COLUMBUS — Clay's Richie Screptock and Matt Stencel are each one win shy of becoming a state wrestling champions.
Screptock, a junior, topped Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit's Nolan Whitely 7-2 in a 132-pound championship semifinal Friday at Value City Arena.
Screptock (46-9) made it to the state semifinals a year ago and was determined to get past that point this year.
"This is pretty big for me right now," Screptock said. "I've never been to the finals. It's just a rush to make it to the finals, finally."
PHOTO GALLERY: Wrestling Day 2
Screptock came out being the aggressor in his match with Whitely. He didn't want to wait too late to make his move. He wanted to score early and keep the pressure on his opponent. His strategy paid off.
"I didn't want to lose in the semis like I did last year," Screptock said. "I felt like I had to get a little bit farther.
"The goal is to win it all, but the secondary goal was to make it to the finals."
Stencel, a sophomore, will also compete for a state championship at 182.
Stencel (39-5) earned a 7-3 decision over Mount Vernon's Matthew Lybarger.
Fremont Ross senior Trey Grine (39-1) will contend for the 145 title after pulling out an impressive 12-6 decision over Uniontown Lake's Zac Carson.
Perrysburg's J.P. Newton came up short of earning a spot in the finals after he was dealt a loss to Massillon Perry's Casey Sparkman in a 152-pound semfinals contest. Sparkman pulled out a 3-1 decision.
"We both knew each others styles and knew what each other was trying to do," Newton said.
Not being able to contend for a state championship will not keep Newton from coming out and giving his all in the consolation bracket.
"I just want to come back and take third," Newton said.
In consolation quarterfinals, Perrysburg's 113-pounder Mario Guillen pulled off a 17-1 tech. fall win over Green's Chris Doyle. Moises Guillen fell 4-2 to Brunswick's Josh Heil in a 120-pound match.
Cale Bonner (285) of Perrysburg earned a 3-0 decision over Ashville Teays Valley's C.J. Kinzer.
Clay's Gavin Nelson (138) pulled out a 3-1 win over Madison's Ryan Montgomery.
— Donald Emmons