STOW — It had been a good week for Stow-Munroe Falls wrestling heading into its home match Thursday with Tallmadge.
On Feb. 8, the Bulldogs picked up their first trophy from the Division I state dual meet tournament by finishing as runner-up in the Region 3 tournament at Brecksville-Broadview Heights.
Seeded second in Region 3, Stow avenged a loss to North Royalton earlier in the week by beating the Bears 39-34 in the quarterfinals and then advanced to the finals with a 48-33 win over Copley.
Brecksville flexed its muscles in the final, routing Stow 72-3. Stow senior Dan Patten got the lone win for Stow with an 8-2 decision at 152 pounds, but Bulldogs coach Tyler Buckwalter was happy with his troops.
“That was a great tournament for us,” Buckwalter said. “We went out and beat some kids who beat us earlier in the season. We’re wrestling very well right now.”
Given Stow’s momentum from the tournament and the fact it was the Bulldogs’ senior night Thursday, the Blue Devils knew they were in for a rough night.
Stow got bonus points in all but one of its wins on the night, scoring a 63-15 rout over Tallmadge at James G. Tyree Gymnasium. Stow improved to 10-4 in dual meets, while Tallmadge dropped to 1-3.
“We were happy with what we did [Thursday],” Buckwalter said. “We’ve had a bit less competition the last few weeks, so we’ve been able to get a bit more work in. It was good for us to wrestle in front of the home crowd.”
Meanwhile, Tallmadge head coach Jason Shaw said his team put forth a solid effort.
“We had kids just coming back from illness [Thursday],” Shaw said. “There were a couple time when we ran out of steam. It was a good test for us. Once we get the illness out of our system, we want to work on these guys’ cardio for sectionals.”
Stow celebrated seniors Josh Lundstrom, Louis Aristide, Josh Andrassy and Patten before the match. Buckwalter was happy to see his seniors go 3-1 on senior night.
“They’re a good group of seniors,” Buckwalter said. “They’re the best leaders I’ve had since I’ve been with the program.”
Stow benefited from four forfeit wins from 106-pounder Chase Mygrants, 113-pounder Luke Marconi, 120-pounder Micah Bently and 160-pounder Devan Patten, although Tallmadge got one forfeit win back at 220 pounds from Max Blondin.
Meanwhile, Tallmadge’s two wins in wrestled matches came from its senior leaders.
At 182 pounds, Tallmadge’s Jesse Kanatzar worked over Stow’s Teddy Gregory to score an 11-0 major decision.
After Blondin took the forfeit win at 220, Tallmadge bumped senior Ben Blankenship up to heavyweight, where he pinned Andrassy in 1:09. Tallmadge also was docked one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“I thought Jesse wrestled a solid match even though it’s not what he wanted,” Shaw said. “He really wanted the pin. Bumping Ben up was an easy call because you always want to get matches.”
Beyond that, the Bulldogs dominated. Along with the forfeits, Stow scored pins in the first six wrestled bouts, giving the Bulldogs a 60-0 lead heading into 182 pounds.
Stow saw 126-pounder Blake Kaminski reverse Josh Heatwall onto his back and pin him in 4:18, followed by a pin in 27 seconds by 132-pounder Vince Randall, thanks to a nearside cradle.
A pair of bundles from Stow 138-pounder Josh Lundstrom and 145-pounder JR Reed gave them pins in 2:14 and 52 seconds, respectively.
Dan Patten put on a takedown clinic at 152 pounds before scoring the pin in 4:47 via an armbar takedown. At 170 pounds, Stow’s Ty Bukowski chin-locked Tallmadge’s Devin Richter and pinned him in 57 seconds.
Aristide provided the final win of the night for Stow at 195 pounds, as he won a back-and-forth match with Tallmadge’s Brian Blankenship 12-8.
While Buckwalter and Shaw are focused on preparing their teams for their respective sectional tournaments on Feb. 29, both teams have one last match to close out the regular season.
Stow will host rival Cuyahoga Falls Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Tyree Gymnasium. The match was moved forward a day to accommodate the Stow girls basketball playoff game Thursday.
Meanwhile, Tallmadge is scheduled to close out its regular season Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Barberton.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO