HUDSON — A Friday night showdown between Hudson and Stow-Munroe Falls in any sport is a setting for a heated contest.
The Bulldog and Explorer wrestling teams took center stage at Hudson’s Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
There was a definite "Stow-Hudson" vibe in the gym, but the visitors went home happier, as the Bulldogs pulled out a 34-27 win over the Explorers, despite giving up forfeits at 195 and 220 pounds, respectively.
With the win, Stow improved to 6-2 in dual meets, while the Explorers dropped to 5-2.
It was Bulldog lightweights who did much of the damage, as Stow finished with an 8-4 edge in wrestled matches.
For the most past, Stow coach Tyler Buckwalter was happy with what he saw.
"I think we wrestled with a good pace," he said. "We were looking to score points. We knew this was going to be a tight match.
"I think we wrestled really well with our lightweights. They set the tone for us."
Hudson head coach Joe Caniglia said his young team put up a fight, but just dug too deep of a hole.
"The great thing about dual meets is you can do your job and not get pinned to help the team," he said. "Despite the fact that we were down, I felt we had a decent chance to win until about 170, but I knew we could get full points in the top three classes."
Stow started the match with a pair of pins, as 106-pound freshman Chase Mygrants used an armbar to score a pin in 3:50, followed by Luke Marconi floating over the top to pin his man in 3:21 at 113 pounds.
Micah Bentley then scored a 10-3 decision over Will Broadbeck at 120 pounds to give Stow a 15-0 early lead.
The match at 126 pounds saw Hudson’s Matt Hartle cradle up Stow’s Blake Kaminski early, only to see Kaminski reverse Hartle on to his back. Hartle held on for a 9-7 decision.
"We almost got that one at 126," Buckwalter said.
The Bulldogs’ Vince Randall scored a dominant 14-1 major decision at 132 pounds before the first pivotal match of the night at 138 pounds.
Stow senior Josh Lundstrom seemed to be in control with a 6-1 lead late, but Hudson’s Will Davis threw Lundstrom on his back and the five-point move forced overtime.
Davis then got behind Lundstrom in the sudden-victory period to score the decisive takedown and win 8-6. Lundstrom was furious with himself and threw his headgear, costing Stow a team point.
"[Davis] wrestled for the full six minutes and showed what he could do," Caniglia said. "We needed that."
"The bottom line at 138 is we need to win that match," Buckwalter said. "You can’t let that happen."
The loss prompted Stow to make a bit of a switch, after the Bulldogs’ J.R. Reed pulled out a 7-4 win over Hudson’s Gavin Wervey at 145 pounds.
Buckwalter put Brayden Cowger into the lineup at 152 pounds and Cowger didn’t wrestle poorly, though he lost 7-2 to the Explorers’ Noah Batcher.
That set up a showdown between arguably the teams’ two best wrestlers at 160 pounds, as Stow All-Ohioan Daniel Patten moved up to face Hudson’s Aidan McStay, who has been red-hot recently.
The match turned out to be not much of a contest, as Patten shut down McStay on his way to an 11-0 major decision.
"Dan’s the kind of kid that will do anything that you ask," Buckwalter said. "Going up to 160 and trying to get a pin for us was big."
"I’m glad they did that," Caniglia said. "That’s the kind of match that Aidan needs heading into the postseason."
Stow landed the knockout blow at 170 pounds, as the Bulldogs’ Ty Bukowski took an early 9-0 lead and then reversed Hudson’s Nick Jackson onto his back, getting the pin in 5 minutes, 44 seconds.
"The wonderful thing about matches like this is one big win can turn it," Buckwalter said. "I think we lost some momentum after the middleweights, but Ty got it right back for us."
Stow then clinched the match when 182-pound freshman Ty Gregory scored a 6-4 win over Hudson’s Ian Knauss.
As Caniglia thought it could, Hudson got 18 points from the final three weight classes, as Brendan Demuynck (195) and Nick Peri (220) each won by forfeit.
At heavyweight, Hudson senior Garrett O’Connell overpowered Stow’s Josh Andrassy and pinned him in 1:15. It was Andrassy’s first match of the season.