Like the proverbial inevitability of death and taxes, Lakewood St. Edward s powerhouse wrestling program rolled into the Waite Field House Friday and yesterday and, as usual, had its way with the field in the Division I district tournament.
Steamrolled would actually be more accurate as the 21-time state champions from suburban Cleveland, ranked second nationally, had nine individual champions and posted a whopping 313 team points to easily outclass all comers.
The Eagles, who brought all 14 wrestlers to districts, take 13 qualifiers to Columbus in their bid for a 10th straight state team title (Thursday through Saturday) at Value City Arena.
Wadsworth, ranked fifth in Ohio, was a distant second in the team chase with 106.5 points, and Waite was the top local finisher with 81.5, good for third place. City league champion Whitmer was fifth at 78.
Waite also produced the only local individual district champion, as Indians senior Angelo Castillo took a tightly contested 6-5 decision in upsetting St. Ed s junior Shawn Harris in the 135-pound final.
Castillo (26-3), who tore an ACL (knee ligament) while competing in an off-season tournament in July in Tennessee, had surgery to repair the damage in August and did not return to action for Waite until mid-December.
All of that was forgotten last night when Castillo scored the winning point on an escape with nine seconds remaining, then dodged a last-second takedown bid by Harris, a junior who was a state champion (at 103) in 2004 and a state runner-up (at 112) last year. In the 04 final, he beat Castillo s former teammate, Waite s Kyle Holliday.
I got the first takedown and then he escaped, Castillo said. It was just a back-and-forth match til the last point.
Castillo never trailed in the match, taking a 4-3 lead to the final period, which he opened with an escape for a two-point edge. But Harris (28-10) knotted things with a reversal with 30 seconds remaining.
I got a little sloppy [on reversal allowed] and I just had to come back from that, Castillo said. I knew I had to escape and I had to work from my feet. I was confident I could get it.
That was his toughest match of the season, Waite coach Carmen Amenta said. Angelo s been wrestling solid. That was typical of his matches close. He hasn t given up many points in his last few tournaments.
He s been training for this [coming] weekend for four years.
The only other northwest Ohio wrestler to take an individual title was Sandusky s Anthony Watson (38-4), who took a 6-5 decision over Wadsworth s Dave Crowley at 215 pounds.
Four other local competitors reached last night s championships finals, but each lost.
At 103 pounds, Clay junior Kyle Sutter (34-2) lost a tough 2-1 decision to Elyria s Steve Mitcheff (40-3).
He was grabbing on my hands so I couldn t set up a shot, Sutter said of inability to attack Mitcheff. I wasn t coming close to his legs.
It s a good experience going to state, so I m happy about that. I just went out there and wrestled my match in the finals. I knew I was already going to make it. He was a returning state placer and it was only 2-1, so I was hanging with the best of em. I feel pretty good about going to state.
At 119, Perrysburg s Akif Eren (30-6), who has only wrestled for 2 years, lost a a 6-3 decision to St. Ed s Neil Burt (29-7) in the title match.
He had a different technique, and we was a good wrestler, no doubt, Eren said. If I could wrestle him again I would try to tie him up more.
It s my dream to be a state champ, and this is the last year, so we ll see what s going to happen. Next week s different. Everything starts new.
Springfield junior Matt Dennis (36-7) ran into a buzzsaw in the 125-pound final, as St. Ed s Keith Sulzer (35-3) took a 16-0 technical fall victory.
Waite sophomore Vinnie Lopez (21-7) reached the finals against St. Ed s Dan Gonsor (20-5) at 130, but saw his title match cut short when he suffered a pulled right hamstring at the 1:09 mark of the second period. Lopez was trailing 2-0 at the time.
Castillo s match at 135 was the last involving a local wrestler in the finals, but 12 other northwest Ohio wrestlers qualified for state by placing in the top four.
Sandusky s Cortez McLaughlin placed third and Clay s Justin Flores placed fourth at 112 pounds; Start s Roshawn Jones placed third at 119; Waite s Justin Gooden placed third at 125; Southview s Erik Mayer placed fourth at 130; Whitmer s Evan Roth took fourth at 140; St. John s Jesuit s Tom Schoen was third and Whitmer s Mustafa Eltatawy was fourth at 189; Fremont Ross Jorge Perez was third at 215; and Springfield s Chris Holland was third and Fremont Ross Robert Zucker was fourth at 275.
Contact Steve Junga at: email@example.com or 419-724-6461.