PENINSULA — Over the years, clashes between Woodridge and Streetsboro wrestling have often carried repercussions in the Portage Trail Conference title race.
Both teams have fallen out of this year’s PTC Metro race, but the rivalry between the two programs is alive and well.
Wrestling on its Senior Night, Woodridge got wins from all four seniors to help claim a 43-32 victory over the Rockets Thursday on its home mats.
Woodridge’s dual meet record finished at 9-5, 4-3 in the Metro Division, while Streetsboro dropped to 5-11, 2-5 in the Metro.
While Senior Night is not a huge deal at every school, Bulldogs coach Mike Massey said he was happy to get a perfect night from his 12th-graders.
"It’s tough to have Senior Night in wrestling," Massey said. "We went 4-for-4 and that’s huge for us.
"In our last two outings, Stow was awful and Chardon wasn’t much better," Massey added. "We looked like we didn’t want to be there. We told the guys in the locker room ‘It’s time to start wrestling for somebody else. Let’s send these four seniors out with a ‘W.’"
Streetsboro coach Josh Zupancic noted pins and forfeits hurt his team.
"We lost four of our dual meets like this," Zupancic said. "Our goal is to be the best team in the Metro Division at the [PTC] Tournament. We think that’s an attainable goal."
Both coaches said the match at 145 pounds was the biggest of the night, as Woodridge senior Justin Rickenbacker faced Streetsboro freshman Ashton Smith.
"That kid killed Justin at the Dies [Tournament]," Massey said. "It wasn’t even a match."
This time, Rickenbacker controlled the pace and put Smith on his back in the first period to take a 6-2 lead. Smith tried to rally, but Rickenbacker pulled out a 14-10 win.
"That was a match we won earlier this season and we thought we could get it this time," Zupancic said. "He’s a freshman. He’s going to keep learning."
The Bulldogs got bonus points from their other three seniors, as 120-pounder Beau Hardy pinned in 1:08, 132-pounder Brandon Reeves pinned in 54 seconds and 170-pounder Noah Samerdak scored an 18-4 major decision over Streetsboro’s Brayden Malloy.
Woodridge caught a bit of luck at 170 pounds. Streetsboro captain Hank Carey weighed in at 173.4 pounds and had to wrestle at the 182-pound weight class, where he won by forfeit. Streetsboro also got a forfeit win at 138 pounds from Tyler Bodovetz.
Woodridge got the two forfeits back, as 113-pounder Nate Demangeont and heavyweight Alistair Larson each won by walkover, The Bulldogs also opened the match with a pin in 4:48 by 106-pounder Corey Casterline.
Streetsboro was able to take the lead briefly at 32-31 when Rocket 195-pounder Mike Paden pulled out an 11-6 win over Woodridge’s Kevin Baker, who bumped up to avoid Carey.
However, the Bulldogs’ clinched the match when 220-pounder Miles Ashbaugh scored a pin 1:43, followed by Larson’s forfeit.
Streetsboro’s returning district qualifiers all looked ready for postseason. Rocket 126-pounder Sean Neff needed just 26 seconds to get a pin, while 152-pounder Caiden Rodgers pinned in 3:44 and 160-pounder Chris "Bear" Anderson won an 18-3 technical fall.
"Our next goal is the PTC Tournament," Zupancic said. "That’s our real focus."
The week didn’t start well for Woodridge, as the Bulldogs participated in the Division III Region 11 duals Feb. 2 at Perry.
The seventh-seeded Bulldogs were eliminated in the first round with a 37-33 loss to 10th-seeded Chardon. The match came down to the final bout. Woodridge freshman heavyweight Alistair Larson got the first takedown on Chardon’s Jaret Hall, but Hall got the reversal and pinned Larson in 1:15 to win the match.
"I’m not pleased," said Massey. "Our kids don’t understand the importance of bonus points, whether it’s getting them or avoiding them. If you put someone on his back, you’ve got to take advantage of it.
"Our maturity isn’t where it needs to be in terms of being mentally tough," he added. "We have a lot of adjustments to make."
Up next for Woodridge is the PTC Tournament Feb. 15 and 16 at Rootstown High School. First match Feb. 15 is set for 5:30 p.m.