MIDDLEFIELD—Cardinal’s 48-34 win over Cuyahoga Heights in the final match of Thursday’s tri-meet reminded Huskies coach Jeff Zeigler of wrestling’s glory days.
A boisterous crowd helped raise the intensity in the gym and on the mat as the Huskies pinned their way to a 2-0 record on Senior Night.
“That brought back the days of old,” Zeigler said. “It was fun to see the crowd. We had a good crowd here tonight and we had some students. I told the students to go back and tell their friends how much fun it was at the wrestling match.”
Cardinal had little trouble defeating Hawken in the opener.
The Huskies won three of the four individual matches wrestled and added seven forfeits in the win. Brandon Nevison (120) and Brandon Neikirk (145) both pinned their Hawken opponents and Craig Shanower won a 9-6 decision at 138.
Cuyahoga Heights then beat Hawken, 60-6, to set up the showdown between the Huskies and the Redskins.
“I told them yesterday, ‘We’ve got a good dual meet run going. We’re undefeated right now in duals,’” Zeigler said of his wrestlers. “I told them it’s going to be a team effort and it’s nice to have a team where we can compete. We’ve got the numbers. You get a few forfeits and you get a few breaks and you get some people that step up to the occasion and really pull a nice match out.”
The Huskies didn’t rely on forfeits against the Redskins.
They won five of eight matches wrestled–all by pin–and had a 4-2 advantage in forfeits.
Trent Mast opened the match with a 3 minute, 17-second pin at 120 pounds and Nevison flattened his opponent in 3:31 at 126.
“Nevison wrestled strong all day,” Zeigler said. “He bumped up that match to 126 because Trent certified at 120.”
Cuyahoga Heights’ Trey Combs pinned Cardinal’s Mason Lustig at 132 but not before Lustig reversed the returning state qualifier to his back.
“Mason just broke into the lineup last week and he’s doing a great job,” Zeigler said. “That’s what he needed. I know Mason has got some talent but he never got a chance to even show it last year because he was just behind everybody and it kind of looks like he found a little window now. He’s going to be solid at 132. He just needs mat time and he’ll be all right.”
Cuyahoga Heights tied the match at 12-12 on Jeff Parker’s pin at 138 but Neikirk came back with his second pin of the night at 145 that gave the Huskies a brief 18-12 lead.
“Neikirk is on a mission,” Zeigler said. “He’s pinned everybody he has wrestled. All of his wins are pins. He is at 107 wins now for his career and 79 of them are pins. He’s really focused. I’m real pleased.”
Cardinal’s Sam Ellis drew a forfeit at 160 and Cuyahoga Heights collected forfeits at 152 and 170 to keep the match deadlocked at 24-24 heading into the 182-pound bout.
Cuyahoga Heights’ Chad McDaniel topped Cardinal’s Kyle Simms, 9-1, to give the Redskins their final lead of the night at 28-24.
Simms would normally wrestle 170 but after giving blood on Wednesday he didn’t practice and came into Thursday’s match one pound overweight.
“He wrestled him tough,” Zeigler said. “He’s just not that size and it showed on the mat.”
Despite the score, McDaniel and Simms went toe-to-toe for six minutes and the crowd responded to the excitement. Cardinal’s Bryn Havel and Geno Argento fed off that intensity and pinned their Cuyahoga Heights opponents at 195 and 220, respectively.
“Havel is looking great. As a senior, he’s really putting it together. From where he has come from as a freshman to where he’s at now is just a total turnaround. He works very hard,” Zeigler said. “I think Argento just got caught up in the moment. He did things right. He was technically sound. He did what we teach and that was great.”
Alex Fabiny (285) and Anthony Brezo (106) won by forfeit and Cuyahoga Heights’ picked up a forfeit at 113 to close out the match.
Cardinal 57, Hawken 6
106-Hilfka (H) pinned Brezo, 5:21; 113-double forfeit; 120-Nevison (C) pinned Mosbugger, 3:00; 126-Mast (C) by forfeit; 132-Lustig (C) by forfeit; 138-Shanower (C) dec. Miller, 9-6; 145-Neikirk (C) pinned Baratz, 4:21; 152-double forfeit; 160-Ellis (C) by forfeit; 170-double forfeit; 182-Simms (C) by forfeit; 195-Havel (C) by forfeit; 220-Argento (C) by forfeit; Fabiny (C) by forfeit.
Cuyahoga Heights 60, Hawken 6
106-double forfeit; 113-Hilfka (H) pinned Stankiewicz, 1:50; 120-Meade (CH) pinned Mosbugger, 1:02; 126-Johnson (CH) by forfeit; 132-Combs (CH) pinned Miller, 5:21; 138-Parker (CH) pinned Baratz, 1:40; 145-Krucek (CH) pinned Simmelli, 0:26; 152-Woodall (CH) by forfeit; 160double forfeit; 170-Frye (CH) by forfeit; 182-McDaniel (CH) by forfeit; 195-Mallos (CH) by forfeit; 220-Jakubczak (CH) by forfeit; 285-double forfeit.
Cardinal 48, Cuyahoga Heights 34
106-Brezo (C) by forfeit; 113-Stankiewicz (CH) by forfeit; 120-Mast (C) pinned Meade, 3:17; 126-Nevison (C) pinned Johnson, 3:31; 132-Combs (CH) pinned Lustig, 3:36; 138-Parker (CH) pinned Stango, 0:40; 145-Niekirk (C) pinned Krucek, 1:24; 152-Woodall (CH) by forfeit; 160-Ellis (C) by forfeit; 170-Frye (CH) by forfeit; 182-McDaniel (CH) maj. Dec. Simms, 9-1; 195-Havel (C) pinned Mallos, 1:56; 220-Argento (C) pinned Jakubczak, 0:49; 285-Fabiny (C) by forfeit.