COLUMBUS — Paths to a state title do not often come as unobstructed as they did this postseason for two area wrestlers.
Central Catholic’s Alex Mossing and Oak Harbor’s Luke Cramer crushed their respective fields at sectionals, districts, and again at state, encountering nothing resembling a cliffhanger along the way to their first crowns.Wauseon’s Zane Krall experienced a greater struggle, but so what? His title at 220 pounds, which came after he erased an early deficit to prevail in overtime, counts the same.
In total, area Division II grapplers won three matches and lost three matches in Saturday’s final round at the Schottenstein Center. Coming up short were Napoleon freshman Seth Beard, who fell in the ultimate tiebreaker at 106 pounds; Bryan’s Shelden Struble, whose 145-pound bout was destined for overtime before the senior gave up two points late; and Wauseon’s Aaron Schuette, who was pinned quickly by the No. 1 wrestler in the country.
Mossing did not surrender a takedown in the postseason, a near foolproof plan for a championship that reached fruition in an 8-1 win at 138 pounds over Akron St. Vincent St. Mary’s Ryan Skonieczny. This rout was a departure from three earlier meetings with Skonieczny, all won by Mossing but by never more than two points.
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The Irish junior secured a takedown with 12 seconds remaining in the first period to go ahead 2-0, and added two more scores in the second and third periods. Mossing closed his junior season with a 38-4 mark.
“I don’t think he was ready for me to come at him the way I did,” said Mossing, a three-time place winner who improved his state tournament record to 11-3. “Normally I wrestle a pretty laid back style and wait for them to come at me. I really made a point to go after him. I might have surprised him.”
Irish coach Tony Guerra said Mossing, the school’s second state champion, wrestled “like I’ve never seen him before.”
Cramer was equally as impressive at 170 pounds, blazing through preliminary action before pummeling Clarksville Clinton-Massie’s Wyatt Running 16-4. Cramer, the 22nd state champion for Oak Harbor, was up 6-2 after the first period and 11-2 after the second. He finished 42-5, with three of his defeats coming in the opening weekend of the season at the toughest tournament in the nation.
“I’ve been wrestling great the last couple of weeks,” said Cramer, who is up 30 pounds from his junior season when he finished fourth. “I knew there couldn’t really be anyone that could stop me.”
Wauseon finished sixth with 61 points, and Oak Harbor was seventh with 44 points. St. Paris Graham captured its 13th title in a row, amassing 155.5 points to trump runner-up Perry with 87.5.
Wauseon’s Krall, making his second straight finals appearance, knotted the score at 3-3 with 37 seconds to go in regulation after Steubenville’s Greg Moray fled the match and was penalized one point amid a Krall scoring opportunity. Krall capitalized 22 seconds into overtime, landing the winning takedown off of a bad shot taken by the previously unbeaten Moray.
“As soon as overtime came I knew he was tired,” Krall said. “I was heavy on his head and I knew I could capitalize.”
Krall, who ends his senior season at 42-3, is Wauseon’s first state champion since 1984. His teammate’s night was grim, as St. Paris Graham phenom Bo Jordan spladled Schuette and recorded the fall just 40 seconds into their 160-pound match. Jordan, a four-time state champion, lost just one match in his career.
“The pressure was on him,” Schuette said. “I was hoping to get the first takedown and keep the pressure on him and make him worry about it.”
Bryan’s Stuble gave up a reversal with two seconds to go in his bout with Warren Howland’s Gabe Stark and fell 4-2.
Napoleon’s Beard could not escape the grasp of fellow freshman Tyler Warner of Uhrichsville Claymont on three occassions — in the third period, in the tiebreaker, or in the ultimate tiebreaker — and lost 2-1.
“Claymont, they work a lot on their cradles, and when he got my ankle hooked I really couldn’t get that out,” Beard said. “That’s why I had such a hard time getting out.”
Beard and Warner were both penalized a point for stalling, to which Beard said, “I don’t think I was stalling, and I don’t think he was stalling.”
Also placing in D-II were: Eastwood’s Randy Caris (third, 170), Wauseon’s Wade Hodges (fourth, 126), and Oak Harbor’s Jared Chambers (fifth, 152) and T.J. Lawrence (eighth, 285).
Contact Ryan Autullo at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @AutulloBlade.