Hudson wrestling opens delayed season by sweeping duals

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies
Hudson 160-pounder Aidan McStay wraps up Chippewa's Gavin Walsh during a match Tuesday at Hudson.

HUDSON — There was a definite sense of relief in the Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium Tuesday.

A month after the season was originally set to start, Hudson wrestling was finally able to hit the mats.

The Explorers hosted a unique event, as Cuyahoga Falls, Garrettsville Garfield, Ravenna and Doylestown Chippewa joined the Explorers varsity and junior varsity teams for a night of duals meets.

It was an unusual set up in an unusual winter, but all the coaches the primary goal was to get their wrestlers a lot of bouts.

"It was great just to wrestle, right?" said Hudson coach Joe Caniglia. "It's hard to keep that perspective sometimes that this is only the first week of  the season because it's January.

"You feel like you're a month behind. The big thing was just getting the kids as many matches as we could. That's the only thing we can do."

Hudson showed off its team depth at the duals. The Explores and their JV squad — wrestling as "Hudson White" — each went 4-0 Tuesday.

Hudson defeated Chippewa 51-21, Cuyahoga Falls, 69-6, Garfield 48-25 and Ravenna 75-0. Meanwhile, Hudson White beat Garfield 38-35, Ravenna 50-12. Cuyahoga Falls 48-22 and Chippewa 40-27.

The two Hudson squads did not wrestle each other, thought Explorer assistant coach Gary Kanaga joked his White squad could easily beat the varsity.

"The things we've been doing in the room came out tonight on the mat," Caniglia said. "They showed a lot of grit. It's a good start."

Senior 160-pounder Aidan McStay led the Explorers were with a 5-0 night, picking up four decision victories and a pin.

"I though McStay looked really good for us," Caniglia said. "Owen Hall had a very good night. We had a lot of freshmen step up for us. Grayson Polak won his first varsity match at the end."

James A. Garfield's Hayden Troyer attempts to put Hudson's Owen Hall on his back during a dual meet Tuesday.

Garfield was a last-minute addition to the duals, as Tallmadge had to withdraw due to COVID-19 concerns.

The G-Men gave a good account of themselves, beating Chippewa 42-36, Falls 48-18  and Ravenna 37-24.

"I'm happy in a way," said Garfield coach Dan Andel. "I do think we look a bit rusty, but that's expected on the first meet of the season. We came and we wrestled hard. We have a very young team this year."

Garfield was paced by returning state qualifier Hunter Andel — the coach's son — who went 5-0 at 145 pounds with three pins and a technical fall.

The G-Men also got a perfect night from the younger Andel's drill partner: Freshman 152-pounder Keegan Sell. Sell went 5-0 with two pins and a technical fall.

"Sell and Andel wrestled great tonight," coach Andel said. "I think Hunter didn't give up a point. Our freshman showed a lot tonight."

Cuyahoga Falls was only able to fill out six weight classes Tuesday, making it all but impossible to win duals meets.

Cuyahoga Falls 152-pounder Isaac Puchajda looks to engage with Hudson's Gavin Wervey during a dual meet Tuesday at Hudson

The Black Tigers were able to beat Ravenna on criteria (more pins) after tying them 30-30, but lost 33-22 to the Chippewa.

Despite this, Falls coach Jim Benson said his team had a "pretty good" night, given his team's lack of numbers.

"There's definitely a lot of things that we have to work on," Benson said. "You saw a lot of kids on the mat for the first time tonight. It's a good barometer for us.

"It was a really tough night for some of our kids, but I like the way that we fought," he added. "In the first two matches, our compete level was right there. After that, you could tell we were pretty tired."

Falls two most experienced wrestlers led the charge, as senior 152-pounder Isaac Puchajda and senior 160-pounder Zevan Simon each went 4-1.

It was a long night for the Ravens, who had only eight active wrestlers at the duals, Ravenna went 0-5, including a 47-25 loss to Chippewa.