COLUMBUS — The banner weekend continued for Elyria on Friday at the Division I state tournament, as the Pioneers won seven quarterfinals and put three wrestlers into tonight’s state finals.
Tweets by ShaunBennettct The two Elyria wrestlers who came up short in their quarterfinals rallied to win consolation matches and give the Pioneers a program-record nine state placers.
“It’s been a nice weekend,” Elyria coach Erik Burnett said. “Today was a fun day for our guys. We have some young guys down here that are placing in this thing. The semifinal round is tough. We won three and lost four, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.”
Elyria’s state finalists are freshman Peyton Fenton at 106 pounds, junior Mick Burnett at 132 and sophomore Enrique Munguia at 152.
Joining the Elyria trio in the finals are Avon senior Jack Roesch, who will compete for the Division I 285-pound state championship, and St. Edward junior Bryce Hepner, an Avon resident, who will battle for the 138 title.
Fenton was the first wrestler on the mats during the semifinal session, and he was the first into the finals after a 3-2 upset over projected state champion Cole Skinner of Cincinnati LaSalle.
Skinner had won a 4-2 overtime decision over Fenton during the state semifinals of the dual team tournament across the street at
St. John Arena a few weeks earlier.
“I got the revenge from state duals that I wanted,” Fenton said. “I just left everything on the mat, gave it my all and came out with the win.
“I just had to figure out what he does on top. He didn’t go on bottom on me, that’s why I went neutral. I just did stuff that got him hit with stalling and got me the points.”
Mick Burnett controlled his matchup with Cincinnati LaSalle’s Casey Wiles, an opponent he had beaten 8-4 in the state duals. This time it was a 6-3 victory to advance to his second straight state final.
“The kid I wrestled is tough and he made some good adjustments from the last match,” Burnett said. “I think I took a couple shots that I should have finished and if I finish those shots it’s a little different score, but I got the job done and I’m just ready to go for tomorrow.”
Burnett was hoping younger brother Nate could have joined him on the raised mats tonight, but the Pioneers freshman lost his 120-pound semifinal earlier in the session.
“You’ve got five or 10 minutes to sulk about that match, then you have to put it behind you,” Mick said when asked what advice he had for Nate. “When I lost in the quarterfinals my freshman year I was down and out for a long time. That was the big mistake I made and I didn’t come back and wrestle the way I wanted to the next day.”
Mick Burnett lost in last year’s final to Hepner, who is making his third straight state finals appearance. He finished as the 113-pound state runner-up his freshman season and as the 126-pound champion last year.
“Every single day in the room, I’m just thinking of making the finals, winning the finals, and that just propels me,” Hepner said. “When you see something come to fruition, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
The semifinal win was considered an upset on paper — Hepner was ranked No. 3 in the state while Brecksville’s Marco Regalbuto was the projected state champion — even through Hepner pinned Regalbuto during a state duals match.
“I call myself Mr. March, to be honest,” Hepner said. “I really come out and show out in March because my coaches do a great job of peaking me. In my mind, I’m the best wrestler in the country, so I see those rankings and I just think to myself, ‘They don’t even know what they’re talking about.’”
Roesch, who will play Division I football for the Air Force Academy, advanced to the state semifinals the past two years on the football field, but he finally broke through to the state final on the wrestling mats thanks to a 5-3 victory over Cincinnati Anderson’s Kevin Stone.
“My second time getting down here and I couldn’t be more excited for how things turned out,” said Roesch, who went 0-2 at 220 last season. “I’ve been working all year with Coach (Jeremy) Johnson and Jordan (Greer) and all those guys that came into our room for freestyle practice. I’ve been wanting to get down to the Schott again and get a spot on the podium, and I’m just glad that worked out.”
It’s worked out well for Elyria all weekend, which has made Erik Burnett happy as the coach. As a father, he’s been ecstatic while watching his sons succeed on the mats.
“It’s been a really cool weekend, I can’t lie, man,” he said. “I’ve got the best seat in the house. My sons wrestle, I’m sitting there, I can yell some things out to them that maybe help them a little bit. That keeps my emotions where they need to be. This is all for them.
“I didn’t know if they’d ever be down at the state tournament together. It was just something we did as a family and I’m so lucky that they decided to do this and we could be here together.”
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like him on Facebook and follow him @ShaunBennettct on Twitter.
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