WESTLAKE — Wrestling fans who were hoping to see a dual meet between St. Edward and Elyria this season pretty much got their wish Saturday at the Division I sectional tournament.
The Eagles and Pioneers matched up in seven finals, a pair of semifinals and a first-round match for 10 head-to-head battles out of a possible 14 weight classes.
“It’s cool that we get to come here and most of the Elyria lineup is in the finals against Ed’s,” said Elyria two-time state champion Brendon Fenton, who pinned St. Edward’s Angelo Rini in the 120-pound final. “We don’t dual them or we don’t see them that much, so I think it was cool that we get this big crowd and we’re out here battling against each other. It was a good experience for us to wrestle them. They’ve always got good kids coming in.”
They’ve also got a lot of good kids going out. All 14 St. Edward wrestlers advanced to next weekend’s Perrysburg district — 11 wrestled in the sectional finals and the other three battled for third place.
The dominating performance allowed St. Edward to breeze to the sectional championship with 338 points. Elyria, which advanced 10 wrestlers to the district, finished runner-up with 231.5.
“We talk about it in practice. We’re going to win a state title here and at districts,” said Bryce Hepner, St. Edward’s 126-pounder and an Avon resident. “When you start beating teams like Elyria here and Brecksville at district, that’s when they break and when it comes to state they already know they’re going to lose. That’s just mentally breaking teams.”
Hepner was half of the premier matchup of Week 1. The Eagles sophomore, ranked No. 1 in the state, met Elyria sophomore Mick Burnett, ranked No. 2, in the final. Burnett scored an early takedown and controlled the pace of the match but suffered a 4-3 defeat when Hepner scored a takedown with one second left.
“It’s never easy to take a loss like that but I know what I have to work on now,” Burnett said. “The fact that I controlled the match, I’m pretty confident that I can win the next time we wrestle, whether it be at districts or state.”
Hepner wasn’t satisfied with the close victory, and doesn’t plan to walk away unsatisfied the next time they meet.
“I like just going at kids and scoring a lot of points,” he said. “I just talked to my coaches and I think I could get a major in that match. So next time I go out there I’m going to go out there looking for a major, not just a one-point match.”
Burnett had already run through the match in his head and had a self-analysis ready before talking to the media.
“I didn’t really set up my head inside singles, so I had to keep going head outside,” he said. “We knew he had a good counter for that, like a chin tilt, but that was pretty much it. I took him down one time with that high-crotch, but then he didn’t really open up much after that.”
Erik Burnett slipped back and forth between Elyria coach and Mick’s father when discussing the spotlight match.
“I thought Mick wrestled real well,” he said. “You’ve got to wrestle six minutes, that’s the bottom line. I thought it was a great match, it was entertaining. I thought my kid wrestled great, I thought the Ed’s kid was great, but one kid wrestled six minutes and the other one didn’t. That’s how it went.”
Picking up wins for Elyria against St. Edward were Dylan Shawver over Scott Richter at 113 and Fenton over Rini at 120. Fenton was in a tight match with Rini when he slapped on a reverse headlock and took the Eagles junior to his back.
“I was just trying to set up a snap to the right to get a cradle and he ended up moving that leg back so I just stepped over him and it was just over because it was so tight,” Fenton said. “I felt like it was a good day for me. I’m just out there trying to have fun.”
There were a few area wrestlers having fun that weren’t part of the Elyria roster.
Midview senior Trever Begin dominated his way to the 182 title, picking up a technical fall and a pair of pins.
“I feel stronger than I ever have,” he said. “My conditioning and strength has gone up a ton. I credit all that to my work in freestyle and going to Fargo in the offseason.”
Begin finished as a state alternate last season, and is focused on achieving his goal of wrestling at the state tournament in Columbus.
“Winning my first sectional title is a good start,” he said. “I’m just going to go in there and wrestle my matches, push the pace, try to keep things uncomfortable … just get things done out there.”
Avon junior Jack Roesch pinned his way to the final, where he won a 5-1 decision over Midview senior Jacob Snider — a rematch of the Southwestern Conference tournament final Roesch won 3-1 a week ago.
“I know Snider … Snider’s a cool guy. But there’s nothing like a good, friendly competition,” Roesch said. “My coaches were definitely stressing to go out and get this one, because we definitely get that good seed if you finish high in the tournament.”
Also earning a sectional championship and a No. 1 seed at Perrysburg next week was Amherst senior Matt Lee, who finished with four pins en route to the 285 title.
Lee, who will play football at Tiffin University, is trying to savor the last few weeks of his wrestling career.
