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Published: Sunday, 3/2/2003

Waite's Johnson impressive

BY CRAIG MANTEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Waite's Josh Johnson scores back points against Westerville North's Kris Simmons. Johnson won 26-11. Waite's Josh Johnson scores back points against Westerville North's Kris Simmons. Johnson won 26-11.
MORRISON / BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

COLUMBUS - To most wrestlers at the state tournament, any place other than first is considered better than a sharp stick in the eye.

But while they weren't sky high yesterday, Caleb Metcalf, Josh Johnson, Antonio Guerra, Dan Gurney and Brad Marzec are probably appreciating their Division I accomplishments today.

Johnson, the projected state champion at 171 pounds, was the most impressive of the five yesterday at Ohio State's Value City Arena. The Waite senior pinned his first opponent in 1:12, then scored a 26-11 technical fall on Westerville North's Kris Simmons to take third place.

“I'm mad it's over, but it's a good ending,” said Johnson, who had been looking forward to competing last night.

He wasn't disappointed, though.

“I wrestled hard,” he said. “I could have taken last place as long as I wrestled that hard.”

Johnson finished the season with a 43-2 record and with a 144-25 career record and the most wins in Waite history.

“I didn't win [the championship] so I was just trying to enjoy myself the last two matches,” said Johnson

It was not nearly so much fun for his teammate, Guerra, who had rolled 10-4 in his semifinal match and led 2-0 in the final yesterday before being disqualified and settling for fourth. A visibly shaken Guerra finished his Waite career with a second-best 140-20 mark.

Guerra (39-4) was disqualified for an illegal body slam after he picked up Kevin Pietropinto of Mayfield (43-6), who twisted in midair just before they both crashed to the mat, Pietropinto landing on his neck and head. He was taken to the hospital.

“[Guerra] didn't want to end it that way,” coach Carmen Amenta said. “He didn't want to hurt anyone. It's just one of those unfortunate accidents.”

Waite ended up 13th with 34.5 points while Lakewood St. Edward wrapped up its seventh consecutive team title with 183 points.

Metcalf of Anthony Wayne followed up last season's fifth-place showing at 103 with a third at 112. He decisioned defending 103-pound champ Tony Iovine of Pickerington 4-1 in the semifinal and edged Willoughby South's David Federico, another two-time state placer, 4-3 in a second overtime in the final.

Metcalf (38-3) scored a takedown about 30 seconds into the match to take a 2-0 lead over Federico before a reverse tied the score. One escape each sent the match to overtime, where neither scored before Metcalf escaped in the second OT.

“I knew he wasn't going to take me down; I wouldn't let him,” Metcalf said. “I got in on his legs a couple times, but I just couldn't finish it. I knew I was going to win when I chose down.”

“I knew he was going to beat Federico,” coach Randy Musgrove said. “Caleb looked real good out there.”

Gurney of Whitmer won 7-5 in the semifinal but settled for fourth when he lost 10-5 to the same wrestler, Timmy Miller of Wadsworth, who knocked him into the consolation bracket in the second round Friday.

“I knew I had lost to him once, but I went in with my head up and went after him right away,” said Gurney (43-3). ``But I didn't finish because he had my ankles. He ended up taking me down and it went all down from there.

“All I know is, I gave it my all.”

Marzec (38-6) of St. Francis de Sales ended up sixth, but he did join his older brother Chad, third in 2001, as a state placer.

Marzec was beaten by now-three-time-placer Travis Kovach of Massillon Perry 5-1 in the semifinal and fell 5-3 in overtime to Lakewood St. Edward's Kevin Ward in the fifth-place bout.



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