Stow's Reed and Gregory reach first state wrestling tournament
Getting more than one wrestler to the state tournament has been an elusive goal for Stow-Munroe Falls wrestling much of the last decade.
Thanks to a pair of great performances from two of the Bulldogs' young guns last weekend, that drought it over.
Junior 152-pound JR Reed and sophomore 220-pounder Teddy Gregory each advanced to states March 6 via the Division I district tournament at North Canton Hoover. The top four placers in each weight class at Hoover advanced to state tournament.
Stow finished 12th in the team race at Hoover with 56 points. Brecksville-Broadview Heights won the team title with 241 points.
"It was a good tournament for us," said Stow coach Tyler Buckwalter. "Realistically, we could have gotten a couple kids out, but it was a very tough tournament. Going into the weekend, I thought we could do a lot of things. Overall it was good for us."
Reed ended up Stow's top finisher, taking third place at 152 pounds — but he had to do it the hard way.
"He actually lost his first match against a tough opponent," Buckwalter said. "He won five straight matches to come back and get third."
After losing his opener 8-4 to Austintown-Fitch's Tyler Linton, Reed pinned Lakeside's Luis Guevara in 22 seconds, stuck Highland's Tyler Hanney in 2:06 and edged Walsh Jesuit's Zach Wiseman 3-2 to get to the consolation semifinals.
In the consolation semifinals, Reed faced a rematch with Linton, but was unfazed.
"I knew I could beat him if I didn't wrestle like an idiot," Reed said. "I knew, even after the first match, I was better than him."
Reed proved that sentiment by winning the rematch 5-4 to earn his first state berth.
The third-place match for Reed presented a unique challenge as he faced Kenston's Maison Benz — a wrestler who has only one full arm. Reed took third place with a 14-3 major decision.
"It was a kind of weird wrestling against him," Reed said. "I just shoot from outside and he didn't have any defense for it."
"Maison had a great tournament. JR wrestled a great match," Buckwalter said. "That's an important win for him, setting him up in a third-place spot."
Meanwhile, Gregory was the lone Bulldog to reach the semifinals, where he had to deal with Massillon Perry's Logan Shephard.
"I knew he was good," Gregory said. "I was going to go out there and do my best and whatever happens, happens."
Gregory wasn't blown away, but he did lose 5-1.
In the consolation semifinal, Gregory faced Canton McKinley's Emmanuel Powell.
"The biggest thing is just letting the previous match go," Buckwalter said. "There can't be any let downs. He wrestled a very solid match. He worked a single-leg he had been working on in practice."
A 5-2 win gave Gregory his first state berth and a trip to the third-place match. In the third-place match, however, Gregory suffered a last-second pin (4:59) against Hoover's Ryan Prusinowski and settled for fourth place.
"The ultimate goal is to place at states," Gregory said. "We'll see what happens."
Stow had two other wrestlers reach the consolation semifinals, but did not make it through to states.
Senior 170-pounder Ty Bukowski nearly duplicated Reed's path, as he lost his first match, but rebounded with three wins.
In the consolation semifinal, however, Bukowski was pinned in 2:32 by Brecksville's Luke Vanadia. He then saw his high school career end by getting pinned by Boardman's Sean O'Horo in 3:28 and taking sixth place.
"Ty really had a great tournament," Bukowski said. "I'm proud of the way he wrestled. He's done a great job helping build up the program."
Meanwhile, junior 182-pounder Will Edmonson won his opening bout before running into eventual champ Sal Perrine of Nordonia in the quarterfinals.
Edmonson came back with two wins, but suffered a heartbreaker in the consolation semifinals, losing 3-2 to Brecksville's Anthony Rizzo.
Edmonson had to settle for sixth place as well, as he was pinning 2:28 by Highland's Lukas Stiles.
"Those matches are some of the best matches in the tournament," Buckwalter said of the consolation semifinal. "Obviously, he was devastated after that match. As far as he come from the wrestler he was last year to the wrestler he was at the end of this year, he made huge strides. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do next year.
At 138 pounds, junior Vince Randall had to deal with a brutal draw and bracket. He finished 2-2 and off the podium.
Sophomore 120-pounder Micah Bentley went 1-2 at Hoover, while senior 145-pounder Brayden Cowger and senior 195-pounder Zach DiGiammarino each went 0-2.
Regarding Reed and Gregory's prospects for earning All-Ohio honors, Buckwalter believes both can reach the podium.
"I think they're both in a really good spot," Buckwalter said. "I think they both can do some damage."
The Division I state wrestling tournament was set to begin Saturday at Hilliard Darby High School.