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Clay's Gray falls just short in title quest


Garrett Gray of Oregon Clay loses to Nick Tavanello of Wadsworth in the Division I 285 pound championship match in multiple overtimes during the State Wrestling Tournament Saturday, in Columbus, Ohio.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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COLUMBUS -- A handful of moves, referee's decisions, and close calls played a role in Garrett Gray falling oh-so-short in his quest to be Clay's first state wrestling champion.

The most influential moment, believe it or not, might have been a disc turning up the wrong color.

PHOTO GALLERY: Ohio State Wrestling Tournament Championships round


Because of a 50-50 outcome that went against Gray, the Eagles heavyweight was forced to hold down Wauseon's Nick Tavanello for 30 seconds in the ultimate tiebreaker of the Division I final Saturday at Value City Arena. He couldn't do it and lost 6-5 in an absolute thriller of a bout.

"I did good," Gray said, "but I don't think I did good enough."

Crowning six state place winners, Clay finished in fifth place with 63 points.

After a scoreless period, a referee's disc flip gave the three-time state champion Tavanello the choice of position.

He chose bottom and by escaping to earn the first point, he was given choice of position in the ultimate tiebreaker.

Gray (44-7) was nailed for stalling with 17 seconds to go in regulation, notting the match at 2-2.

"I personally didn't think that was a great call," Gray said.

After a scoreless overtime, Tavanello (42-1) took the lead with an escape.

Gray's chance in the bottom position turned into a frenzy. He escaped, allowed a takedown, and scored a reversal all within 30 seconds. That set up the ultimate tiebreaker, where the earlier disc flip gave Tavanello a huge advantage.

Is Gray a state champion if the disc lands on his color instead?

"It's a possibility," he said. "You don't know. We'd have to wrestle again to find out, but that will never happen."

Five other Clay grapplers won their final matches. Seniors Mike Screptock (126), Jacob Conine (132), and Angelo Amenta (138) finished fifth after losing in the consolation semifinals earlier in the day, and sophomore Jared Davis (106) and freshman Richie Screptock (113) took seventh.

The Eagles were in third entering the evening, leading Cincinnati Moeller by 2.5 points. That order changed when Moeller's Joey Ward won at 132 pounds. Lakewood St. Edward was champions for the 14th time in 15 years, crowning four individuals and racking up 223.5 points.

Massillon Perry (105.5) was second.

St. John's Jesuit's Ted Schoen performed brilliantly, finishing third at 195 to end a 13-year drought of the school not having a state place winner. Schoen bounced back from a loss Friday in the semifinals, stomping Barberton's Aaron Tschantz, 14-6, before prevailing 2-1 over Painesville Riverside's Evan Rosborough.

"I just knew I had to put it behind me," Schoen said of Friday's setback. "When you get down here any match can go either way, so of course I was upset I lost, but I had to finish off the season and it's good to end on a win."

Schoen (45-3) hopes his success will manifest into the Titans turning the corner to become a formidable program.

"Hopefully it get some excitement back in the wrestling program," Schoen said. "This year, we picked it up a little bit. Hopefully this gets more guys interested."

Perrysburg pieced together a strong tournament, crowning two place winners for the first time since 2005. Senior Luke Boff (182) bounced back from a loss earlier in the day to finish fifth, topping Darryl Grayson of Springfield -- in southwest Ohio -- 7-3. Boff's teammate, junior Ryan Roth, was eighth at 138.

"At Perrysburg we're trying to build a name now," Boff said. "Hopefully next year we'll get three state placers and the following year four state placers."

Boff's two losses came by 3-2 margins, including in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning to Cincinnati Colerain's Tegray Scales.

"It ended on a win. That's always a positive," said Boff, who finished the season 37-4. "I would have liked to have gone for third and fourth, but you can't always get what you want."

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