Cloverleaf and Woodridge clash as MAC wrestling returns

Michael Leonard
Akron Beacon Journal

RAVENNA — Wrestling coaches' mindsets have changed for the rest of the 2021 season, as the bulk of their schedules will be dual meets instead of tournaments.

In dual meets, the rule is simple: Having a full team leads to success.

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Cloverleaf and Woodridge can field nearly full squads; Ravenna and Coventry can not.

Those realities were reflected when the four teams got together for a Metro Athletic Conference double dual meet at Ravenna's James A. Whittaker Field House Thursday.

Cloverleaf edged Woodridge 36-34 in a competitive match, and Ravenna scored a 36-30 win over Coventry, though all of Ravenna's wins came via forfeit.

The two larger squads dominated the second round, as Woodridge beat Coventry 70-4 and Cloverleaf beat Ravenna 77-6.

Cloverleaf coach Mark Mole watched his team improve to 7-0, 2-0 in the MAC. He knew the Colts were in for a dogfight with the Bulldogs.

"Woodridge is always tough. They always have a full squad and wrestle for six minutes," Mole said. "We knew it was going to come down to getting bonus points. It was a lot of fun."

The match went 7-7 in terms of individual bouts.

Cloverleaf benefited from the forfeit win at 220 pounds and got pins from 113-pounder Kane Surrarrer in 3:05, 145-pounder Josh Dunn in 2:50 and 195-pounder Lakota Hagenbaugh.

Colt star Cade Cass scored a 9-1 major decision over Woodridge's Luke Radwany, but Mole said some of his wrestlers who lost also contributed to the win.

"When you're in a dual meet, being able to fight off your back is huge," Mole said. "That was the epitome of team win."

An example of this came at 126 pounds, when Woodridge state qualifier Nate Demangeont dominated Cloverleaf's Hayden Jarvis, but could not get the pin. Demangeont settled for an 18-7 major decision.

Woodridge coach Mike Massey said his team could benefit from better dual-meet sense.

"We've got to learn in dual meets, when you have a chance for a pin, you've got to take it," Massey said. "Giving up a pin is devastating in duals meets. This isn't a tournament where you can just win by one point to advance."

Against Cloverleaf, Woodridge got pins from debuting freshman 160-pounder Steven Duffy in 1:37, 182-pounder Jason Thompson in 1:07 and heavyweight state qualifier Alistair Larson in 41 seconds.

Woodridge (3-4) also won the most entertaining bout of the night.

At 106 pounds, Woodridge's Abdul Aziz Vokhidov fought off his back to score three third-period takedowns on Cloverleaf's Sean Barker and win 10-7.

A native of Uzbekistan, Vokhidov has become a solid lead-off man, according to Massey.

"I love that kid," Massey said. "He's such a tough kid. He's got a tough cut down every week to get to 106 [pounds], but he's determined to do it, because his best friend is at 113."

It was a forgettable night for the Ravens (1-7), who scored only one win in a wrestled bout.

"We are what we are," Damsa said. "What angers me is we continue to make the same mistakes we did a couple of weeks ago."

Ravenna 160-pound state qualifier Shane Michael pinned Cloverleaf's Vova Herdman in 1:59. However, Michael also was pinned in 3:59 by Coventry's Colby Simon, as Simon avenged a lost to Michael last year.

"Shane is in a little bit of a rut right now," Damsa said. "The funny thing is, he was in the exact same place last year. We need to get better. There's no doubt about that."

With only five wrestlers available, Coventry coach Mark Skonieczny knows the Comets (0-7) are in for a long season.

Skonieczny said he had something close to a full lineup at the outset of the season, but COVID-19 concerns forced many of his wrestlers to withdraw.

Simon was the bright spot for Coventry, as he was the Comets' lone double winner. Along with the win over Michael, he scored a 14-1 major decision over Woodridge's Anthony Lahoski.

Coventry also had 145-pounder Kody Arntz pin Ravenna's Sean Loucks in 5:27.