At the outset of the season, Woodridge wrestling coach Mike Massey noted that, while the Bulldogs had won numerous division titles in recent years, it had never finished first at the Portage Trail Conference Tournament.

Heading into the final Feb. 4 at the PTC Tournament, Woodridge knew it had a chance to end that drought.

Woodridge trailed Rootstown 178.5-177.5 heading into the finals and led Cloverleaf -- which was sitting second among Metro Division teams -- by 78 points.

All that was left was for the two division leaders to duke it out.

When the dust settled, a historic week for Woodridge ended in the best way possible.

Woodridge won the PTC Tournament with 204.5 points to claim the outright Metro Division title in emphatic fashion.

Woodridge won the Metro Division by nearly 100 points, as Cloverleaf finished fourth overall and second in the Metro Division with 106.5 points.

Rootstown finished second with 192 points and claimed the outright title in the County Division.

Massey was beaming after the win, noting the Bulldogs kept the momentum going after reaching the Division II state dual meet tournament Feb. 6.

"It's what we wanted to do," Massey said. "We really only had one day to get ready for this. After we qualified for the state duals on Wednesday, we kind of had to stop the party and get back to business.

"We were pretty confident we could win the Metro. We said, 'Let's go and win the whole thing.' It's a great thing for the kids."

Massey noted it was "a perfect night" for Woodridge as the PTC honored former Bulldogs wrestling coach Stan Stammen with a plaque before the finals. Stammen remains active with the Bulldogs despite retiring 20 years ago.

Woodridge won because they had an excellent finals' session. The Bulldogs went 8-2 in placement matches, including 4-1 in title matches. They also went 2-1 against the Rovers head-to-head in placement matches.

The tone-setter came in the 132-pound title match, when Woodridge's David Massey scored a 3-1 win over Rootstown's Nico Chilson in dramatic fashion. Massey used a slide-by to score the winning takedown in the final 10 seconds of the match.

"I drilled with Nico over the summer," David Massey said. "I knew he's a great wrestler. That's what I take pride in. I recognize the moment, but don't get overwhelmed by it."

"It's hard to talk about your son, but David is such a competitor," coach Massey said. "He's so confident. I don't know where he gets it from. There was not doubt in my mind he could win it."

Massey's win was followed by titles from Woodridge's Yoho twins for the second straight year.

Senior Eli Yoho won the 138-pound title with a 4-0 win over Garfield's Ryan Finney, while junior Isaac Yoho squeezed out a tight 2-1 decision over Crestwood's Nic Vespucci in the 152-pound final.

Sandwiched between the Yoho twins was a tight 3-2 win by 145-pounder Nick Loprinzi in the third-place match over Rootstown's Nathan Zurzolo. It was a typically tight match for Loprinzi, which helped them take the edge in the battle with the Rovers.

Woodridge's lone loss in title matches kept the Rovers' hopes alive. Rootstown 170-pounder Chris Lannguth scored a 7-5 win over Woodridge's Spencer Robinson.

However, any hope of a Rovers' win ended when Rootstown 220-pounder Ryan Boyle lost 6-2 in his title match to Mogadore's Paul Skye.

Bulldogs' heavyweight Austin Hindley put an exclamation point on the night by winning his weight class with an 8-3 decision over Waterloo's Spencer Schmucker.

Woodridge also got a third-place finish from 120-pounder Brandon Reeves.

Coach Massey and numerous other coaches noted the 132-pound weight class was the toughest at the PTC. In that bracket, Woodridge senior David Genovese had a chance to finish third, as he had a rematch with Southeast's Cole Bailey after losing to Bailey 11-2 in the quarterfinals.

It was closer in the third-place match, but Genovese ended up frustrated with a 9-5 loss.

The Bulldogs also got fifth-place finishes from 106-pounder Cambell Corfman and 182-pounder Trevor Garner.

Woodridge was originally scheduled to wrestle at the William Jenkins Duals Feb. 11 in Uniontown, Pa., but coach Massey said the Bulldogs planned to forego that trip and concentrate on the state duals.

The Division II state dual meet tournament will begin Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. at St. John Arena in Columbus.

Woodridge was given the No. 7 seed in the state tournament. That means the Bulldogs will open the tournament by facing second-seeded Waseon -- the defending state runner-up -- at 1:15 p.m. on mat 4. If victorious, Woodridge would wrestle the winner of the Carrollton-Ashland match in the state semifinal at 3:30 p.m.

The Division II state title match will be at 7:30 p.m.


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