ELYRIA — With Elyria losing five starters from its top six weight classes last season, Division I teams surely felt the time was right for the Pioneers’ streak of regional championships to come to an end in the OHSAA dual team tournament.
Those teams couldn’t have been more mistaken.
Elyria didn’t just win its fourth straight regional title Wednesday night, it dominated Lorain County rival Midview 51-23 in the semifinals and fellow No. 1 seed Oregon Clay 44-23 in the final. The Pioneers are headed to the state meet in Columbus on Feb. 11.
“They’ve got a great team, they’ve got great coaches … they’re a tough team to beat,” Clay coach Ralph Cubberly said. “I have to give them all the credit in the world. We came in here and thought we had a chance, and they kind of shut the door on us.”
The key to victory in both matches was getting off to a fast start. After losing at 103 pounds to start each dual, the Pioneers won the next four weight classes to build solid leads.
Dylan Shawer (113) and Brendon Fenton (120) each had a pin and a decision, Mick Burnett (126) earned a pair of technical falls and Joshua Breeding (132) came away with two pins.
“That’s the heart of our lineup, that’s what gets us going. Once one guy pulls off a win, we all start reeling them off after that,” Burnett said. “The guys in the upper weights feed off us. If we’re wrestling good, they start wrestling good. It’s all a team thing.”
Burnett was a blur of takedowns and nearfalls in his opening 16-1 win over Midview’s Pablo Cruz, then duplicated the performance in an 18-3 win over Clay’s Mike Daly.
“Once I start scoring points I don’t stop,” Burnett said. “If I get rolling I open up my offense a little bit more and the points tend to pour out. Instead of being cautious and waiting until the second period, I like to get it going early and score points.”
The Pioneers also received strong support from the middle of the lineup — Farouq Muhammed (152), Jake Evans (160) and Haydon Rockman (170) all came away with a pair of pins.
“As a middle-upper weight class, we have to make sure that the dual stays closed. We can do our part and make sure the team comes away with a win,” Evans said. “It’s a great experience for me as a freshman. This is what I love to do and I get to watch my team go down to the state duals … it’s pretty nice.
The Middies managed to win five matches in the semifinal, with Jameson Shenberger starting things with a 9-0 major decision at 106.
“It was nice to start out with momentum in that first match,” Middies coach Shawn Bristow said. “With cutting weight, he’s been struggling a little bit getting down there but he did it and he came out with a good win for us.”
After Elyria blitzed Midview for nine straight wins, the Middies closed the match by winning the final four matches — Trever Begin earned a major decision at 182, Seth Frambach grinded out a close win at 195, Jacob Snider earned a forfeit win at 220 and Daniel Bucknavich pinned at 285.
“The wins we expected to win, we did come out on top of those, so we’re happy with that,” Bristow said. “But there’s always room for improvement. We got our butts beat pretty good there.”
Elyria coach Erik Burnett said he wasn’t sure what to expect with his lineup — “We’re experienced but we’re young,” he said — but was happy his wrestlers rose to the occasion and earned a fourth straight trip to St. John Arena in Columbus for the state tournament.
“That’s why you go. You’re hoping to get in that environment and hope the kids get that experience and see how you do,” Burnett said. “There’s probably going to be four or five nationally ranked teams down there in our division. I’m thankful the kids are getting that opportunity.”
Elyria 51, Midview 23
106 — Jameson Shenberger (M) maj. dec. Colin Noel, 9-0. 113 — Dylan Shawver (E) pinned Avery Snyder, :17. 120 — Brendon Fenton (E) pinned Zak Anderson, 2:36. 126 — Mick Burnett (E) tech. fall Pablo Cruz, 16-1. 132 — Joshua Breeding (E) pinned Andrew Philion, :57. 138 — Matt Zuckerman (E) maj. dec. James Hutchinson, 12-0. 145 — Enrique Munguia (E) pinned Justin Wendling, 1:08. 152 — Farouq Muhammed (E) pinned Cameron Honis, :54. 160 — Jake Evans (E) pinned Noah Gusky, :35. 170 — Haydon Rockman (E) pinned Dustin Wells, 4:40. 182 — Trever Begin (M) maj. dec. Lewis Aguilar, 15-2. 195 — Seth Frambach (M) dec. Andrew Levis, 4-2. 220 — Jacob Snider (M) won by forfeit. 285 — Daniel Bucknavich (M) pinned Nate Bryant, :41.
Elyria 44, Oregon Clay 23
106 — Tony Pendergraff (OC) dec. Noel, 5-2. 113 — Shawver (E) dec. Jacob Moon, 12-8. 120 — Fenton (E) dec. Kyle Maville, 2-0. 126 — Burnett (E) tech. fall Mike Daly, 18-3. 132 — Breeding (E) pinned Brandon Hardy, 3:03. 138 — Alex Szigeti (OC) dec. Zuckerman, 4-3. 145 — Garret Anderson (OC) tech. fall Munguia, 17-2. 152 — Muhammed (E) pinned Kameron Miller, 1:51. 160 — Evans (E) pinned Troy Murphy, 2:31. 170 — Rockman (E) pinned Mike LeVally, 2:53. 182 — Jacob Meek (OC) pinned Noah Mencke, 2:12. 195 — Aguilar (E) won by forfeit. 220 — Levis (E) dec. Lyle Campbell, 1-0. 285 — Nick Daly (OC) pinned Bryant, :26.
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