Saturday, June 15, 2024

Clutch pins send Kirtland to state

ROOTSTOWN—Most outsiders consider wrestling an individual sport and for good reason. It’s a one-on-one battle on the mat with no help available from a wrestler’s teammates.

Those who have wrestled or coach know otherwise.

Kirtland used a total team effort to defeat top-seeded Rootstown, 42-37, in the 2015 OHSAA State Dual Wrestling Tournament Region 19 final on Wednesday on the Rovers’ home mat.

“It feels great to be going down to Columbus,” said Kirtland coach Scott Francis. “Two years ago we got to that go-to match and we lost. Last year we bowed out a little earlier than we wanted too. These seniors especially have been looking forward to getting back down here and getting to this match and winning it. Coming in as underdogs makes it even more special.”

Senior Dylan Diemer’s 3 minute, 50 second pin at 285 pounds sealed the Hornets’ win but victory was earned in nearly every weight class.

Brendan Williamson won by forfeit at 106 pounds then Mike Petterson fought off his back in a technical fall loss that saved the Hornets a team point. Blake Andonian, who appears to be double-joined in the shoulder, did the same at 126 and Mike Calvert lost 12-6 but denied the Rovers any bonus points in building a 19-6 lead over the Hornets.

“Everybody did great out there,” Francis said. “In a dual match just not getting pinned sometimes is great because you save the team a point here or there. Mike Calvert coming back for his first match did a great job in his two matches. He won the first one but then he lost to a quality kid there but was able to keep it close. Those three points were big. You start adding up those few other guys who saved us a point here or there and that was the difference in the match.”

Evan Francis pulled Kirtland to within 19-12 with his 2 minute, 18 second pin at 138 but the Rovers responded with a pin at 145 to again lead by double digits with 12 points coming via forfeit at 170 and 182.

Chris Sakenes and Clayton Davidson then recorded back-to-back pins at 152 and 160 to keep the Hornets in the match. The forfeits left Rootstown in charge, 37-24, with just three matches remaining.

Faced with a must-win situation, Anthony Porter found himself on his back at 195 pounds with Kirtland’s state tournament hopes fading with every millimeter closer his back came to the mat.

As he has done so many times before this season, Porter recovered and ended up pinning Gabe Gretz in 4 minutes, 27 seconds to pull the Hornets to within seven points with two matches to go. The Hornets had to win the remaining two matches but would need at least a major decision in one to knock off the Rovers.

Dylan Choe changed that with a pin at 220.

He controlled the first period then flattened Jimmy Goforth 33 seconds into the second.

“Dylan Choe did a great job,” Francis said. “Going into that we knew we had to get those last three wins. What can I say, he did a great job.”

Kirtland’s fate then rested on the back of Diemer at heavyweight.

Diemer was used to pressure, having been a part of Kirtland’s four state finalist football teams. Despite his confidence, Diemer got thrown to his back, twice, and trailed Rootstown’s Ronnie Jeffers 11-3 before ending the match, and the dual, in 3 minutes, 50 seconds.

“I just knew that if I kept pushing through I could tire him out because I like to keep in good shape and I knew if I kept going I would come out on top,” Diemer said. “I knew if I lost, it was all down to me, if I lost we don’t go, if I win we go.”

Diemer’s pin put an exclamation point on the win but the efforts of Petterson, Andonian, Calvert, and Porter to fight off their backs was just as important.

“Early in the year they probably wouldn’t have come out of there,” Francis said. “That’s something we’ve been going over in practices that when you do get caught how to come out of there. Now we’ve got to get back to how not to get into that situation in the first place.”

The Hornets defeated Girard, 41-33, in the regional semifinals. Girard was the No. 1 seed in the Region 19B bracket while Kirtland was the second seed. Rootstown was the top seed in Region 19A and the overall region.

Kirtland’s opponent in the state quarterfinals is not yet know. Click here for the state tournament bracket. 

Kirtland 42, Rootstown 37
106: Brendan Williamsom (K) over (R) (For.) 113: Dalton Leightner (R) over Mike Petterson (K) (TF 17-0 6:00) 120: Brad Trescott (R) over Daniel Jahnke (K) (Fall 0:55) 126: Tony Paolucci (R) over Blake Andonian (K) (TF 18-1 5:45) 132: Seth Hayes (R) over Mike Calvert (K) (Dec 12-6) 138: Evan Francis (K) over Tyler Jenkins (R) (Fall 2:20) 145: Jason Sadler (R) over Chris Brown (K) (Fall 0:58) 152: Chris Sakenes (K) over Nathan Zurzolo (R) (Fall 3:55) 160: Clayton Davidson (K) over Luke Durbak (R) (Fall 1:30) 170: Luke Sorboro (R) over (K) (For.) 182: Dillon Wingard (R) over (K) (For.) 195: Anthony Porter (K) over Gabe Gretz (R) (Fall 4:27) 220: Dylan Choe (K) over Jimmy Goforth (R) (Fall 2:33) 285: Dylan Diemer (K) over Ronnie Jeffers (R) (Fall 3:50)

Kirtland 41, Girard 33
106: Brendan Williamsom (K) over (G) (For.) 113: Dakota McCluskey (G) over Mike Petterson (K) (Fall 0:30) 120: Daniel Jahnke (K) over Shawn Leasure (G) (Dec 7-6) 126: Peter Jahnke (K) over Michael Belcik (G) (Fall 1:39) 132: Mike Calvert (K) over Dominic Gainey (G) (MD 13-2) 138: Evan Francis (K) over Hayden Stauffer (G) (Fall 0:46) 145: Chris Morgan (G) over Chris Brown (K) (Fall 3:18) 152: Chris Sakenes (K) over Robert Dodson (G) (MD 15-2) 160: Clayton Davidson (K) over Jacob Royiscanec (G) (Fall 1:21) 170: Moufid Sayej (G) over (K) (For.) 182: Brandon Black (G) over (K) (For.) 195: Randall Walters (G) over Anthony Porter (K) (Fall 3:14) 220: Dylan Diemer (K) over Ryan Stewart (G) (Fall 2:21) 285: Benjamon Norman (G) over Dylan Choe (K) (Dec 7-2)




Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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