ALLIANCE -- Woodridge wrestling sent six wrestlers to the Division II district tournament at Alliance March 3 and 4, which was two less than last year.

However, Bulldogs coach Mike Massey believed his team might have a quality-over-quantity advantage.

"I told them that every single one of them had a chance to get out," Massey said.

Turns out Massey was right.

All six of Woodridge's qualifiers at least reached the "go-to" match in their respective weight classes.

When the dust settled, the Bulldogs had qualified three wrestlers to the Division II state meet for the second straight year.

Senior Eli Yoho won the 138-pound title at Alliance, while junior David Massey took third at 126 pounds and junior Spencer Robinson took fourth at 170 pounds. The Bulldogs also had three sixth-place finishers. The top four placers in each weigh class advanced to states.

Woodridge ended up sixth in the team race at Alliance with 84.5 points. Canfield won the team title with 151 points.

Woodridge's trio was set to open the Division II state tournament March 9 at Value City Arena in Columbus (See story, Page 30).

Both coach Massey and his teammates noted Yoho has been in the best form of his career recently. Yoho backed up those sentiments by winning Woodridge's individual district title since Chris Hamed in 2004 -- and that was at the Division III level.

"He's locked in. He's been locked in all month," Massey said. "He's just beating people up. David [Massey] gets the brunt of it, because he's his drill partner. He's right where we want him to be. The No. 1 seed sets him up well for states."

Yoho pinned Geneva's Braden Bilicic in 27 seconds, beat Southeast's Kaleb Dohse by a 15-0 technical fall and beat Lake Catholic's Luke McKeon 12-5 in the semifinal, despite McKeon's constant attempts to back out of the ring.

In the final, Yoho put on a takedown clinic, taking Norton's Bret Baker down eight times en route to a 20-8 win.

Yoho earned his second straight trip to states, as did David Massey, though he had to do it the hard way via the consolation bracket.

The coach's son opened by pinning Canfield's Aiden Burscak in 1:23, but in the quarterfinals, Massey lost a 15-0 technical fall to Canal Fulton Northwest's Hunter Kosco, who won the title at 126 pounds.

"I learned from coach Stammen not to run from competition and David feels the same way," coach Massey said. "I think he had an excellent chance to get out."

Indeed. Massey was unstoppable once he dropped to the consolations. He beat University School's Sean O'Dwyer 7-1, beat Edgewood's Frankie Olivarez 8-1 and downed Norton's Kaleb Kiss 8-3 to advance to states.

In the third-place match, Massey scored a tight 2-0 decision over Canton South's Derek Dolph.

For Robinson, his task was to not let history repeat itself. Much like 2016, Robinson won his first two matches to reach the semifinals, pinning Lake Catholic's Matt Wereberger in 3:03 and edging Canton South's Qy'sean Blackmond 3-2.

Last year, Robinson lost in both the semifinal and consolation semifinal, costing him a chance at states. On March 4, Robinson was overpowered by Canfield All-Ohioan David Crawford and lost 11-1.

In the consolation semifinal, however, Robinson beat up on West Geauga's Evan Venturri, turning him on his back and scoring a 5-1 win to book his first trip to states.

"I have been riding Spencer hard all season because I know what he can do," coach Massey said. "This was his best tournament of the season. He finally made it out and he deserves it."

In the third-place match, Robinson went to overtime with Perry's Evan Schenk, but lost a 6-4 decision to take fourth place.

Coach Massey admitted he was heartbroken for senior 132-pounder David Genovese. For the third straight year, Genovese reached the consolation semifinal at Alliance, only to lose and be denied at trip to states. This time, Genovese lost a 9-0 major decision to Northwest's Josh Smith.

Genovese then was pinned in the fifth-place match in 40 seconds by his nemesis -- Norton's Quaid Ivy.

"That was tough," Massey said. "I can't remember a tougher conversation than the one we had. David has done so much for this program. He's been with Woodridge wrestling since the third grade."

At 120 pounds, sophomore Brandon Reeves' first season with the Bulldogs saw him also reach the consolation semifinal, where he lost a frustrating 2-1 decision to Lake Catholic's Hunter Ryan.

Reeves then was pinned in 1:51 by Marlington's Errick Gerbeck in the fifth-place match.

"That kid's tough," Massey said. "We knew it was be tough for Brandon. He wrestled hard and he's only going to get better. He gave everything this weekend."

Junior heavyweight Austin Hindley also reached the consolation semifinals, which put him in a rematch with Howland's Brandon Matlock, who defeated Hindley 4-1 in the first round.

Hindley was leading 1-0 in the third period when he was reversed by Matlock and suffered an elbow injury. Hindley was able to finish the match, but lost 2-1. Rather than risk further damage, Hindley defaulted his fifth-place match to CVCA's Matt Holman.

"Not many people had Austin wrestling in the go-to match," Massey said. "Now he's been here and knows what it takes. Austin does a great job of keeping everything in perspective."

Woodridge actually ended up with seven district qualifiers, as sophomore 220-pounder Jack Kerlee was given a chance to wrestle as an alternate. Kerlee went 0-2 at Alliance.


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