It was a case of the good news, bad news for Walsh Jesuit wrestling at the Division I district tournament at North Canton Hoover March 3 and 4.
The good news: Junior 126-pounder Matt Fields won his weight class and advanced to states.
The bad news: Fields was the lone Warrior to advance to Columbus.
A rigorous field at Hoover insured the defending state runner-up at 113 pounds was the only Walsh wrestler to reach the podium at districts.
Walsh Jesuit finished 15th in the team race at Hoover with 41.5 points. Wadsworth won the district team title with 193.5 points.
Walsh coach David Zahorasky acknowledged Hoover was a very tough district, but had hoped to get more than one wrestler to Columbus.
"We could have had a few more out," Zahoransky said. "Some of the older guys laid an egg. It was a tough district, but I think we could have gotten more out."
Fields' trip to the title wasn't bump free, but he showed off his riding skills on his way to his second straight district crown.
Fields opened by scoring a 15-0 technical fall on Brunswick's Mico Miloradovic and then scored a 10-2 win over Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Nolan Wochna.
In the semifinal, Fields got his toughest test of the tournament from Wadsworth's Michael North. Tied 2-2 after regulation and the sudden victory round, Field and North each rode each other out during the tie-breaker rounds, sending the match went to the ultimate tie-breaker.
Fields chose top for the ulitimate tie-breaker round and rode North out for the full 30 seconds, earning a 3-2 win and booking his spot at states.
"It was good that he got [position] choice," Zahoransky said. "If North would have got choice, he might have taken top. It was a really good match as a fan just watching."
It was clash of styles in the final at 126 pounds, as Fields dealt with Bedford's speedy Jordin James. In the end, Fields' riding was the difference, as he scored a 10-5 win.
"Basically, Matt controlled him on top," Zahoransky said. "Takedown-wise, I think it was comparable, but Matt turned him twice."
Fields was set to open the state tournament March 9 by taking on Hilliard Bradley's Zander Ellison (see story, page 30). After finishing second last year, Zahoransky said Fields isn't looking for "anything lower than a state title."
"I definitely think he has the ability," Zahoransky said. "He's had some matches during the season where he's been pushed. I think the North match showed where he's at. He's ready to go."
Walsh had hoped to get 145-pounder Will Schmidt and 160-pounder David Johnson on to states after both won sectional titles at Kenston the previous week. However, both wrestlers went 2-2 and were eliminated.
Schmidt opened with a 12-5 win over Maple Heights' Trevion Ross, but then lost an 8-4 decision to Dover's Andrew Murphy in the quarterfinals.
Schmidt rebounded by pinning Aurora's Dominic Suber in 1:38, but was eliminated with a tight 2-0 decision loss to Uniontown Lake's Noah Gainey.
"During the last two weeks, Will has wrestled the best he has all year," Zahoransky said. "I think he got a few bad calls from the officials. I think he had a chance to get to states."
Johnson followed a similar path, opening with a pin over Brunswick's Liam Wissinger in 1:09, but then losing 5-2 to Massillon Jackson's Braxton Freeman in the quarterfinal.
Johnson came back with a 5-0 win over Wadsworth's Mason McMillen, but was eliminated with a 6-4 loss to Brecksville's Ethan Hatcher.
"He didn't wrestle well," Zahoransky said.
Walsh saw freshman 120-pounder Trysten Zahoransky, sophomore 132-pounder Mitch Collica and freshman 138-pounder Adam Salek each go 1-2 at Hoover.
"With our freshmen, we wanted them to win a match and they both did," Zahoransky said. "I believe Mitch could have gone a little further. I really do."