BROADVIEW HEIGHTS — Elyria’s Armando Torres and Kevin Vough make up both ends of the spectrum. Torres is a senior lightweight (120 pounds), while Vough is a freshman heavyweight (285).
But what the two have in common is advancing to today’s semifinal round at the 53rd annual Brecksville Holiday Wrestling Tournament — the oldest holiday tournament in the state that draws teams from all over Ohio and even Michigan.
Torres and Vough, the area’s only two semifinalists, led Elyria to 71 team points, which was good enough for 14th place in the 47-team field on Sunday. Amherst finished tied for 35th with Aurora with 38.5 points.
“They got by their matches and found ways to win,” Elyria coach Erik Burnett said. “That was good to see. We have seven (wrestlers) still alive for (today), so overall, it was a decent day. At one point, we were in the top 10 in points. “We’ll get back (Sunday night) and take a look at some things and review some things and hopefully be ready to go (today).”
Torres and Vough were joined by teammates Ben Darmstadt (152) and Taylor Workman (160) in the quarterfinals. However, Darmstadt and Workman came up short in their bids to reach the semis.
Those four Pioneers will be joined by Nico O’Dor (126), Mikah Price (138) and J.T. Brown (170) in today’s portion. O’Dor, Price and Brown, along with Darmstadt and Workman, give Elyria five wrestlers still alive in the consolation bracket.
Torres went 3-0 Sunday, punching his ticket to the semifinals – and his much-anticipated showdown with Brecksville’s Austin Assad – with a 4-1 win over Olentangy Liberty’s Jon Furnas.
Torres (12-2) lost to Assad’s brother, Aaron, in the state championship match last year. Austin Assad has been the top-ranked wrestler in the 120-pound weight class all season, according to Josh Lowe.
“I’m excited,” Torres said. “I don’t really like to look at rankings, but I see them, and some people have (Assad) ahead of me. It’s a good opportunity to open some eyes and do good things. I’m excited for this next match. It’s going to be fun.
“I wrestled Austin a lot in freestyle matches, but not really in the regular season. He beat me twice in freestyle, but this past summer, I beat him. I’ve got the last one on him, as of right now. Hopefully, I can keep the streak going.”
Torres and Furnas were scoreless through two periods and were tied 1-1 with time winding down in the third period. But Torres landed a single-leg takedown just inbounds with 33 seconds remaining, which gave him the winning points.
“It was a close, tough match,” Torres said. “The first day is always a tough day because you’ve got to weigh out the next day and it can be a grind. I just had to grind out that match. I used a good takedown that my coaches taught me and I was able to pull it out.”
Torres’ first two victories were both by major decision.
“The Furnas kid, Armando wrestled him back in May at the state freestyle tournament,” Burnett said. “That kid keeps great position and Armando knew it was going to be a tough match to beat his position. It was a good win.
“I think he’s just trying to win every match however he can. That’s basically his mindset – advance to that next match. We’ll see what happens (today).”
Vough (11-2) picked up two pins in his first two matches to advance to the quarterfinals. However, it wasn’t easy going in his quarterfinal bout against Centerville’s Conan Jennings.
Vough scored a reversal with less than 10 seconds remaining, but was promptly reversed by Jennings just before time expired to tie the match at 4 and send it to overtime. Vough used his momentum to put Jennings on his back with one second remaining in the extra session to come away with a 6-4 win.
“It was a tough match,” said Vough, who will wrestle defending state champion Patrick Garren of Columbus Bishop Ready in his semifinal bout. “He tried to throw me (at the end of overtime), but I landed on top of him. It feels good to be in the semifinals. I came up a match short (of the semifinals) at Ironman, and it helped me know that I had to work harder in practice and workouts.”
Burnett knew Vough would have his hands full against Jennings.
“Kevin wrestled him a few weeks ago at the (Cincinnati) Moeller Duals,” he said. “He knew what to expect. The kid is a competitor and he’s obviously improving over the last three weeks. That’s kid’s tough, and it was a good win for Kevin to gut it out there at the end.”
Darmstadt wrestled Perrysburg’s J.P. Newton to a back-and-forth match. However, Newton held off Darmstadt, 13-10, to send the Pioneer down to the consolation bracket. Workman lost to Delta’s Tyler Fahrer, 7-4.
“They both just have to wrestle smarter,” Burnett said. “That definitely wasn’t our smartest wrestling. I thought Workman battled against a tough kid. Obviously Darmstadt wrestled a tough kid, and he battled. But, like I said, you’ve got to wrestle smarter.
“Taylor gets caught in a Peterson for five points, and loses the match by three. Ben getting tilted two or three times, he loses by three because he gave up all those back points. Those are mistakes that you have to fix. You can’t continue to go over-and-over again. But, they both battled hard.”
Both Workman and Amherst’s Mike Wearsch (14-1) reached the quarterfinals at 160. However, the All-Lorain County semifinal was denied by Fahrer and Oregon Clay’s Nick Stencil. Stencil came back to beat Wearsch, 4-2, while Fahrer defeated Workman, 4-1.
“It was a good, back-and-forth match,” Amherst coach Brian Cesear said. “Wearsch kind of stopped wrestling at the end of the second period and Stencil got that big takedown, and because it was at the end of the period, Wearsch didn’t have enough time to get an escape. That was kind of the breaking point.
“This is good sometimes. Sometimes, when you win, you get a false sense of how good you really are. Sometimes you just need a little wake-up call. This is good for us. This is exactly what we need.”
O’Dor overcame a second round loss to pick up two consolation victories to stay alive. He picked up a 10-0 major decision in his final bout of the evening.
Price rebounded from a pinfall loss in the third round with a 14-1 major decision win over Nordonia’s Nick Collica in the wrestlebacks.
Brown also came back from a third-round pinfall loss to stay alive in the consolations. However, he edged LaSalle’s Joseph Kreider, 3-1, in his final bout of the day.
Wearsch was Amherst’s lone quarterfinalist. But he, Christian Lough (120), Austin Williams (145), Derek Eibon (170) and Dennis Breeding (195) are all still alive today in the consolation bracket.
Lough overcame a 4-2 third-round loss with an 8-5 consolation win over Aurora’s Danny Novak.
Williams bounced back from a second-round pinfall with two consolation wins to stay alive – the latter win a 56-second pinfall over Loveland’s Connor Homan.
Eibon was sent to the wrestlebacks with a 3-2 third-round loss by Norwalk St. Paul’s Hayden Miller. But, he rebounded with a 13-3 major decision in his last match of the day.
Breeding, like Williams, also had to win two consolation bouts to advance to today’s portion. Breeding edged Clyde’s Marshall Messer, 2-1, in his final consolation match.
“We didn’t wrestle our best (Sunday),” Cesear said. “We’ve got some guys alive (today) – five out of the 11 that we brought – so we can bounce back.
“It is a tough tournament, and that’s what you want. We’ve just got to better in a lot of aspects of wrestling. We’ve got to start doing the things that we work on in practice a little bit more. We’ll be alright. We know what we need to fix and we’ll address those in the next couple of weeks.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.