The Clay Eagles put their wrestling dominance on display Wednesday night, carving up what is expected to be their chief competition in next month’s Three Rivers Athletic Conference tournament.
The fifth-ranked Eagles — who placed fifth in last year’s Division I state tournament — scored a 47-12 victory over visiting Central Catholic in an under-the-spotlight dual meet before a packed gym on “Wrestle for the Cure” night.
“We won the match, and that’s always good, but there’s still some things that we have to work on,” said second-year Clay head coach Ralph Cubberly. “Like I told our kids after the match, those 3-0 matches can turn around real easy and be 2-1 the other way. By no means are we there yet.”
Brothers Nick and Matt Stencel delivered pins, senior twins Damon and Devin Dominique each survived tight battles, and senior 195-pound regular Eddie Silva (19-3 record) bumped up to 220 to score a 20-5 technical fall over Central sophomore Christopher Norwood to highlight Clay’s 17th win in 18 dual meets this season.
“Our coaches work us hard every day in the room and we plan for stuff like this,” Silva said of the special event and packed house. “We were pretty pumped up right off the bat. We were just ready for the matches.
"A couple of their kids were out, but we wrestled pretty good. I think we’re better than we were last year. We have some young kids, but we’re pretty strong.”
Clay donned special pink singlets for the breast cancer awareness fundraiser.
“It was awesome,” Cubberly said of the event. “Coach [assistant Troy] McLaughlin does a great job with this kind of stuff. You’ve got to make it a show for the fans, and this was a great show.”
In one of the toughest battles of the night, Clay sophomore Richie Screptock executed a reversal and subsequent near pin for the only points of the match. Those came with 1:10 left in the third period of a 4-0 win at 120 pounds over Irish sophomore Josh Mossing.
Screptock is ranked No.4 in Ohio in D-I, Mossing No. 7 in D-II.
Junior Alex Mossing of Central, Ohio’s top-ranked D-II 145-pounder, was arguably to most impressive performer of the night in pinning Clay junior Darrin Todd with 20 seconds left in the second period.
Nick Stencel, a senior, pinned Central sophomore Lucas Beach at 4:25 of their 160-pound match, and sophomore Matt Stencel got his fall over Irish sophomore eeeeeeeMichael Gregory just 1:03 into their 195-pound match.
The Dominiques had to work much harder to earn their victories.
Damon scored on an escape and a takedown to take a 5-2 lead over Irish sophomore Colin Kaucher after two periods, before riding out a scoreless third for a 5-2 win at 152 pounds.
Devin fought off a late takedown bid by Central senior Shawn Murray in the closing seconds of their 170-pound match to survive for a 3-2 decision.
Also collecting wins for the Eagles were junior Jared Davis, who blanked Central freshman Josh Venia 4-0 at 113; senior Brian Henneman, who scored a 10-3 decision over Irish freshman Zachary Kern at 126; and junior Antonio Zapata, who took a 4-1 decision over Central sophomore JQuan Fisher at 285.
Central’s other victories came from a pair of freshman.
Josh Portillo took a 10-5 decision at 106 pounds over Eagle junior Aaron Henneman, and Richard Jackson defeated Clay sophomore Caleb Nelson 3-1 at 138.
“Obviously we didn’t have our strongest lineup coming out here tonight,” second-year Central coach Tony Guerra said. “We have a couple starters out of the lineup, so the confidence as a team wasn’t there.”
Not competing for the Irish were injured starters Matt Pool (113 pounds), Nate Hagen (126), and Nigel Cramer (132).
“We knocked off a couple matches, but I would’ve loved to have won a couple more,” Guerra said. “Hopefully we have our full lineup for the TRAC tournament. “I think in a tournament format we’ll have a better shot at Clay. They’re a great dual-meet team. They have a great lineup from top to bottom.”
Clay’s other match wins came via forfeits.
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