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COLUMBUS - Michael Alexander nearly reversed one result and left another one the way it was.
After dropping a hotly contested quarterfinal bout to Westerville North's defending state champion Josh Demas yesterday morning, Findlay's Alexander secured a pair of victories in the 171-pound consolation bracket, the second of which came last night against rival Nate Brubaker of Start 5-3.
Alexander finishes his senior year with a 3-0 record versus Brubaker.
"He's a great wrestler," Alexander said. "I had to go out and choose my spots to get takedowns."
The three area wrestlers who competed in yesterday evening's semifinal round all lost. Clay's Nick Garcia (103) was pinned by Mentor's Jack Young in 3:17, and Garcia's teammate Mark Orth (135) saw his improbable run at a state title end in a 9-1 loss to Lakewood St. Edward's Mark Martin. Findlay heavyweight Max Gladstone was downed 3-1 by Wadsworth's Ben Buzzelli.
With 150 team points, Wadsworth could end St. Edward's 13-year run as D-I state champions. The Eagles have amassed 142.5 points and have as many state finalists - six - as Wadsworth.
In December, Demas stomped Alexander 15-7 in the finals of the Medina Invitational. Yesterday's rematch, though, was in doubt until Demas secured a takedown in the sudden victory period to win 3-1. Alexander was arguably the aggressor and nearly ended the bout with a near takedown in overtime.
"I think some calls could have gone either way, and they didn't go my way," Alexander said. "I think I was in the match, I was where I wanted to be, and I just didn't get the last takedown."
Gladstone trailed Buzzelli 1-0 entering the third period before surrendering a takedown in which he injured his nose and ear when Buzzelli landed on him. Buzzelli beat Gladstone 1-0 at last week's district tournament.
"I've focused all my life on winning a state championship and now that's gone," Gladstone said. "Now I have to focus on winning a national championship for
Ohio State. If I can help it I'm not going to lose my entire college career."
One day after upsetting defending state champion Shawn Fayette of Miamisburg, Clay's Orth bested third-ranked Zach Dailey of Massillon Perry in the quarterfinals. Orth, like Garcia and Gladstone, will finish anywhere from third to sixth. Brubaker will compete for seventh.
NOTES: Before yesterday's evening session, two local coaches were honored by the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association. Clay coach Gerry Anthony was named the Division I coach of the year, while Eagles' assistant Troy McLaughlin received the coaches' service award for his work with the Lake Erie Wrestling Club. And former Eastwood coach Ralph Cubberly, now the coach at Defiance, was inducted into the coaching association's hall of fame. One of Cubberly's wrestlers at Defiance, undefeated senior B.J. Miller, advanced to the Division II title match at 112.
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