CVCA's Snider dances to the title at Division II state wrestling
SPARTA — Woodridge and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy each had plenty to celebrate at the Division II state tournament at Marengo Highland High School.
No one was celebrating more than a bespeckled, dancing 220-pounder from CVCA
Sophomore Kyle Snider became the 26th state champions in CVCA history, wining the Division II 220-pound title with an 8-2 decision over St. Vincent-St. Mary's Bryson Getz Sunday.
Snider led the Royals to a seventh-place finish in the Division II team race with 46 points, while Woodridge tied Sandusky for 40th place with 11 points. St. Paris Graham won the Division II title with 181.5 points.
"It feels amazing," Snider said. "It's something I've been working on for so long."
CVCA coach Dave Bergen noted, not only did Snider finish the season undefeated at 44-0, but he did not give up a single "offensive" point this season, meaning all the points scored on him came via escape.
"I'm not surprised at all about this," Bergen said. "I'm proud of the person he is. He went out and put together a great tournament."
Snider had scored seven first-period pins prior to the state tournament. Bergen laughed at the suggestion Snider was slacking at states, as he had to wrestle three full matches.
"At this stage, I'll take any wins that we get," Bergen said.
On Saturday, Snider opened with a pin in 2:28 over London's Antonio Burns, followed by a 9-2 win over Bay's Mason Cover to secure a trip to the semifinals and his first All-Ohio spot.
On Sunday, Snider won his semifinal with a 6-0 decision over Indian Creek's Elijah Llewellyn.
"He's a good wrestler," Snider said of Llewellyn. "It was just all about keeping active. It doesn't feel real right now [that I'm going for the title]."
Snider's final pitted him against a familiar foe, as he had beaten Getz 4-2 earlier this season.
"He's wrestled a good tournament so far," Bergen said after the semifinal. "He's pretty much controlled everything. Last time, he wasn't 100 percent when he wrestled Getz. He's 100 percent now, so will see what happens."
What happened was a dominant performance by Snider.
A blast double and a quick two-point nearfall allowed Snider to take an early 4-0 lead. Getz escaped, but Snider grabbed a takedown at the edge to lead 6-1 after one period.
Getz escaped to start the second period, but Snider got in on a reshot and led 8-2 after periods. Both wrestlers were called for stalling in the third period, but Snider was never in danger.
"I just took what he was giving me," Snider said. "We did a lot of counter-attack drills in practice, so I was ready for him. Getz is a great wrestler."
Bergen noted the rivalry between Snider and Getz is only beginning, given that both are only sophomores.
The Royals had hoped senior 160-pounder Austin Pownall also could push for the title, but he finished in fifth place.
Things went well on Saturday for Pownall, as he opened pinning Wauseon's Zaidan Kessler in 46 seconds and beating East Liverpool's Eric Williams 6-0 to reach the semifinals.
However, in the semifinal, Pownall was unable to get his offense going against Ontario's Ethan Turnbaugh and lost 7-1. He then lost a 4-0 decision to Sheridan's Jordan Barnett in the consolation semifinal.
Pownall was able to salvage fifth place wit ha 2-1 win over Bellevue's Max Ray.
"He's a blue chip guy in every way," Bergen said. "He competed as a wrestler as well as anyone could. I'm wildly proud of everything Austin has done."
Also taking fifth place for CVCA was sophomore 120-pounder Anthony Perez, despite being hit with a brutal draw in his first trip to states.
Perez's first round opponent was STVM's Dierre Clayton, who would eventually win the 120-pound title. Clayton defeated Perez 7-0.
Perez rebounded well in the consolation bracket, getting major decisions over St. Francis DeSales Owen Eagan (13-2) and Indian Valley's Isaac Meese (12-3) to claim his All-Ohio spot. He then beat Perry's Brock Christian 6-3 to reach the consolation semifinals.
Perez lost his consolation semifinal bout 7-3 to Batavia's Brandon Sauter, but took fifth place with a 2-1 win over Copley's Zane Van Voorhis.
"I want guys to finish well and we did," Bergen said. "I want them to find girt to go forward. [Perez] knows what he needs to do now to win at this level."
CVCA had two wrestlers fall short of All-Ohio honors, including senior 152-pounder Caden Scarbrough. Scarbrough went 1-2 at states, as he was eliminated with a 7-0 loss to Steubenville's Tyler Muldrew.
Sophomore 113-pounder Braden Hahlen finished 0-2 at states, but Bergen noted Hahlen did well to to advance to the tournament and the experience would serve him well.
"His story would fill a couple book," Bergen said.
Meanwhile, Woodridge saw junior heavyweight Alistair Larson earn his first All-Ohio spot.
Things started poorly for Larson. He did everything right in his opening match against Sheridan Logan Morris until Morris fell on top of him, scoring in a pin in 3:05.
True to form, Larson responded with a pin 44 seconds over Wilmington's Brett Brooks in the consolations, then secured his All-Ohio spot wit ha 7-3 win over Napoleon's Demetrius Hernandez.
"He's got some tools, but sometimes he doesn't use them," said Woodridge coach Mike Massey. "In that match, he used all of them. He's just an athlete. Now, we're looking to get third."
On Sunday, Larson started well with a 3-2 win over Louisville's Cameron Brazek to the reach the consolation semifinals.
However, Larson dealt with Graham's Nolan Neves in the consolation semifinal and was pinned in 59 seconds.
Larson also lost his fifth-place match, getting pinned in 1:15 by Ashland's Jake Bever, but Massey refused to be down on his heavyweight.
"This is what Alistair needed," Massey said. "He needed to wrestle these type of matches. The experience will only help him, so next year will be a bit of a "been there, done that' situation. We're not going to be disappointed with sixth in Ohio. We're going to celebrate it."
Woodridge senior 126-pounder Nate Demangeont endured a bit of a weird tournament.
Demangeont got off to a rough start, as he was pinned in 58 seconds by Tri-Valley Joseph Eckelberry.
However, Demangeont then got a forfeit win in the consolations when Waynesville's Matt Ellis was unable to wrestle due to injury.
Needing a win to earn All-Ohio honors, Demangeont lost an 11-3 major decision to Medina Buckeye's Eddie Pinc.
While he wished his captain could have earned an All-Ohio spot, Massey noted Demangeont's future is bright on and off the mat.
"We're proud of Nate. He's done so much for the program," Massey said. "He's stayed of his himself, even when last year's tournament got cancelled. Nate Demangeont is going to be just fine."