ELYRIA — As far as senior Steve Mitcheff is concerned, Elyria and Strongsville are even.
For years, the Mustangs dominated the Pioneer Conference, winning 23 of the last 24 league wrestling championships. The one hiccup came three seasons ago as the Pioneers came away with the crown.
“It feels good to finally beat them again,” Mitcheff said after Elyria’s 45-22 victory in a Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division match Friday night. “Maybe we can become the very first NOC champs.”
The fact that Elyria won the dual meet wasn’t surprising. It was the way the Pioneers won that seemed a bit unusual.
They seemed to catch every break.
Phillip Egnor came away with a nail-biting 5-4 decision over Mike Kaminski at 145 pounds, freshman Jason Gott scored late to force overtime and won on a caution point against Alex Pangrace at 160 and heavyweight Adrian Adams erased a 5-0 deficit after a five-count on his back during the opening period and pinned Zach Carney.
“I think the heavyweight match was the key because we were losing the match and to wind up with a pin, that’s a nine-point swing,” coach Erik Burnett said.
Adams called the victory one of the most exciting of his career.
“Our coaches kind of told me to suck it up and keep on going,” Adams said. “I fell back hard and was able to catch him at the end.”
Even Mitcheff’s match was somewhat jaw-dropping. Mitcheff and Strongsville’s David Bolger are ranked in the top five in the state, yet the Pioneer 112-pounder dominated the Mustang junior for a 12-0 major decision.
“For Stevie to get bonus points for us was another big one,” Burnett said. “The wins we got tonight were solid. We won a lot of big matches, a lot of swing matches. So the score is deceiving.”
Elyria (11-1, 3-0 NOC) also picked up wins from Kodie Egnor (119 pounds), Dalton McHenry (130), senior Brandon Perrott (135), Chase Churchill (140), Zack Goins (152) and Ryan Nelisse (215).
Strongsville (16-2, 2-1) will be hoping that the Pioneers stumble against Mayfield — the other team to beat the Mustangs in a dual meet this season — next Thursday. The Mustangs defeated the Wildcats in their NOC meet, then lost to them in the Grizzly Duals last week.
“(Strongsville) came in here two years ago on a mission,” Burnett said. “We had beaten them the prior year and they came in here and blew us out in our own place. We went there last season and they blew us out again. So to be able to accomplish this tonight, it’s great.”
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria 45, Strongsville 22
103: Michael Bolger (S) won by forfeit.
112: Steve Mitcheff (E) maj. dec. David Bolger, 12-0.
119: Kodie Egnor (E) dec. James Kerr, 5-0.
125: Josh Slimak (S) maj. dec. Myles Wright, 14-2.
130: Dalton McHenry (E) pinned Eric White, 3:40.
135: Brandon Perrott (E) maj. dec. Mauricio Gonzalez, 11-3.
140: Chase Churchill (E) pinned David Stauder, 2:57.
145: Phillip Egnor (E) dec. Mike Kaminski, 5-4.
152: Zack Goins (E) maj. dec. Matt Haxton, 9-1.
160: Jason Gott (E) dec. Alex Pangrace, 7-6 (OT).
171: Joe Stewart (S) pinned Mitchell Fadenholz, 2:41.
189: Dominic Jontony (S) pinned Thomas Merrell Jr., 1:02.
215: Ryan Nelisse (E) pinned Brad Shaft, 1:44.
HVY: Adrian Adams (E) pinned Zach Carney, 5:29.