“As much as wrestling is a grind and you can hate it at times, I’m going to miss it,” he said. “These last couple of weeks are going to be hard. I’ll never hit the mat again. So I’m trying to take it slow and enjoy it a little bit.”
TEAM STANDINGS: St. Edward 338, Elyria 231.5, Midview 159.5, Olmsted Falls 146.5, Avon 118.5, Amherst 114, Avon Lake 113, Lorain 55.5, North Olmsted 52, North Ridgeville 34, Westlake 27.
106 — FIRST: Richard Delsanter (SE) pinned Bryce Allison (E), 4:44. THIRD: Michael Shaw (OF) dec. Cael Saxton (Avon), 9-2. FIFTH: Jayden Brubaker (NO) pinned Jameson Shenberger (M), 4:15.
113 — FIRST: Dylan Shawver (E) maj. dec. Scott Richter (SE), 15-3. THIRD: Alec Walker (Avon) dec. Alexander Reagon (NO), 7-6 (TB). FIFTH: Brennan Stang (OF) pinned Brandon Bratovich (Amherst), 1:00.
120 — FIRST: Brendon Fenton (E) pinned Angelo Rini (SE), 1:37. THIRD: Zak Anderson (M) def. Cade Robertson (Avon) by forfeit. FIFTH: Adam Lough (Amherst) dec. Alec Negron (AL), 5-3.
126 — FIRST: Bryce Hepner (SE) dec. Mick Burnett (E), 4-3. THIRD: Jacob Dunstan (NR) dec. John Perry (AL), 11-5. FIFTH: Noah Mendez (Amherst) def. Steven Reese (L) by default.
132 — FIRST: Matt Kazimir (SE) def. Josh Breeding (E) by forfeit. THIRD: Khalil Brown (L) dec. Andrew Philion (M), 5-2. FIFTH: T.J. Raupach (Amherst) maj. dec. Ethan Shepard (AL), 12-0.
138 — FIRST: Bryce Andonian (SE) pinned Jihad Salti (OF), 3:00. THIRD: Matt Zuckerman (E) dec. Tim Carrion (Amherst), 4-0. FIFTH: Isaac Carmichael (W) dec. James Hutchinson (M), 6-3.
145 — FIRST: Sam Dover (SE) dec. Josh Jaeckin (OF), 5-0. THIRD: Enrique Munguia (E) pinned Luke Masisak (Avon), 4:46. FIFTH: Adham Abushukur (AL) def. Xavier Rivers (Amherst) by default.
152 — FIRST: Padraic Gallagher (SE) pinned Connor Atkins (OF), :48. THIRD: Farouq Muhammed (E) maj. dec. Abud Salem (AL), 9-0. FIFTH: Aaron Endrizal (Avon) def. Cameron Honis (M) by forfeit.
160 — FIRST: Hudson Hightower (SE) dec. Jake Evans (E), 3-2. THIRD: Noah Gusky (M) dec. Chris Stepak (AL), 4-2. FIFTH: Brandy Crawford (L) def. Caiden Fetterman (OF) by forfeit.
170 — FIRST: Michael Garcar (SE) dec. Haydon Rockman (E), 3-0. THIRD: Shawn Petty (L) maj. dec. Will Danniger (AL), 14-6. FIFTH: Zach Wolanin (OF) dec. Jonathon West (Amherst).
182 — FIRST: Trever Begin (M) pinned Jaden Mendeluk (OF), 3:55. THIRD: Jiryes Zakaib (SE) pinned Clay Carpenter (Amherst), 2:35. FIFTH: Nick Katasaros (W) maj. dec. Tyler Hannes (Avon), 13-0.
195 — FIRST: Dakota Howard (SE) dec. Seth Frambach (M), 11-6. THIRD: Justin Jaeckin (OF) dec. Jordan Greer (Avon), 8-6 (SV). FIFTH: Andrew Levis (E) maj. dec. Grant Raider (Amherst), 15-1.
220 — FIRST: Jack Roesch (Avon) dec. Jacob Snider (M), 5-1. THIRD: Seamus O’Malley (SE) pinned Patrick MacGregor (NR), :33. FIFTH: Cameron Seymore (L) dec. Kyle Leitch (AL), 5-3.
285 — FIRST: Matt Lee (Amherst) pinned Max Wittman (AL), 2:21. THIRD: Daniel Bucknavich (M) dec. Luca Santillo (SE), 3-2. FIFTH: Tyler Jones (NO) pinned Jacob Hammond (Avon), :53.
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