COLUMBUS: Perry sophomore Jose Rodriguez has learned from his mistakes. Correcting those mistakes helped him to earn the Division I state title at 106 pounds on Saturday night at Value City Arena.
After struggling with his work in the bottom position and in the third period all season, Rodriguez spent hours after practice trying to correct his flaws. And after losing to Austin Assad of Brecksville last summer, he wanted to make sure “it never happened again.”
Rodriguez won the rematch 6-5 on Saturday, gaining the winning point from the bottom position and holding off a third-period attack from Assad.
“This whole week and all year round, working with [junior David Bavery] and a lot of coaches talking to me after practice when I’m tired, trying to fight off bottom — it all worked out,” Rodriguez said. “This is awesome, it’s unbelievable.”
Rodriguez has been sparring with Bavery, who beat Assad himself last year for the state title.
“Once I stepped onto the mat, drilling with David, I was feeling comfortable. The butterflies got out. I had him stay out on the mat with me,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez was followed later to the top of the podium by senior teammate JoJo Tayse, who won his second state title in a row at 195 pounds by a 14-5 decision. The Panthers finished second to Lakewood St. Edward in Division I.
Tayse says his frustrations from the district final — when his kneecap temporarily popped out of place and he had to stop — drove him through the state tournament. According to coach Dave Riggs, Tayse was on crutches Monday and wasn’t walking on his own until Tuesday. On Saturday, he pushed through to win his second title — the sweeter of the two, Tayse said.
“It is, because it’s my second one and I had a target on my back and people were gunning for me and I had to fight my way back to the top,” he said. “After [Rodriguez] won it made me excited. I wanted to get on it and win.”
Division III champions
Waynedale senior Zack Nelson made school history Saturday night, winning the state title at 126 pounds. That caps a 58-0 season, the most wins in a season by a Waynedale wrestler, and makes him the school’s first undefeated state champion. Waterloo senior J.J. Diven became the second state champion in school history, winning the 138-pound weight class championship match 3-2. Rootstown junior Travis Linton followed in his brother’s footsteps (Garrett, last year’s 195-pound champ) by taking the 160-pound weight class bout 3-2. Rootstown had a second title-winner when senior Jake Moore won the 220-pound weight class.
St. Vincent St. Mary senior Mike Rix finished in second place at 126 pounds in Division II, and finishes his career as a one-time state champion and four-time state placer. Teammate Ryan Skonieczny, a junior, took second place at 138 pounds. He is now a three-time state placer. Revere senior Stephen Suglio took second at 182 pounds in Division II. Sandy Valley senior Sam Groff was the runner-up at 182 pounds in Division III. Lake sophomore Zac Carson took second in Division I at 132 pounds and Brunswick senior Tyler Hughes finished second at 170 pounds. GlenOak’s Corey Siegfried, wrestling at 235 pounds, finished second in the heavyweight division. And Norwayne sophomore Kollin Moore placed at 152 pounds.
Brunswick freshman Josh Heil (106 pounds), Bavery (120 pounds) and Highland senior Adam Kluk (195 pounds) placed third in Division I. In Division II, Crestwood senior Dylan Kager (138 pounds) and Norton sophomore Sean Rutherford (220 pounds) placed third. And Waynedale senior Zane Nelson (138 pounds) and Chippewa senior Zack Srock (285 pounds) finished in third place in Division III.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.