High school wrestling: Perry prevails in loaded triangular with Aurora, Highland

Brad Bournival
For the Beacon Journal
Highland's Dominic Konopka, right, is flipped by Aurora's Dylan Fishback during their 195 pound match, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Aurora, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

AURORA — If idle hands make fretful minds, then the Perry, Aurora and Highland wrestling programs are ahead of the game.

Although many teams have shut down for the regular season to prepare for sectionals in a little over two weeks, the three schools decided to face each other in a hammer of a triangular on February 11.

The Panthers came out the big winners with a 40-21 victory over the Hornets and a 42-23 triumph over the Greenmen.

Aurora's Codie Cuerbo, right, works to takedown Massillon Perry's Austin McBurney during their 106 pound match, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Aurora, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Aurora knocked off Highland 38-33 in a match that had incredible twists and turns.

“I think it’s good, especially seeing Highland because they’ll be in our district,” Perry coach Brent McBurney said. “They’re a tough team and this is good confidence down the stretch. We had a good three weeks with competition and now we’re starting to see with our tough schedule it will pay off in the end.

“It’s like our 160-pound match with Highland [Sam Thompson lost 6-0 to James Scavuzzo]. We’ve never seen that kid before. That could be a go-to match at district. It’s good to get them on film.”

That was the feeling of the night at a triangular that included Aurora (12-7), projected to finish third in the Division II state tournament, and Perry (15-6), picked to finish eighth in Division I.

Add to that the fact the triangular featured 32 ranked individuals and had three projected state finalists, with one of them being Aurora’s Dylan Fishback, who is slated to win the 195-pound weight class.

Massillon Perry's Drew Dulcie, right, takes down Aurora's Connor Tschudy during their 126 pound match, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Aurora, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Although no one likes to lose any match, even Perry’s Austin McBurney, who is picked to finish fourth, didn’t sweat a 7-4 loss to Aurora’s Codie Cuerbo, who is projected second.

“We get some good matches and get ready for the postseason,” Austin McBurney said. “Whatever happens happens, and you go back and work on it and get ready for sectional. We can get a lot better and we’ll see some guys we’ll see in the postseason.”

Cuerbo felt the same way after knocking off two ranked wrestlers — he also beat No. 18 Ayden Boucher of Highland.

“I feel like a lot of us are more prepared than I was before,” Cuerbo said. “It felt good to get those tests before the postseason. This was really big knowing I could push these kids and score as many points as I could. It shows I’m ready for the postseason and everything that comes with that.”

Fishback, who picked up two pins, saw nothing but positives coming out of a night with one district/state-quality match after another.

“I know most teams didn’t wrestle this week, but I can tell our team as a whole as wrestled better so far in every match,” he said. “We faced two good teams this week, and that should help us up our level going into sectional. We’re wrestling better each time we go out.”

Highland (25-7) saw big steps as well even though it gave up 12 points in forfeits to Aurora and 18 points in forfeits to Perry.

The Hornets have yet to field their full team and had state alternate Joey Scally missing and projected state placer Corey Haney out.

With both expected back by the Brecksville Sectional in two weeks, coach Tim Maxworthy is very much looking forward to what Highland will look like when it matters most.

“It’s certainly something we’ve looked forward to all year,” Maxworthy said. “Hopefully, everything comes together at the right time and things go the way they’re supposed to or at least the way we want them to.”