WADSWORTH — It’s tough to face the eighth-ranked wrestling team in the nation head-to-head, let alone banged up.
That’s exactly what Wadsworth faced Wednesday in the Division I, Region 2 State Duals final against St. Edward in what eventually was a 50-18 win by the Eagles.
Wadsworth knocked off Brunswick 47-23, while St. Edward beat Olmsted Falls 56-17 in the semifinals.
With starters Quentin Griffin (126 pounds), Dom Loparo (160), Hunter Blaz (170), Chris Suarez (195) and Clay McComas (220) on the mend, there were more than a few starters left in the stands and that made things tough.
“We don’t train to win matches like these now, we train to win the matches in March down at state,” 182-pound Wadsworth senior Joey Baughman said. “We train to improve every day. This was no big deal.”
While all but McComas (appendectomy) are expected back on Saturday for the Suburban League Tournament, the regional final showed just what a standout team like St. Edward (16-1) can do when it smells blood.
The Eagles will return to the final eight a week from Sunday in defense of back-to-back titles, while looking for their third crown since the format changed in 2013.
“We learned where we were at and how far we have to go,” Wadsworth heavyweight Jordan Earnest said. “We know how we did in the matches and know how far we are from beating them. Now, we know what we have to do to catch and even surpass them.”
There were state-type matches all over the match with St. Edward as Bryce Andonian (138), who is ranked third in the state knocked off Luke Baughman 9-2, while projected state champ Sam Dover (145) of the Eagles beat projected runner-up Michael North 9-4.
That’s what you get when you face a team like the Eagles, who are looking to sweep both the team and individual tournaments for the third straight year.
There were some highlights as Joey Baughman, Dylan Miller and Earnest won both their matches to make a statement heading into the SLT.
For Miller, who is filling in for McComas, wins over Brunswick’s Eddie Sevastos and St. Edward’s Noah Millitello were gigantic confidence builders.
“It was important to get some wins because I’m new to the Varsity A team,” Miller said. “I don’t know how long it’ll be, but it was nice to get wins before this weekend’s tournament.”
Although Brunswick (9-6) fell to the Grizzlies, there were some fantastic matches with Logan Heil (120), Derek Fields (126), Matt Fields (138), Kevin Kiussis (160) and Garrett Anderson (195) all winning matches.
The marquee match saw two-time state finalist Matt Fields bump up a weight to wrestle returning state placer Luke Baughman in a battle of projected state runner-ups.
Fields built a six-point lead after the second period, but was put to his back to make it 6-5.
After he was allowed an escape, the three-time state placer had to fight off a single leg in the final seconds to win 7-5.
“It was a great match,” Fields said. “I consider Luke a friend of mine. I thought I was in the driver’s seat a little bit and then the next thing I know I was on my back. That’s what I need. Being put on my back and having to shake it off. Last year, when I worked out with (Walsh Jesuit three-time state champ) Johnni DiJulius, he would put me on my back and taught me to take a match one step at a time.
“I learned a lot in that match. I stopped wrestling in the third, which is why I got put on my back. It helped me reassure myself. I could take down one of the best kids in the weight class above me.”
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
St. Edward 50, Wadsworth 18
106: Richard Delsanter (SE) d. Mikey Lewarchick, 3-2; 113: Hudson Poole (SE) t.f. Hunter Griffin, 15-0; 120: Angelo Rini (SE) d. Landen Hacker, 10-4; 126: Bryce Hepner (SE) p. Devin Orr, :46; 132: Matt Kazimir (SE) p. Landen Hacker, 2:55; 138: Bryce Andonian (SE) d. Luke Baughman, 9-2; 145: Sam Dover (SE) d. Michael North, 9-4; 152: Padraic Gallagher (SE) m.d. Cameron Riggenbach, 17-6; 160: Hudson Hightower (SE) p. Jake Herbert, 4:21; 170: Tylor Tohati (SE) p, Anthony Zollinger, 1:03; 182: Joey Baughman (W) p. Coner Beard, 1:25; 195: Seamus O’Malley (SE) t.f. Brandon Osborne, 17-0; 220: Dylan Miller (W) p. Noah Millitello, 2:31; 285: Jordan Earnest (W) p. Luca Santillo, :28.
Wadsworth 47, Brunswick 23
106: Lewarchick (W) p. Brandon Tarnai, 2:27; 113: H. Griffin (W) by ff; 120: Logan Heil (B) t.f. Hacker, 16-1; 126: Derek Fields (B) by inj. def. Quentin Griffin; 132: Messer (W) p. Mark Josefov, 138: Matt Fields (B) d. L. Baughman, 7-5; 145: North (W) t.f. Bratton Lantz, 21-4; 152: Riggenbach (W) p. Jacob Kraker, :58; 160: Kevin Kiussis (B) p. Herbert, 4:49; 170: Anthony Zollinger (W) d. Billy McKee, 4-3; 182: J. Baughman (W) p. Curtis Helman, 1:55; 195: Garrett Anderson (B) d. Osborne, 4-3; 220: Miller (W) d. Eddie Sevastos, 6-3; 285: Earnest (W) p. Cory Sabo, :39.
Records: Brunswick (9-6), Wadsworth (11-3).
St. Edward 56, Olmsted Falls 17