COLUMBUS: Perry gave No. 1 seed and heavy favorite Lakewood St. Edward all it could handle, pushing the Division I title match into an extra period of the heavyweight bout, but in the end fell to the Eagles 28-21 in the team wrestling state tournament at St. John Arena on Saturday.
The Panthers, trailing 26-21, left the match in doubt until the final heavyweight bout between Perry junior Stefano Millin and St. Edward junior Ralph Nichols. The last time those two wrestled, Millin got the pin he needed, but he wasn’t able to duplicate that after three periods and a one-minute overtime period.
Nichols finally got Millin on the mat with six seconds left, ending the match.
“We came here with a great attitude,” Perry coach Dave Riggs said. “We tried our best and fought hard. We had a lot of momentum and a lot of tough situations. We came down here with every intention of winning.”
Perry was ahead 18-17 with four matches to go. St. Edward then won by decision at 182 pounds. Riggs elected to play the matchups, taking a forfeit at 195 pounds — which put St. Edward’s lead to 26-18 — and bumping senior JoJo Tayse to 220 pounds. Tayse won by decision, setting up a pin-for-the-state-title situation in the final bout. The Panthers fell just short.
“I had a lot of confidence in our guys,” Riggs said. “They’re a great team. We’re very grateful, very grateful for the support. We try to make everybody proud.”
Five Perry wrestlers — sophomore Jose Rodriguez (one pin), junior Casey Sparkman (two tech falls), junior Tony Dailey (one pin), senior Bruno Millin and Tayse all went 3-0 on Saturday.
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, a Division II No. 2 seed, built a big lead but was then overtaken by No. 7 seed Hamilton Ross in the quarterfinals on a late surge and a tiebreaker.
The Royals (15-2) led 24-3 and then 30-15 before Ross won the final three matches by a decision, a pin and a forfeit. That tied the match at 30-30, leading to the tiebreaker of most six-point victories. Heading into the heavyweight match, each team had two. But CVCA doesn’t carry a heavyweight wrestler, therefore relinquishing its third six-point victory, its lead and the match in one blow.
CVCA went down swinging, though. At 182 pounds, junior Tyler Maclellan hurt his ankle in the first period and badly limped for several minutes, but continued his match and eventually came back to win 5-4, giving CVCA its 30-15 lead. At 195 pounds, senior Nick Havener also came up limping with a nagging knee injury but kept wrestling as well. Both went to the hospital after the match.
“I saw some really courageous efforts,” CVCA coach Dave Bergen said. “You see a guy wrestling on one leg who’s down and comes back to win. I guess you say to yourself: How can you be disappointed in that effort?”
Senior Nathan Tomasello didn’t wrestle and won by forfeit. Sophomore Andy Dobben had a pin at 1:37 of the 132-pound match.
Sophomore Jake Johnson, senior Dion Perez and senior Dylan Marthey all won their matches.
Tuslaw is runner-up
Tuslaw rode its lighter wrestlers into the state finals before falling to No. 1 seed Delta 52-17 in the state final.
The Mustangs started the quarterfinals against Blanchester with five pins in a row, and then jumped out 30-0 over Johnstown Northridge in the semifinal round. That momentum just couldn’t be sustained, and Tuslaw started slow and couldn’t recover in the finals.
“Dual meets are all about starts, all about momentum,” Tuslaw coach Chase Horvath said. “If you don’t have a good start and don’t have momentum, sometimes things get carried away like that. And then they got a landslide.”
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.