COLUMBUS — Central Catholic and Clay appeared at the state dual team wrestling tournament for the second year in a row.
And both shared the same goal — go further in the tournament than the year before.
Unfortunately, neither pulled off the feat on Saturday at Ohio State’s St. John Arena.
Central Catholic advanced to the Division II state semifinal round for the second straight year, while Clay experienced a Division I quarterfinal exit for the second year in a row.
The Irish posted a 37-27 victory over Lexington in the quarterfinals before falling to Graham Local 42-25 in a semfinal clash. Clay's day was cut short by defending D-I state champion Lakewood St. Edward, which won the quarterfinal meeting with a 35-20 outcome.
"We had confidence in every guy to go out there and try to win as many matches as we could, and I think that's exactly what happened," Central coach Antonio Guerra said following the Irish's loss to Graham Local. "They got more bonus points than us, but we won seven matches and they won seven matches."
The Irish's hopes of advancing to the finals may have been thwarted even before arriving in Columbus. They were without 120-pounder Rosendo Beltran, who hasn't been able to wrestle due to sickness. They lost the 120-pound match due to forfeit.
Josh Venia (106), Nate Hagan (132), Alex Mossing (152), Lucas Beauch (160), Colin Kaucher (182), Michael Gregory (220), and JQuan Fisher (285) were all victorious in their semifinal matches for Central.
Fisher registered the Irish's only pin in the semifinals, needing only 19 seconds to put Dylan Nave on his back. Gregory scored a major decision 9-1 victory over Brandon Hays.
Alex Mossing and Hagan recorded pins for Central during the quarterfinal victory over Lexington. Mossing's match with A.J. Parr lasted 1:09, while Hagan needed 1:59 to pin Jacob Dalton. Besides losing the 120-pound match by forfeit, Central's Jordan Rodriguez (113), Billy Corley (126), Josh Mossing (138), Richard Jackson (145), Jared Fann (170) and Esteban Nino (195) suffered semifinal defeats by pin.
"We wrestled tough all day," Mossing said. "We were trying to get as far as we could, but wrestling tough was more important than how far we made it.
"We wrestled really great today. Everybody put in a 100-percent effort and everybody did their part."
"I had a good day, and it made it even better that the team had a good day too," he said.
Clay put up a strong fight against St. Edward, but Clay coach Ralph Cubberly had hoped they would hang around longer.
"It's nice to get down here but we want to get over that hump and we want to win a match," Cubberly said. "We've got to keep working a little harder and try to get back next year and do a little bit better."
Evan True (113), Richie Screptock (132), Gavin Nelson (138), Nick Stencel (160), and Antonio Zapata (285) scored victories for Clay.
Stencel registered Clay's lone pin when he put Adam Wukie on his back at the 3:12 mark of their match.
True outlasted Cade Hepner to claim a 6-1 decision. Screptock prevailed with a major decision over Hunter Ladnier before Nelson followed with a 9-1 major decision win of his own over Jack Conway.
Clay suffered four straight losses before Zapata fought off Kevin Ward to collect a 6- 2 victory to close out the match.
Cubberly felt they didn't wrestle quite up to their potential.
"I think it was more along the lines of the tradition of the team we wrestled," Cubberly said. "I think a little bit of the tradition is what got us."
Nick Henneman (106), Aaron Henneman (120), Jared Davis (126), Zach Brown (145), Andy Howard (152), Andrew Dickens (170), Matt Stencel (182), Kevin Witt (195), and Tyler Koester (220) suffered losses.
"We had a chance to beat them," said Stencel, who fell 3-1 to Jared Campbell. "We had a chance more than ever before and we kind of let them have it.
"It was hard for me because I was giving every thing I had, but I just couldn't finish."