matches to (repeat as champion),” Mustafa said. “But I don’t know about this seeding. I’ve beat the No. 2 guy already twice this season.”
Mustafa is just one of many area wrestlers who need just one victory to advance to next weekend’s district tournament at Cleveland State.
Lorain’s Devione Edwards was just seconds away from going to state as a freshman last season when he lost in the go-to match at that same CSU venue. The Titans’ 106-pounder has been waiting a while to get back on the postseason mats.
“All year, but after the first couple of tournaments this year it went by pretty fast,” he said after a 20-5 technical fall over Avon Lake’s Michael Petterson put him in the semifinals. “I’m prepared this year. I’m not going to let it end like it did last year.”
The opening day of the wrestling postseason usually stays on script, but there were a few exciting matches in the quarterfinal round — highlighted by Amherst senior Christian Lough’s 4-3 win over St. Edward’s Mason Daugherty, who is ranked No. 12 in the state by Intermat.com’s Josh Lowe.
“I mostly used the barrel (roll). I kept trying the single-leg and it just wasn’t there,” Lough said. “A win’s a win in my book. Now I’m going to go home and play some ‘League of Legends’ and prepare for tomorrow.”
One of the most exciting matches of Day 1 was Elyria sophomore Mikah Price’s 13-12 win over St. Edward sophomore Jack Conway. Price built a big early lead, then ran out of gas and had to fight off a furious comeback to pull out the win.
“That’s happened to me before … I cut weight wrong,” Price said. “I lost one just like that (15-12) during a home match to Mayfield, then came back and beat the guy (7-3) at the (Northeast Ohio) conference tournament.”
Price’s win was one of many for the Pioneers, who finished the session in second place behind St. Edward. Elyria’s Armando Torres (120 pounds), Brendan Price (126), Darrion Overall (145), Ben Darmstadt (152) and J.T. Brown (170) all picked up pins in the quarterfinals to earn bonus points.
An unlikely pin occurred for Olmsted Falls heavyweight Jordan Lee — another defending sectional champion — in the tiebreaker round of his quarterfinal match with Lorain sophomore Sadi Santana.
The pair battled through three defense-heavy periods and an overtime before Lee earned a takedown and the pin.
“That kid didn’t get a point — the only one he scored was for me fleeing the mat,” Lee said. “Sometimes you just have those matches.”
Lorain’s heavyweight bracket is star-studded this year. Lee will face North Ridgeville senior Nick Bailey, who is 23-1, in one semifinal today, while St. Edward’s Ralph Nichols and Elyria freshman Kevin Vough — both ranked in the top 10 in the state — will square off in the other semifinal.
“I want to defend my title, but I know it’s going to be tough,” Lee said. “Going into a tough sectional makes it easier later on. After battling through this field, the district (tournament) should be a breeze.”
TEAM STANDINGS: St. Edward 94, Elyria 74, Lorain 59, Amherst 56, Olmsted Falls 45.5, Avon 42, North Olmsted 41.5, Avon Lake 40, North Ridgeville 36, Lakewood 25, Westlake 16, John Marshall 2.
106 — Devione Edwards (Lorain) vs. Zeyad Nooman (North Olmsted); Kolin Carney (Avon) vs. Alan Hart (St. Edward). 113 — L.J. Bentley (St. Edward) vs. Brendan Jones (Olmsted Falls); Brandon Bartlome (Lorain) vs. Nick Mayer (Avon Lake). 120 — Armando Torres (Elyria) vs. David Brunner (North Olmsted); Zack Klima (Avon Lake) vs. Christian Lough (Amherst). 126 — Xaevier Edwards (Lorain) vs. Luke Chokan (North Olmsted); Brendan Price (Elyria) vs. Isaac Collier (St. Edward). 132 — Joey Bernosky (Avon Lake) vs. Clarence Norris (Lakewood); Hunter Ladnier (St. Edward) vs. Max Kuchenrither (Avon). 138 — Adam Salti (Olmsted Falls) vs. Mikah Price (Elyria); Yassir Abdelsalam (Lakewood) vs. Bryce Williams (Amherst). 145 — Darrion Overall (Elyria) vs. Austin Williams (Amherst); Brice Locklear (Olmsted Falls) vs. Ray Barr (St. Edward). 152 — Ben Darmstadt (Elyria) vs. D.J. Williamson (St. Edward); Colin Riley (North Ridgeville) vs. Jake Paul (Westlake). 160 — Mike Wearsch (Amherst) vs. Adam Wukie (St. Edward); Tony Caraffi (Olmsted Falls) vs. Taylor Workman (Elyria). 170 — Derek Eibon (Amherst) vs. J.T. Brown (Elyria); Mike Hansinger (Olmsted Falls) vs. Ricky Godri (North Ridgeville). 182 — Gabe Dzuro (St. Edward) vs. Talon Dorton (North Ridgeville); Ryan Steinmetz (Avon) vs. Austin Kuchta (Lorain). 195 — Adam Kuchta (Lorain) vs. Jared Campbell (St. Edward); Yousef Mustafa (Westlake) vs. Dennis Breeding (Amherst). 220 — Parker Knapp (St. Edward) vs. Connor Kamczyc (Elyria); Joe Travagliante (Avon) vs. Andre Torres (Lorain). 285 — Ralph Nichols (St. Edward) vs. Kevin Vough (Elyria); Nick Bailey (North Ridgeville) vs. Jordan Lee (Olmsted Falls).