The Clay wrestling team showcased its depth and ability to win by pin as the Eagles captured the team title at their host tournament on Saturday.
Eleven of 13 Clay wrestlers placed at the Michael Casey Memorial/Maumee Bay Classic tournament. The Eagles totaled 203 points, edging out both Wauseon and Perry, which tied for second with 182.5 points. Perrysburg was fourth, and Delta, which had two individual champs, was fifth.
“This tournament is tough. It's a grind,” Clay coach Ralph Cubberly said. “The kids really wanted to win this tournament. We knew we needed to get a lot of pins to win because we came into the tournament a little banged up. We got 23 pins, and that's two extra points for each pin. They rose to the occasion.”
Clay, Delta, and Wauseon all had four wrestlers earn spots in the championship matches. But the host Eagles had seven finish in the top four of the 14 weight classes.
“This says something about our depth,” Cubberly said.
Only one Eagle wrestler celebrated an individual title, but it was spectacular.
Clay freshman Matt Stencel pinned Perrysburg's Kadin Llewellyn, the top seed in the 182-pound weight class, with 1:21 left in the match.
Stencel (26-5) led 8-4 when he and Llewellyn (11-7) tussled on their feet. Stencel put Llewellyn on his back and registered the fall about 10 seconds later as the home crowd roared its approval.
“That feels great, especially because I'm only a freshman and I'm 14,” Stencel said. “It makes it a lot better to win here.”
Stencel was a two-time junior high state champ and never lost (64-0).
“These juniors and seniors are a lot stronger,” Stencel said. “Coming in here and competing like this gives me confidence that I can win from now on.”
The Eagles also got second-place finishes from Matt's brother, Nick (160), Eddie Silva (195), and Antonio Zapata (285).
Wauseon senior Zane Krall defended his Maumee Bay title at 220 pounds. Krall (21-3) pinned three of his four opponents, including Hunter Topolski of Southview in the finals.
Krall, who placed second at the state tournament last year, registered the fall with 39 seconds left in the first period.
“I knew going into the finals we were within reach [of the team title] so the more bonus points the better,” Krall said. “But the way things went we couldn't catch them. I wanted to pin through. But this is huge. This is a stepping stone.”
Delta senior Jared Mattin battled Clay junior Nick Stencel in the finals at 160 and emerged with a 9-6 win. Mattin (22-7), who was fifth at state, scored four takedowns in the first period to take a commanding 6-2 lead. Stencel rallied late but fell to 27-7.
“He was super strong, but I knew if I kept my feet moving, I could take him down,” Mattin said. “I just kept going and going. Every tournament is important. I want to get on top of the podium. I want to be the best in Ohio.”
Wauseon senior Jacob Whitcomb, who was unseeded and had been knocked out of the Indians' varsity lineup, posted five wins to take the title at 132. Whitcomb (19-5) hit a reversal on Lane Hinkle of Mount Vernon at the start of the second period to take a 4-0 lead. He held on for a 6-5 win.
“It's really great because we had a wrestle off for a big tournament and I lost,” Whitcomb said. “But I've turned it around and gotten back on the varsity, and I've just been pounding it out real hard. It seems to have paid off.”
To open the session, Delta freshman Jake Spiess (24-4) scored a major decision over Jake Donahue of Massillon Washington. Speiss, who was seeded sixth, won 9-0.
At 113, Dakota Riley of Mt. Vernon defended his 2012 title and was named most valuable wrestler.
Delta's Kyle Keller, who pinned three wrestlers at 120, was edged out 11-10 by Joshua Wimer of Central Crossing at 120. Keller, a junior who placed fifth at state, suffered his first loss of the season (21-1).
Wauseon sophomore Wade Hodges (13-5) was decisioned by Ivan McClay of Massillon Washington 7-4 in the 126 final.
Liberty Center senior Zach Niner, who was the top seed at 138, lost 7-3 to Elijah Garcia of Lorain in the final. Niner, who placed fourth at state as a junior, is now 22-3.
At 145, Fremont Ross junior Trey Grine remained undefeated (30-0) with four wins. Grine posted a 5-4 decision over Wauseon freshman Tre Campbell (26-7) in the finals.
Delta junior Tyler Fahrer pinned all four of his opponents going into the finals at 152. But Fahrer (27-5) lost 6-3 to Seth Williams (25-2)of Tiffin Columbian.
Perrysburg junior Rocco Caywood, the No. 1 seed at 170, beat four foes to improve to 15-3. Caywood beat Ryan Sill of Perry 9-6 in the final.
At 195, Clay's Silva (27-5) dropped a 3-1 decision to Matthew Lybarger (29-1) of Mt. Vernon. The Eagles' Zapata made it to the finals before losing by fall to No. 1 seed Billy Miller (27-1) of Perry.
Two wrestlers, Northwood's Brandon Kretz and Alec Schenk of Perry, earned there 100th career wins at the meet.
The tournament was briefly halted when Clay senior Devin Dominique had to be taken off the mat by stretcher when he was injured in the 170-pound consolation.
“He got picked up and spiked right on his shoulder,” Cubberly said. “It could be a broken collar. I'm hoping he is okay. He's one of our best kids.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.