After getting snowed out last winter, Woodridge wrestling was eager to get back on the mats at the Bill Dies Memorial Tournament Friday and Saturday at Akron Firestone High School.
However, Bulldogs coach Mike Massey noted things at the Dies did not go smoothly, in large part due to the weather this year.
"It was just kind of a weird weekend," Massey said. "There were teams that weren’t allowed to come back on Saturday because of the storm. That said, 30-some teams still were there. We tell these guys if you place at Dies, you’re doing something right."
In the end, Massey was content with his team finishing in the top third of the tournament, as the Bulldogs finished 12th out of 36 teams with 75 points. Brecksville-Broadview Heights dominated the tournament, winning with 301 points. Canfield was second with 145.5 points.
"I wasn’t unhappy," Massey said. "I wanted our kids to the get more matches than they did. I had too many kids go two and out. They were probably in over their heads, but I wanted to see what they could do. We only entered 11 guys. I was very happy with the ones that placed."
Woodridge had three wrestlers finish on the podium, led senior 132-pounder Brandon Reeves, who reached the the title match.
"That was definitely our goal: To see Brandon get to the final," Massey said. "That’s the kind of competition that we need for him."
Reeves started with a 9-1 win over Brunswick’s Mico Miloradovic, followed by a 13-8 win over Norwayne’s Austin Shepherd to reach the semifinals.
In the semifinals, Reeves scored two takedowns on his way to a 5-0 win over top-seeded Jake White of Manchester.
That set up Reeves for a chance at the 132-pound title against Green’s Caleb Graber. Graber won a tight match, beating Reeves 3-0 to claim the title.
"Reeves wrestled a really good tournament," Massey said. "We wanted to see Graber. He just came out on the short end of the stick. I think Brandon is in a good place heading to the postseason."
At 113 pounds, Woodridge sophomore Nate Demangeont took fifth place, though Massey noted his road to fifth place was bit bumpy.
"Nate I thought had a really good tournament," Massey said. "The problem was that he had two matches that were forfeits, so it kind of threw him off."
After falling in the quarterfinals to Canfield’s Ethan Fletcher, Demangeont got a forfeit win of Jackson’s Jonathan Dimos, as Jackson was one of the schools that did not participate in day two two of the tournament.
Demangeont then pinned Firestone’s Hamzah Adbelrahim in 2:56 to reach the podium, but lost to Canton South’s Hunter Miller 5-1 and dropped to the fifth place match.
Masset said he was disappointed Copley chose to default Zan VanVoorhis in the fifth-place match due to injury.
"That’s just a tough day mentally," Massey said of dealing with the forfeits. "That put a damper on things."
Massey said 220-pounder Mile Ashbaugh dealt with some similar issues on his way to seventh-place finish.
After winning by forfeit over Jackson’s Carlos Elias in his first consolation match, Ashbaugh was pinned in 4:33 by Garfield Heights’ Leon Webb.
In the seventh-place match, Ashbaugh won by forfeit over Tallmadge’s Ben Blankenship.
"Miles has been putting together a very nice season," Massey said. "He’s going to surprise some people."
Massey also noted 120-pounder Beau Hearty scored a pair of pins before an injured shoulder in the quarterfinal forced him to default out of the tournament.
Woodridge was set to travel to Norton for a dual meet Thursday at 6 p.m. before participating in the Green Bulldog Brawl Saturday at 9:30 p.m.
Woodridge will face another set of Bulldogs this week when it travels to Stow-Munroe Falls Jan. 31 at 6 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC