MENTOR: Going through this season as a defending state champ, Perry’s Zack Dailey admits it felt like he’s been wearing a bull’s-eye.
At this weekend’s Division I district wrestling tournament at Mentor, nobody even came close to hitting it.
Dailey used two pins, a technical fall and a 14-4 decision in the final to win his fourth district title. It was one of many highlights during Perry’s romp to the overall team title Saturday night.
The Panthers finished with 170.5 points, with Maple Heights at runner-up at 125.5. Barberton was third (119) and Twinsburg was fourth (104.5). The top four finishers in each weight class qualify for state. Twenty-six area wrestlers will advance from the Mentor district.
Seven of the Panthers’ 12 district qualifiers will move on to next week’s state tournament. David Bavery (103) and Jo Jo Tayse (195) also won district titles. Isaac Bast (132) and Mitch Newhouse (138) were runners-up, while Josh Arrendale (160) and Stefano Millin (220) were fourth.
“We thought we’d get seven or eight out,” Perry coach Dave Riggs said. “St. Edward has all 14 wrestlers going to state. We have half that, so, realistically, we’re going for second. “
Dailey, who was fourth at state as a freshman and failed to place because of injury as a sophomore, was happy to make it through districts healthy. Also, he didn’t mind the bull’s-eye so much.
“We wrestle the best tournaments in the country, I believe,” he said. “That really helps you find your weaknesses. I felt really good. Now I just want to stay healthy for next week.”
Bavery, a sophomore, was state runner-up at 103 last year. Then, in August, his mother died. Both of those things have fueled him this season.
“It’s been a drive to get back to state,” said Bavery, who beat Boardman’s Nick Mancini for the third time this year (10-0) for the 106 title.
Twinsburg won two of its three championship matches and sends five wrestlers to state. Mike Labry (138) and defending state champ Mike Baker (182) won titles, while Myles Campbell (195) fell in overtime to Tayse, 6-1. Labry’s victory was a high-scoring 15-10 decision over Newhouse. Twinsburg heavyweight Willie Williams was fourth.
Barberton senior Coby Fehr returns to the state meet for the first time since his sophomore year. He won a rematch of last week’s sectional championship 8-1 over North Canton Hoover’s Sam Wakser.
“I just want to do the best I can [at state],” Fehr said. “If the best I can do is eighth, then that’s what I’ll do. But it’s not like I’m going down there to finish fourth or something. I want to win.”
Fehr was the lone district champ for the Magics, but they do send five other wrestlers to state, including Reed Shump (third, 120), Austin Rice (third, 145), Vernon Rowe (third, 220), Sam Hymes (fourth, 170) and Aaron Tschantz (fourth, 195).
GlenOak senior Derrick Everett will return to state after winning the 285-pound title match, 6-3, over Aaron Pipkins of Maple Heights.
North Canton Hoover’s Wakser will be joined at state by Andy Fausnight, who was third at 113. Cuyahoga Falls’ Joe Repasky was pinned in his title bout, but moves on to state along with teammate Colin Taylor, who was third at 138.
Jackson’s Lucas Marcelli finished second, falling in the final, 9-1, to defending state champ Anthony Collica of Solon.
Other area state qualifiers include Lake’s Zac Carson (fourth, 120); Green’s Corey Fitzgerald (fourth, 152); and Stow’s Connor McMahon (third, 160).