BRECKSVILLE — The match is for bragging rights and an opportunity to extend an already ridiculous Suburban League winning streak.
Wadsworth travels to Brecksville tonight to conclude the National Conference dual schedule and puts an 84-match league streak that dates to Dec. 14, 2006 (Highland, 31-24) on the line.
It comes against a Bees team that won every dual meet as a member of the Southwest Conference from 2005-15 and one that has given the Grizzlies everything and more in the two times they’ve faced in SL action.
“Wrestling needs more of this,” Brecksville coach Todd Haverdill said. “I don’t mean this as disrespect to other teams in our conference, but when a team rolls into Wadsworth and it’s 68-0 or 63-3, I don’t know that it helps anybody. It doesn’t help Wadsworth. It doesn’t help the opponent. It doesn’t help wrestling. Our sport needs competitive duals.”
If the match, which will be held under the lights on a stage in the Brecksville auditorium at 7 p.m., is anything like the last two, it will definitely be worth the price of admission.
Last season, the power programs split the 14 matches down the middle. The Grizzlies needed to win five of their last six weightclasses to win 31-29 and eventually claim their 25th straight SL title.
In 2016, Wadsworth won 28-22 and again split matches down the middle.
The latest matchup might be the same way, as the Grizzlies (8-1, 6-0) and Bees (6-0, 6-0) come in as the 20th- and 23rd-ranked teams in the nation, according to IntermatWrestle.com’s Josh Lowe.
“Any time you can match up some nationally-ranked and state-ranked teams and get excited, it’s good,” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said. “It’s too bad we can’t do it a couple times a year. We’re blessed and honored to put some energy in the sport.”
There are some very intriguing possibilities throughout the lineup, as state placers Luke Baughman of Wadsworth and Marco Regalbuto of Brecksville should square up at 138 pounds.
Not to be outdone, state placer and Medina Invitational Tournament champion Michael North could meet Bees national All-American and Brecksville Invitational Tournament champion Victor Voinovich at 145.
If that’s not enough, Wadsworth state qualifier Clay McComas should face Brecksville state placer Zach D’Anna at 220.
“It’s going to come down to something that isn’t expected, whether it’s a swing match or a head-in-arm (pin),” Gramuglia said. “Our big thing is just to keep your composure. Don’t let the emotions catch on to you.”
In a field comprised of a national champion, state champion, three state runners-up, seven state placers and five state qualifiers, that will be difficult.
Add the fact there will be a sold-out auditorium with wrestlers competing a little bit out of their element on the stage and the match promises to be must-see wrestling.
“It could be the difference between getting a major decision in the last five seconds or not giving one up,” Haverdill said. “It’s giving up a fall or not giving up a fall. That’s probably going to be the difference in this dual meet.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.