High school wrestling: Stow dominates Walsh Jesuit and Solon in tri-meet
CUYAHOGA FALLS — Summit County wrestling has seen a lot of big moments draped in maroon and gold.
Walsh Jesuit has provided most of those moments, and Dave Mariola Jr. knows it's his job to bring back that glory to the Warriors.
When Walsh hosted a tri-meet Saturday with Stow-Munroe Falls and Solon, however, it was the other squad in maroon and gold that walked away happy.
After Stow beat Solon 54-22 and Walsh rallied to beat the Comets 36-30, the Bulldogs (8-1) pulled off a dominant 61-12 win over the Warriors (10-8).
Bulldogs coach Tyler Buckwalter loved the aggression his team showed in both matches.
"The guys went after bonus points hard today," he said. "It was nice to see them realize that pins were important. It was good to be able to go out and just wrestle."
Mariola noted his team was hobbled by injury and illness, as returning state qualifier Dyvaire "Boots" VanDyke was sidelined with a minor knee injury.
"I thought that everyone who should win won and everyone who should lose lost," Mariola said. "Stow's had a good program for years. I've only been here two years now, so let's see what happens in about eight years.
"I think my lightweights didn't look good. They looked a bit out of shape. I would rather lose here than lose at sectionals, districts and states. The most important thing is we need to get healthy."
Both teams' matches against Solon followed a similar pattern: After the Comets lightweights gave Solon a strong start, things turned around in the middle of the lineup.
Stow trailed 22-15 early until junior 138-pounder Vince Randall scored a pin in 4:46 over Solon's Michael Frenk. That launched a six-bout winning streak — five by pin or forfeit — for Stow to close out the match.
Stow benefited from having the most complete lineup at the tri-meet, and got three forfeit wins over Solon and five over Walsh while giving one back at 106 pounds.
In its match with Solon, Walsh trailed 24-0 after 132 pounds before the Warriors' seniors sparked a comeback on their Senior Day.
First, Walsh 145-pounder Ronnie Romanini stopped the slide by pinning Frenk. Then, 152-pounder Chase Henderson pinned Andrew Bican in 3:44. Finally, 160-pounder Zach Wiseman stuck Solon's Drake Wiggins in 1:13.
Inspired by the seniors, Walsh also got pins from 160-pounder Andrew Beskur in 42 seconds and 170-pounder Brock Sherman in 2:40 to beat the Comets.
However, Walsh's seniors faltered against Stow.
Henderson forfeited his match to Stow 145-pounder Brayden Cowger, as Mariola noted Henderson has been so sick, he had been unable to practice the previous three days.
"He wanted to be here for Senior Day and he did well in his match," Mariola said. "We didn't want to push him."
Stow ended up winning two key bouts in the match.
After Romanini took an early 4-1 lead at 138 pounds, Randall caught him in a cradle in the second period and pinned him in 3:09.
"We've worked hard with Vince to stay focused," Buckwalter said. "Last year, if he would have given up two early takedowns, he might have fallen apart. He kept his head, worked his offense and got to his cradle."
At 152 pounds, Stow's JR Reed got an early takedown and then rode Wiseman out to score a 3-1 over the former Bulldog.
"It was good for him to face a tough kid like Zach," Buckwalter said. "JR has been working hard."
The Bulldogs were buzzing after the next two bouts. At 160 pounds, Stow's JT Hill threw Beskur on his back in the final 20 seconds and pinned him in 5:51.
Then, at 170 pounds, Ty Bukowski fought off his back in the third period against Sherman and scored a pin in sudden victory (6:28).
Stow also got two wins from 120-pounder Micah Bentley and a 14-5 major decision from 182-pounder Will Edmonson over Walsh's Jack Romanini.
Walsh's only two wins in wrestled bouts against Stow came in a 5-3 decision by 113-pounder Nolan Frye over Robert Davis and a 10-3 decision by Brian Crevar over the Bulldogs' Chase Mygrants.
As for the Comets, Solon got two wins from 106-pounder Kevin Grunewald (forfeit, pin), 113-pounder Nick Molchak (pin, decision) and 120-pounder Nick Gerome (technical fall, decision), but didn't see much success elsewhere.
"It's tough sometimes," Comets coach Audie Atienza said. "We always learning and getting better, but the bottom line is we've got to start beating kids that we're not supposed to beat. Everything is hard in this sport. Stow and Walsh both have good kids throughout their lineup."