AKRON: The finals of the 25th Bill Dies Memorial Wrestling Tournament on Saturday night at Firestone High School began with an emotional and deserved tribute to the late wrestling patriarch whom the tournament is named after.
Then it was wrestlers who took center stage and took their rightful spot into the history of the prestigious event.
Brecksville won the team title for the fourth year in a row with 211 points, while Barberton was second with 187.5 points.
“Tough wrestlers, good coaches, and a tough tournament. I was pretty happy with our overall performance,” Magics coach Dave Mariola said.
Cobey Fehr, who won the 126-pound championship for his second consecutive Dies title, said the tournament was important for the Magics.
“This is it for the seniors ... they will not get to wrestle here again so you want to put out your best effort,” Fehr said.
Fehr pinned Nick Asadorian of Olmsted Falls in 3:49 in the championship match. Leading at one point 11-3, Fehr gave the Bulldogs senior a little extra shove when he was in the process of pulling an escape.
“I wasn’t going to be satisfied [without a pin]. I want some respect. I have not placed at state and I’m hungrier than anyone,” Fehr said.
Aaron Tschantz only needed one second longer to win his second consecutive title by pinning Myles Campbell of Twinsburg.
Sonny Schump of the Magics led Elyria senior Matt Canon 5-3 after the first period of their 120-pound championship bout.
But the junior suddenly found himself on his back and was pinned 18 seconds into the second period.
“Sonny wrestled well until he got caught with that move,” Mariola said.
Twinsburg, which finished seventh with 118.5 points, also had two champions in Michael Baker and Mike Labry.
Baker, who won the 171-pound Division I state championship last year, captured his first Dies title with a 5-1 decision over Kevin Stock of Garrettsville by using his speed, quickness and well as strength.
“The bigger they are the slower they are. I used quicker moves with him because he is a strong, solid wrestler,” Baker said. “My whole high school career I knew I had the potential to be a great wrestler.
“It is just great motivation for me. The more that people look at me as an underdog is just more motivation.”
Labry, a senior from Twinsburg who was third at state in Division I at 125 pounds, captured his third Dies title with a 17-7 win over Colin Taylor of Cuyahoga Falls in an action-filled 138-pound championship final.
“It is pretty exciting to win it. To win it three times is a big accomplishment,” Labry said.
For Connor McMahon of Stow, the Dies event has been a nightmare.
Though he had been fifth at state, the Bulldogs senior had struggled here, including a fifth-place finish last year.
This time he was not going to be denied despite a sore knee, and captured the 160-pound championship with a 5-0 decision over Aaron Yonker of Garrettsville.
“He is obviously worried about [me] being on my feet, which means he’s a bit intimidated so you have the mental advantage there,” McMahan said.
Adam Kluk of Highland decided to drop from the 182-pound weight class to 170 earlier this season. Kluk won his first Dies championship by pinning Raemell Stepha of Garfield Heights 27 seconds into the second period.
“It means a lot to me,” Kluk said.
The Hornets finished sixth in the team standings with 124 points.
Also taking second was Colin Rininger of Highland at 152, losing in a hard-fought match with Andrew Barr of Brecksville 4-3.
The rest of the champions crowned were Armando Torres of Elyria at 106 pounds, D.J. Schoeppner of Canton South at 113 pounds, Brandon Egnor of Elyria at 132 and Zack Srock of Chippewa won the heavyweight match in overtime against Conner Sharp of West Branch.
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/