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COLUMBUS — Delta did it again.
The defending Division III state wrestling team dual meet champion collected another title by scoring a 40-26 come-from-behind victory over Dayton Christian on Saturday at Ohio State’s St. John Arena.
The Panthers trailed 23-11 in the match before 160-pound senior Tyler Fahrer began a string of five straight wins by a pin for Delta. Todd Miller (170), Ryan Patchin (182), Mark Francis (195), and Devon Richards (220) followed Fahrer's lead, and the rest was repeat history for the Panthers.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for more photos from the finals
"I knew I had to do something, and I knew I had to get bonus points, so I just went out there and did my thing and got a pin," Fahrer said, regarding his pin of Dayton Christian's George Hall at the 1:14 mark of their match.
The Panthers, who put on Back 2 Back Dual State Champs shirts when it was clear they’d won, became the only repeat state dual team champion with the win over Dayton Christian. Massillon Perry claimed its first state dual team title by defeating Brecksville 48-9 in the D-I final and Graham Local topped Claymont 35-24 to win the D-II title.
"We're real proud of our big guys for taking care of their business," Delta coach Anthony Carrizales said, referring to the five Panthers that recorded the match-deciding pins. "We figured on our big guys being able to rally at the end. To be able to pound out those pins, you always hope, but we weren't necessarily counting on that."
Miller pinned Jonathan Carr with 19 seconds remaining in their 170-pound match. He led 9-2 and was well on his way to a win when he put Carr on his back and tied the score at 23.
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"This is awesome because last year was the first year to do it and to do it again this year as a senior, is really cool and a good way to end my senior year," Miller said.
The Panthers made it look like a leisurely stroll through the park during the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.
The Panthers opened the day with a 70-8 thumping of Blanchester in the quarterfinals and followed that with a 65-6 rout of Massillon Tuslaw in a semifinal.
Eight Panthers entered the final against Dayton Christian having already scored two pins earlier in the day.
However, winning didn't come so easily early on against Dayton Christian.
Delta's Drew Mattin, who scored a pin in the quarterfinal and semifinal, was dealt a roadblock in the finals when Hunter Bray won the 106-pound match with a 6-0 decision.
Delta's individual state champion Jake Spiess had to go the distance against Christian Clary in order to score a 6-0 decision.
Dayton Christian's Michael May pulled off perhaps the upset of the day by pinning Delta's Kyle Keller at the 3:10 mark. Keller, an individual state champion, was comfortably ahead 8-1 when an attempt to pin May backfired and the referee ruled May had reversed the move for the pin. Keller was stunned by the call and left the mat upset about the ruling.
"I wasn't happy with it and I thought it was a little bit quick," Carrizales said. "I would rather him have this happen now than at the individual state tournament.
"As far as I'm concerned, he's the better wrestler in that match. He was winning, and he was winning for a reason."
The Panthers responded with back-to-back major decision victories by Noah Mattin (126) and Dustin Marteney (132) to regain a 11-9 lead in the match. Mattin dominated Josh Clary for a 16-7 win and Marteney dealt Seth Bell a 12-2 defeat.
Alex Becker put Dayton Christian back on top by a point when he defeated Christian Valentine 6-2 at 138 pounds.
Nick Vestal gave the Warriors an 18-11 lead by pinning Travis Barnes at the 1:14 mark to win at 145.
Dayton Christian's Jacob Danishek scored an 18-3 win over Jesse Beverly at 152.
But that's where the Warriors' momentum came to an end.