COLUMBUS — Aurora wrestling coach Johnny Papesh envisioned a dream season back in November.
With only four weeks left to go, the Greenmen are proving him right in a 2018-19 campaign that started like a freight train and has rolled through ever since.
Second-seeded Aurora made its inaugural appearance at the Division II State Duals on Sunday and cruised to a 61-12 win over seventh-seeded West Holmes and a 34-25 victory over third-seeded Lisbon Beaver.
The only team to figure out the Greenmen is the one team no one else has figured out as top-seeded St. Paris Graham beat Aurora 38-24 in the final.
“We’re good,” Papesh said. “We’re slowly getting better. We’ll be better in a couple weeks when it counts [in the individual state tournament].”
The proof was in 3-0 performances by Dylan Fishback (152/160 pounds), Will McGhee (160/170), Evan Anderson (182/195) and Colin McNamara (195/220) for the Greenmen (19-2).
Robbie Sagaris (106), Nic Willingham (113), Jack Gorman (132/138), Kyle Petersen (138/145), Andy Garr (145/152) and Ethan Anderson (170/182) won twice.
“The whole thing is crazy to even be here,” McGhee said. “We’re working hard and we’re going to keep working hard for [individual] state tournament. We’re definitely there on the map. Teams are scared. We’re there.”
Graham (10-1) rolled out to a 32-3 lead by winning seven of its first eight matches to win for the seventh consecutive time since the format changed in 2013.
The Falcons are the only team to win all seven titles regardless of division.
“You can’t lose seven of the first eight matches against a team that has won it seven times in a row,” Papesh said. “It was tough. We tried our best to fight out of it, but came up a little short today.”
Third-seeded Brecksville wiped up on sixth-seeded Mason 47-27, but fell to eventual champion St. Edward 40-17 in the semifinals.
The Bees (12-1) won eight matches against the Comets (18-2), but didn’t fare well in a semifinal that included the only two Division I teams to reach every State Duals Tournament since the format change.
The Eagles (15-3) won early and often and Brecksville claimed only five wins.
Jack Stanley (113), Jimmy Carmany (126), Ben Vanadia (182) and Ethan Hatcher (195/220) won twice for the Bees.
Fifth-seeded Wadsworth lost a 46-20 quarterfinal to fourth-seeded Elyria.
The Grizzlies (13-3) lost 10 of 14 matches and were pinned in five of them with the Pioneers (13-1) picking up bonus points in two other matches on technical falls.
“They came ready to go,” Wadsworth coach Clay Wenger said. “They were ready. We weren’t. We have four more weeks to get better.”
Things got away from the Grizzlies early with junior high state placer Mason Brugh (106), state qualifier Mikey Lewarchick (113) and state placer Landen Hacker (120) all dropping their matches.
Multi-time state placers Dylan Shawver (126) and Mick Burnett (132) ran through their matches to make it 20-0 after the first five weight classes.
“It’s hard when you go down 20-0,” Wadsworth’s Jacob Walsh said. “When your match comes up, you have to work for the pin in order for the pin to try to close the gap.”
When the smoke finally cleared, only Luke Baughman (138), Walsh (145), Michael North (152) and Zach Linn (285) won for the Grizzlies.
The good news for Wadsworth is that the individual tournament road starts back up with the Suburban League Tournament. That is followed by the sectional, district and state gauntlet as Wadsworth looks to add to an already storied history.
“We have to get off our backs,” North said. “We have to get better at every position.”
Fourth-seeded Rootstown opened with an impressive 45-25 win over fifth-seeded Blanchester, but everything went to chalk and the Rovers (15-2) beat the Wildcats (21-2).
Eventual champion and top-seeded Genoa got out to an early lead in a 55-13 win over Rootstown in the semifinals.
Despite the loss to the Comets (28-0), Rootstown still picked up two wins each from Caleb Edwards (113), Mason Kline (126), Chris Langguth (182/195) and Ryan Boyle (220).