WESTFIELD TWP. — Logan Henderson picked up another pin for the Cloverleaf wrestling team, but this time the big man couldn’t save the Colts in a 44-35 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division loss to Norton.
Cloverleaf (9-4, 5-2) didn’t wrestle poorly Wednesday against the reigning champion Panthers (8-2, 7-0), but the battle was uphill after giving up 12 points on forfeits.
“It’s hard when you have to give up points,” Cloverleaf coach Mark Mole said. “Our kids fought hard in every match and put us in a good position in the end. If we could just get healthy and get more bodies in the room ready to go, we’ll be a tough team.”
The Colts went 6-6 in matches and jumped to a 17-3 lead after some impressive showings from Kane Surrarrer (106 pounds), Jake Arnold (113) and Cade Cass (126).
Joey Judson (152), Brody Stallings (170) and Henderson (285) also won, but forfeits at 195 and 220 ultimately did in Cloverleaf.
With the lead changing hands six times in the middle weights, Norton won three of the last four matches to grab a lead on the Colts heading into the PTC Metro Tournament.
“We had two forfeits to start off with,” Arnold said. “That’s 12 points going into the match. If we would have had those two weights, it would have been a closer match and could have been a better outcome.”
The win gives the Panthers a bit of a cushion heading into the Feb. 15-16 tournament at Rootstown, as the Colts finished with two league losses and in a tie for second.
Under PTC scoring, that means Cloverleaf has to finish first in the Metro portion of the tournament and hope someone from its division bumps ahead of Norton to finish in a first-place tie.
Even if the Panthers finish second, they would win the league outright because of the weighted regular-season scoring.
“I’m sure in that room we’re going to push it as hard as we can go,” Arnold said. “I’m sure that everyone in there is going to have the passion in their eyes to want to beat Norton, to want to beat any kid they step on that mat with. We want to win it.
“Wrestling in an atmosphere like this gives us a lot of motivation. We have a lot of great fans out here. When we have the fan support, it brings good energy. That’s all we’re about is good energy.”
With the Metro Division so tight in terms of pedigree, Mole hasn’t completely ruled out a Colts’ share of the title and the school’s first crown since winning the Pioneer Conference in 1981.
A quick look at the Colts’ portion of the PTC schedule shows a one-point win, three-point victory and one-point loss among seven league matches, so it won’t be easy.
“We have to go and take care of ourselves,” Mole said. “We can’t control what everyone else does. But in these tournament scenarios, crazy things happen. We had a lot of close matches this year. When it comes tournament time, I think some people might be surprised at how things shake out. We have to keep our focus and wrestle our best next weekend.”
Former Highland coach Mark Savoia is an assistant coach for the Panthers. His son Carson Savoia is a 195-pounder for Norton.
Norton 44, Cloverleaf 35
106: Kane Surrarrer (C) p. Aiden Probst, :21; 113: Jake Arnold (C) t.f. Jasper Lanning, 18-3; 120: Jayden Morr (N) d. Kenny Jenkins, 4-0; 126: Cade Cass (C) p. Brady Postek, 3:15; 132: Mike Kelley (N) p. Josh Dunn, 2:23; 138: Kaleb Kiss (N) p. Cameron Arthur, 5:32; 145: Zach Flohr (N) p. Brandon Ridenour, 1:50; 152: Joey Judson (C) p. Reid Beddow, 3:44; 160: Reece Swarm (N) t.f. Anthony Norton, 19-2 170: Brody Stallings (C) p. Donald Otto, 3:59; 182: Andrew Swym (N) p. Christian Schneider, 1:15; 195: Carson Savoia (N) by ff; 220: Jakob Hopkins (N) by ff; 285: Logan Henderson (C) p. Connor Haddad, 3:24. Records: Norton (8-2, 7-0), Cloverleaf (9-4, 5-2).