COPLEY — The team race at the Suburban League Wrestling Tournament may have had a familiar feel with Brecksville-Broadview Heights winning and Wadsworth finishing second.
It wasn’t necessary to wear red, however, to walk away from the mats at Copley Saturday with a smile.
Aurora, which finished third overall with 343 points, maintained its grip on the American Conference title. Meanwhile, Stow-Munroe Falls had its best finish at the tournament, taking fourth with 244 points.
A young Nordonia squad took sixth with 208 points, while Hudson finished 11th with 128 points and Twinsburg was 12th with 122 points.
Local individual champions included Stow 152-pounder Dan Patten, Nordonia 182-pounder Sal Perrine and Hudson heavyweight Garrett O’Connell.
Aurora 152-pounder Ty Lillard may have been involved in the best match of the tournament in his semifinal with Patten.
The match went to the tiebreaker round tied at 2-2, where Patten was able to maintain an anaconda-like grip on Lillard before escaping to win 3-2.
Compared to the semifinal, Patten’s title match with Highland’s William Scavuzzo was an anti-climax. Patten dominated Scavuzzo on his way to a 12-2 major decision.
"I knew for a couple of weeks I was going to have a match with Lillard," Patten said. "That’s all my coaches have saying to me all year is get on my offense."
Patten was happy to see 132-pound teammate Vince Randall also make the final. Randall gave a good account of himself before falling 13-4 to nationally ranked Jimmy Carmany of Brecksville.
"I’m super proud of the guys," said Stow coach Tyler Buckwalter. "We’ve really emphasized this tournament. I think our goal realistically was fourth place and we had a lot of guys contribute to that."
For Perrine, he had a simple motive: Win the 182-pound title and avenge a loss to Wadsworth’s Dom Loparo in last year’s 160-pound league final.
"Last year, I think I got caught in a stupid move," Perrine said. "This year, I wanted to wrestle smart."
The final with Loparo was a dogfight, as it went to overtime tied at 1-1. In the sudden victory period, however, Perrine stuffed a shot by Loparo, slipped out the back door and came up with the decisive takedown to win 3-1.
"I blocked the takedown and just did what I needed to," Perrine said. "It feels great to get revenge."
Perrine said he felt the young Nordonia squad was heading in the right direction, but Knights coach Jason Walters wanted to see more.
"I honestly was looking to see more holiday practice effort," Walters said. "It’s been a struggle. These kids need to practice with a purpose and a goal, rather than just showing up to practice. We’ve got to regroup."
While Perrine was in his second straight final, O’Connell is only in his second year of wrestling. However, the Hudson senior — who is also a star at football and rugby — showed that he has a bit of a secret weapon: Conditioning.
O’Connell said the plan was simply to use his athletics assets in the heavyweight title match with Revere’s Cody Luther.
"Just wrestle my match, play to my strengths and don’t let him get on top," O’Connell said.
O’Connell did just that, tying the match in the third period before turning Luther and getting the pin in 4:50 to take the title.
"He’s super athletic, especially at this level," said Hudson coach Joe Caniglia. "He get so many wins just by making the other guys work."
For the third time this year, Twinsburg 170-pounder Aidan Corrigan reached a tournament final, but came up short in the title match.
Corrigan reached the final with a solid 9-7 decision over Aurora All-Ohioan Ethan Anderson in the semifinals.
In the final, however, Corrigan could not get his offense going against Lehman, losing 7-2.
"This is our toughest tournament of the season," said Twinsburg coach Dave Mariola. "This place is loaded. Kids are rugged all over this league."