The upstart Waite wrestling team made a strong bid to capture its first team title at the Perrysburg Invitational Tournament last night, but defending champion Hilliard Davidson had other ideas.
The Indians trailed Hilliard by 21 points entering the championship matches, but Waite had six wrestlers in the finals while Davidson had four.
Waite sent four sophomores, a junior and a senior into the finals. However, only sophomore Scott Fuller and senior Angelo Castillo registered victories. Hilliard Davidson won two of its championship matches to outpoint the Indians 198 to 171.
We had a shot going in [to the finals] but Hilliard Davidson is a very tough team, said Waite coach Carmen Amenta. Hopefully we ll see them again in Columbus.
Hilliard Davidson, which finished 23rd as a team at the Division I state tournament last year, won its second consecutive PIT title.
Waite matched its best finish ever at the 19-team tournament by narrowly edging Oak Harbor for second place by just a point and a half. Oak Harbor had three PIT champions as Keith Witt (152 pounds), C.J. Magrum (171) and Brent Scherf (189) all took home titles.
Southview finished fourth. Springfield was fifth followed by Napoleon, Bryan and Defiance. The Blue Devils also had three first-place finishers Kevin Byers (119), Matt Dennis (125) and Chris Holland (275). Perrysburg senior Dan Kusnier (22-5) was named most outstanding wrestler. Kusnier upset top-seed Kirk Tank of Oak Harbor in the 145-pound final.
I can t put into words what this means to me, Kusnier said. This is what I ve been working for these four years. This is amazing. This means the most.
The finals featured no pins, two overtime matches and five major decisions.
Fuller got his Indians going with a 7-4 decision over Cody Sofoulis, a senior from Bryan, in the 112-pound weight class.
I wasn t at my best in the first period, said Fuller, who improved to 13-6. But then I got it going in the third and he got tired. I knew I had him.
Two Springfield wrestlers then knocked off Waite opponents at 119 and 125. Byers posted a major decision over junior Josh Carmona.
Dennis held off sophomore Justen Gooden, 12-10, at 125.
Southview senior Erik Mayer remained undefeated (24-0) by posting the most dramatic win of the night. Mayer was tied with another Waite sophomore, Vinny Lopez, at 4-4 with 15 seconds left. Mayer then scored a quick takedown and tallied two back points to win 8-4 at 130.
This was my toughest match this season, said Mayer, who qualified for state last year.
Castillo got Waite back on the winning side with a 6-1 win over J.T. Rice of Davidson in 135.
This feels real good. You re under the spotlight with everyone watching you, Castillo said of the gym s dimmed lighting.
Placing in the top three at this tournament [as a team] is pretty good.
Clay s Kyle Sutter opened the championship round with a sudden death decision over Hilliard s Jimmy Millar in the 103-pound weight class.
Sutter had a 7-3 lead early in the third period before Millar charged back and forced OT with a takedown at the buzzer. But Sutter responded with a takedown eight seconds into sudden death to score a 9-7 win.
After the Indians last wrestler, Alex Harrick, lost to Hilliard s Adam Vaccari at 140, Amenta knew his team could not catch Davidson and just hoped to keep Oak Harbor at bay.
The little guys are our powerhouses. They put us where we re at and they re young. That bodes well for our program, he said.
Amenta said his team s performance should give it confidence going into next weekend s Waite Invitational. He said having the two tournaments close together helps prepare his team.
We like to get the two tough tournaments back-to-back so the kids get used to it, he said. This gives us momentum. Hopefully we can keep it going.
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.