COLUMBUS - On the same day he was named Ohio's Division II coach of the year, Eastwood's Ralph Cubberly also enjoyed watching three of his wrestlers secure opportunities to win state wrestling titles today.
Cubberly led nine Eagle wrestlers to Columbus. Five reached the championship semifinals yesterday at Value City Arena. Three will be wrestling for crowns today and one has a chance to finish third.
Eastwood is in second place behind St. Paris Graham.
"You don't get that award without great kids who put forth an incredible effort and great assistants," said Cubberly, who is in his 15th season at Eastwood. "Look at today. We had three out of five kids make the finals and the two who didn't are freshmen. The kids wrestled great today. You can't ask for more."
Junior Ben Llanas, junior Ryan Cubberly and senior Kent Smith won their semifinal matches yesterday before 14,101 lively spectators. Other area wrestlers who advanced to the finals that begin today at 5:30 include Bellevue's Jeffrey and Johnny Pelton and Clyde's Matt Guhn.
The Eagles' Jeremy Foster remains alive in the consolation bracket and must win two matches to take third place.
Eastwood started off quickly as Llanas (49-2) doubled up Seth Morton of Canal Winchester 14-7 to reach the 112-pound final.
"I just kept getting takedown after takedown," Llanas said. "This is the year for me to win it. I want to win a state championship. I won't take anything less."
At 125, Ryan Cubberly entered the final period of his match tied 0-0. But with 1:44 left, he put Chase Skonieczny of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit on his back for two points. Cubberly said he used a move that is unique to his team called an "Eastwood tilt" to score the back points.
"We're the only team that uses it and it works really well," said Cubberly, who advanced to face the same wrestler he lost to in the state finals last year, Cameron Duggett (43-2) of St. Paris Graham.
"I just have to strategize," Cubberly (52-2) said. "Last year I was just happy to get here."
Smith advanced to the finals for the first time in his four appearances at the state meet.
"It's about time I got my head together and got this far," said Smith (51-2), who posted a 15-5 decision. "This is what I've been working for since I was eight years old."
Smith's reward is facing defending state champion David Erwin of St. Paris Graham in the 160-pound final.
Clyde's Guhn kept his undefeated streak intact (54-0) with a 3-2 decision that gave Zach Reckman (34-1) his first loss of the season at 275.
"This was for the state final so I didn't want to do anything stupid," Guhn said. "Now it's for all the glory."
Bellevue sophomore Jeffery Pelton (38-1 at 103) came out on top in overtime, 6-4. Redmen senior Johnny Pelton (33-3) will wrestle in the 145 final with an 11-4 victory.
Contact Mark Monroe at:
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