COPLEY — Cuyahoga Falls wrestling coach Jim Benson was under no illusions.
The second-year coach knew his young team was walking into a meat grinder when it wrestled at the Suburban League Tournament Saturday at Copley.
With nationally-ranked wrestlers in the fold and several coaches believing the Suburban League is the toughest wrestling conference in Ohio, the Black Tigers were in for their toughest challenge of the season.
Unfortunately for Benson, Falls did not rise to that challenge.
Falls finished 15th in the 15-team field at the Suburban League Tournament with 45.5 points. That result also put them eighth in the National Conference standings, as the tournament accounted for all the league placing this year.
Brecksville-Broadview Heights won the tournament and the National Conference crown with 423.5 points.
While acknowledging what his team was up against, Benson said he had hoped to see more from the Black Tigers.
"We knew what we were walking into here," Benson said. "We had a pretty good tournament last week in St. Clairsville and a pretty good week of practice. We just didn’t wrestle well at all here."
Benson felt the strength of the field got into the Black Tigers’ heads a bit.
"We were wrestling timid," Benson said. "We weren’t taking our chances and when you do that against quality kids, they’ll run you over."
Falls had only five wrestlers compete at the tournament. This year’s tournament format included a three-round pool tournament followed by semifinals and finals on in four different levels, depending on pool outcomes.
Falls did not have have wrestlers win their respective pools, thought 152-pounder Zevon Simon had a chance, before losing 11-2 to Highland’s William Scavuzzo.
Simon then lost 3-2 to Brecksville’s Carter Lloyd in the consolation bracket and had to settle for eighth place after getting pinning in 38 seconds by Wadsworth’s Logan Scandlon.
At 145 pounds, Isaac Puchajda had a rough draw off the bat, as he was pinned in 52 second by Aurora All-Ohioan David Cumberledge 52 seconds. However, he rebounded with a pin 2:58 over Tallmadge’s Aden Schwartz.
Puchajda went to the tie-breaker round with Wadsworth’s Brendan Bartett in his consolation semifinal before falling 2-1. He also had to settle for eighth place as he was pinned in 2:52 by Stow’s JR Reed.
Falls also had heavyweight Gabe Hardman finished ninth, 112-pounder Billie Ferrell finish 10th and 138-pounder Noah McClendon finish 11th in the tournament.
"We’ve got to go back and fix some things," Benson said. "We made too many basic mistakes today."
Following its dual meet with Cleveland John Adams Thursday being cancelled, Falls had nearly two full weeks to right the ship. The Black Tigers will host Beachwood Wednesday at 6 p.m before travelling to Lorain Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO