BAINBRIDGE TOWNSHIP — The Hudson wrestling team’s performance at the Kenston Invitational Tournament followed the trend from the Explorers’ early season.
While it wasn’t able to keep up with the top teams, the Explorers finished a solid 13th with 91 points at the tournament, which took place Friday and Saturday in Bainbridge Township. Geneva won the 40-team title with 156 points.
Another trend in the early season for Hudson has been the emergence of sophomore 160-pounder Aidan McStay. Over the weekend, McStay ended up leading the charge for the Explorers, as he was Hudson’s lone finalist.
McStay was one of three placers for the Explorers. Such a fact left Hudson head coach Joe Caniglia a bit lukewarm.
"I think the guys that placed did really well," he said. "I think some guys should have ended up winning more matches. We have to be able to start stepping up in tournaments like this."
McStay did step up, as he busted top-seeded Milan Jackson of Lakewood with a 6-4 decision during Friday’s quarterfinals. McStay then booked his place to his first varsity tournament final Saturday, as a trio of third-period takedowns led McStay to an 11-7 win over Shaker Heights’ Eli Meinhard.
In the final, McStay faced a familiar opponent in Fairview Park Fairview’s Aidan McClintock, who handed him a 13-5 loss the previous week in the third-place match at Hudson Holiday Tournament.
McClintock took a 5-1 lead into the third period, but McStay drew two stalling calls, two penalty points and an escape to tie the match at five. However, in a scramble at the edge, McClintock scored the decisive takedown to win 7-5 just before time expired.
"He had a great tournament," Caniglia said. "He really is getting better every week. He took a big step here. I’m sure he would like to have the last three seconds of that match back."
If McStay would have liked to replay the final moments of his title match, junior 195-pounder Brendan Demuynck had every right to be frustrated by his last bout.
After getting pinned in the quarterfinals by eventual champion Kenny Marra of Beloit West Branch, Demuynck got a pair of pins to get back on the podium and then dominated Beachwood’s Elijah Durham-Harris 9-2 in his consolation semifinal match.
In the third-place match, though, Demuynck and Cangilia were left frustrated by Geneva’s Brandon Thomas. The defensive-mined Thompson clung to Demuynck for the whole match, never giving up a point, despite his shoulders being on the mat a couple of times.
Thomas secured the win with a takedown in the final seconds to win 3-0.
"There are cases where you have to win the match twice and that was one of them," Caniglia said. "You can’t leave it in the referee’s hands to give you points. I think we could have done a little better picking up the pace in the third period."
Also reaching the podium was senior heavyweight Garrett O’Connell, who went to overtime in his seventh-place match with Fairfield’s Luios Lobato before pinning him in 6 minutes, 19 seconds.
Things don’t get easier for the Explorers. Up next is the Suburban League Championship Tournament, which is scheduled for Jan. 4 at Copley High School. Wrestling is set to begin at 8 a.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO.