ELYRIA TWP. -- Any dual meet Elyria has with a Northeast Ohio Conference opponent should be entertaining.
When it's the first dual meet of the season and it's against a top-notch wrestling program like Twinsburg, it's almost a guarantee.
The Pioneers broke an early tie with three straight victories from their middleweight wrestlers, then locked things down when senior Jason Gott pinned Urban Lee in 1:52 during the 215-pound match, lifting the Pioneers to a 44-24 victory Thursday at the old Elyria West gym.
Senior Myles Wright (145) and junior Devan Price (152) earned back-to-back pins to give Elyria (4-1, 1-0 NOC) a 12-point lead after the score had been locked at 16. Senior Jacob Hebble (160) followed with a 15-5 major decision, making it a 32-16 lead with just four matches remaining.
"It was a good win for us," Elyria coach Erik Burnett said. "(The Tigers) are a scrappy team. They're a bunch of fighters. They have a great coach. They're very well-coached. They were out there fighting for everything they could get."
Thanks to a forfeit at 103 pounds, Elyria jumped out to a 10-0 lead. However, wins by Twinsburg's Edilberto Vinas (119), Michael Labry (125) and Mitchell Mickovic (130) tied the score at 10.
Labry, who was a national runner-up at Fargo this summer, tried in vain to gain multiple bonus points on Elyria sophomore Devin Johnson. But Labry wound up with a 16-2 major decision.
"Our guys fought hard," Burnett said. "Our 125-pounder is a young kid, and we put him out there with a job to do. And, he was scrapping out there. Devin Johnson's tough, and even though he lost, he did his job. Everybody who wrestled one of their great kids (Vinas, Labry and 171-pounder Michael Baker) did a really great job in not giving up bonus points."
Brandon Egnor was bumped up to 130, and the weight differential may have been too much against Mickovic, who scored a 9-2 meet-tying decision.
Senior Ricky Webber gave Elyria control of the match with a pinfall in 1:05 at 135 pounds, but Twinsburg quickly tied it again when Grant Blumenthal pinned freshman Connor Kamczyc in 51 seconds at 140.
"Webber moves up to 135 from 130 and goes out and gets us six," Burnett said. "Our 140-pounder fought hard, he just got caught in a crazy scramble and got pinned. But we get big wins at 145, 152 and 160, and when you're getting pins and you wind up with 16 points between Wright, Price and Hebble, that's real nice.
"Obviously, that was a big difference in the match. You can win dual meets with bonus points, but you can also lose them by giving up too many bonus points. Matches wise, it was 8-6 in our favor, so bonus points were big."
Wright (8-3) was happy with his team's performance.
"It's a good start for a young team like ourselves," he said. "We had to come back from last year, where we lost to them pretty bad (on the road). So we've been practicing for a while to beat Twinsburg. They're a really good team.
"There was a little extra pressure on me because the meet was tied. I knew I needed to win, but I also knew that it was best for the team if I tried to get the pin."
Hebble (4-2) said he fed off the momentum gained by having two teammates pick up big pins right before his match.
"Our whole team's pretty solid," he said. "All of our weight classes are pretty solid. But I think our three wins really helped the team come together to win this."
Twinsburg fought back with a 9-4 technical fall by Baker (171) over freshman Taylor Workman and an 8-3 decision by Myles Campbell (189) to keep their chances alive. But Gott quickly ended those chances with his big pin.
"I wanted the pin to build our team score up," said Gott (10-2), who won his 100th career match at last weekend's Ironman Tournament. "My coach told me before my match that a win would clinch the dual, so I just wanted to go out and get the win."
With the match decided, Twinsburg decided to forfeit the heavyweight class, making it a 20-point victory.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria 44, Twinsburg 24
103 -- Armando Torres (E) won by forfeit. 112 -- Nathan Miller (E) maj. dec. Alex Netzband (T), 11-3. 119 -- Edilberto Vinas (T) dec. Matthew Cannon (E), 3-0. 125 -- Michael Labry (T) maj. dec. Devin Johnson (E), 16-2. 130 -- Mitchell Mickovic (T) dec. Brandon Egnor (E), 9-2. 135 -- Ricky Webber (E) pinned Jimmy Hiller (T), 1:05. 140 -- Grant Blumenthal (T) pinned Connor Kamczyc (E), :51. 145 -- Myles Wright (E) pinned Tyrone McGuinea (T), 1:54. 152 -- Devan Price (E) pinned Darian Eiland (T), 3:51. 160 -- Jacob Hebble (E) maj. dec. Alex Keller (T), 15-5. 171 -- Michael Baker (T) tech. fall Taylor Workman (E), 19-4. 189 -- Myles Campbell (T) dec. Anthony Ellis (E), 8-3. 215 -- Jason Gott (E) pinned Urban Lee (T), 1:52. HVY -- Thomas Halstead (E) won by forfeit.
Junior varsity -- Twinsburg, 20-16.