CUYAHOGA FALLS: Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy is advancing to the Division II state team wrestling quarterfinals, and the Royals didn’t waste any time getting there.
CVCA made quick work of Bay Village Bay, winning 56-24 in the regional finals and doing it in a match that took less than 45 minutes at home on Wednesday night.
The Royals pulled it off with six pins, two technical falls and a forfeit, including a string of eight consecutive victories that took the score from 6-4 Bay to 50-6 CVCA.
“I’m pretty pleased,” CVCA coach Dave Bergen said. “We felt it was going to be a battle so we tried to raise it up a level and make sure we were wrestling with some intensity. I think we saw that tonight.”
Senior standout Nathan Tomasello, the No. 1 ranked 120-pounder in the country, started CVCA’s run. He earned a technical fall early in the second period, giving the Royals a lead they wouldn’t give up.
Junior Jimmy Coyne (126 pounds) and sophomore Andy Dobben (132), won by pins in back-to-back matches. Dobben’s came at 3:14 and Coyne, who normally serves as the backup at that weight class, ended his match late in the first period.
“Jimmy’s our backup, and he stepped in and got a fall, which was enormous,” Bergen said. “If there’s anybody that deserves a nod, it’s him. And he’s not really our backup, because quite frankly, our philosophy is if you wear the CVCA singlet, you better go. He went out right away and that’s exactly what the expectation is.”
CVCA won by forfeit at 138 pounds, and the 145-pound match didn’t last much longer.
Junior Ricky Simonelli, wrestling up from 138 pounds, pinned his opponent in 11 seconds.
Juniors Jeff Hojnacki and Michael Meadows then each followed with pins at 1:49 and 3:06, respectively.
Meadows trailed 2-0 for much of his match, struggling to find leverage. Once he was able to flip over, he pounced and quickly pinned his man.
“Michael got taken down and ridden, and when all of a sudden he reverses the guy and pins him,” Bergen said. “That’s awesome. Those are the kinds of victories we love. We try to instill in our guys, ‘Just don’t quit.’ No matter the score, we want to wrestle.”
Junior Tyler Maclellan won by technical fall at 170 pounds. Senior Nick Havener had the Royals’ final pin of the night at 1:54 of the 195-pound match.
Sophomore Noah Havener, at 182 pounds, didn’t wrestle Wednesday night. Havener has been dealing with a nagging injury and by the time the meet reached his weight class, CVCA had already mathematically won. Freshman Mason Brainard didn’t win against Bay, but Bergen talked highly of the freshman, who even in the 106-pound weight class is giving away some weight.
Having beaten Firelands (70-0), Woodridge (64-6), Coventry (48-21) and now Bay, CVCA moves on to Columbus for the team wrestling state tournament on Saturday. Bergen is confident, and with good reason.
“It’s tough down there,” he said. “I certainly expect us to wrestle with reckless abandon. If we win, that’s great, if we lose, as long as we wrestle hard I’ll be happy with that.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.