Northern Lakes League champion Perrysburg got within four points of Clay early in the finals of the Division I sectional wrestling tournament Saturday night, but that was as close as the Yellow Jackets could get to the host Eagles, who boasted seven individual champions en route to the team championship.
Fifth-ranked Clay, winner of two straight Three Rivers Athletic Conference titles and the final three City League championships before that, posted 276 team points to outlast Perrysburg (257.5) for its sixth consecutive sectional crown.
Anthony Wayne was third at 141 points, and St. John’s Jesuit placed fourth at 126.5.
“It was a team effort,” Clay coach Ralph Cubberly said. “Everybody contributed. We had 13 guys in the tournament, and 13 are moving on to district.
“It took that combined effort because Perrysburg wrestled real well. Coach [Perrysburg’s Sam] Cotterman fed them their Wheaties this weekend. Seven champions is more than what we thought we could get.”
The Eagles, who had beaten Perrysburg Jan. 30 in a regional semifinal on the way to reaching the Feb. 9 D-I state team tournament, got individual championships from seniors Brian Henneman, Damon Dominique, and Eddie Silva, juniors Jared Davis, Gavin Nelson, and Nick Stencel, and sophomore Richie Screptock.
PHOTO GALLERY: Wrestling sectionals: Division I at Clay
Clay also sent six other wrestlers to next Saturday’s district tournament at Cleveland State University. The top four wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes qualify for district competition.
Perrysburg claimed four individual titles, had five runners-up, and two third-place finishers to send 11 wrestlers to district.
“This is the second time now that we’ve been close to them and couldn’t get it done in that final round,” Cotterman said. “I’m sure the kids are disappointed, but we know next week’s going to be the same thing with even tougher competition.
“We’ve got to win more of those nail-biter matches. Hopefully the kids will respond and come back next week ready to wrestle.”
Just eight points apart entering the finals, Clay and Perrysburg each sent nine wrestlers to championship matches. Five of those finals were head-to-head.
The Yellow Jackets drew closer (236.5-232.5) immediately when freshman Mario Guillen (26-6 record) pinned Southview’s Tanner Ruiz at 5 minutes, 41 seconds of their 106-pound final.
Clay answered with a 2-1 decision by Davis (29-9) over Anthony Wayne’s Vince Schneider at 113 pounds, and Screptock (44-4) followed by pinning AW’s Christian Yates at 3:09 of the 120-pound title match.
“I had to get a pin because I knew it was going to be a close team match,” Screptock said. “We needed all of those extra bonus points.
“We performed pretty well, and I hope this transfers over to districts and we compete just as well there.”
Henneman (38-8) took an 11-2 major decision over Whitmer’s James Wingate in the 126 match, setting up the first head-to-head battle with Perrysburg in a final at 132. Nelson (41-8) made it four Clay wins in a row with an 8-1 decision over the Jackets’ Alec Herhold.
In the 138 final, Maumee sophomore Anthony Arroyo (26-8) took a 12-10 decision over Whitmer’s Logan Cluckey, breaking up the string of titles won by the tournament’s top two teams.
The second interruption came when Arroyo’s cousin, Maumee senior Johnny Arroyo (29-5), pinned Perrysburg’s Brady Clayton at 5:00 of the 195-pound final.
The only other title not won by Clay or Perrysburg came at 285 pounds, where Whitmer senior Marquise Moore stayed unbeaten (29-0) with a 3-0 decision over Perrysburg’s Cale Bonner.
Perrysburg senior Ryan Roth (32-4) pinned AW’s Collin Keil at 2:49 of the 145-pound title match before Dominique and Jackets’ junior J.P.Newton staged the most dramatic match of the finals.
Tied at 3 after three periods, their 152-pound battle went to overtime. With time winding down in the one-minute period, Newton was on the brink of scoring a winning takedown. Instead, Dominique (28-6) avoided defeat by spinning out of trouble, reversing Newton, and pinning him at 6:58.
“I just thought to myself, ‘There’s no option to lose,’ ” Dominique said. “He shot before me. I planned on shooting seconds before that, but my mind went blank. My only option was to scramble. When I did, I ended up on top I almost got too excited with that takedown and jumped up. But I wanted that pin so bad.”
Stencel (38-9) followed with a 19-4 technical fall over Southview’s Jake Sowders in the 160 final. Stencel’s freshman brother, Matt Stencel, did not fare as well in the 170-pound title match, as Perrysburg junior Rocco Caywood (30-3) pinned him in 59 seconds.
At 182, Eddie Silva (36-7) clinched the title for the Eagles by cruising to a 10-1 major decision over Perrysburg’s Kadin Llewellyn.
“We’re pretty excited to get that sixth straight sectional, especially for me as a senior,” Silva said. “Now we want to move on to districts and see what we can do there. I feel like we can get a decent amount of our guys to state. I want to get to state and place at least in the top four.”
Having already clinched the title made it inconsequential that Eagles senior 220-pounder Jarred Gray was forced by injury to forfeit his match against Yellow Jackets’ junior Mark Delas (19-10). Gray had pinned Delas in Clay’s regional semifinal team tournament win over Perrysburg.
Contact Steve Junga at: email@example.com, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter@JungaBlade.