Thursday, September 16, 2021

Konnor Duncan punches ticket to state

GARFIELD HEIGHTS—Kirtland junior 120-pounder Konnor Duncan put together quite a run at the Division III district wrestling tournament.

Duncan strung together three straight wins before falling in the championship bout to finish second. Despite the setback, Duncan extended his season and will represent the Hornets at the 81st Annual State Wrestling Championships next weekend in Columbus.

“I’m really excited to go to state,” Duncan said. “I have some regrets about my last match, I made some bad decisions, but overall I had a good time and I’m looking forward to state.”

Duncan opened the tournament with a first round pin of Mogadore’s Dawson Manley followed by an 8-3 decision over Tuslaw’s Andrew Wenzel in the quarterfinals. He punched his ticket to state with a dominating 8-1 win over Waynedale’s Storm Stanley in the semifinals.

Akron Manchester’s Jake White beat Duncan, 5-0, in the first place bout.

“I wanted to take it to him but he had a lot more speed than I was anticipating,” Duncan said.

Duncan beat two No. 1 seeds on his way to reaching Saturday night’s championship match.

“If you’re taking other people’s opinions, those were upsets, but we get to see Konnor every day in the room and we know what he can do,” said Kirtland coach Scott Francis. “We know what he’s fully capable of and he’s starting to buy into it.”

Reaching the district championship match is the pinnacle of Duncan’s career thus far.

As a freshman, he finished 12-23 and lost both matches he wrestled at the sectional tournament. He improved to 17-9 as a junior but an injury kept him from wrestling in the postseason. He enters the state tournament with a 23-15 record and plenty of momentum.

He’ll open that tournament against Bethel-Tate junior Trey Sander, who finished third at the Troy District and is 48-8 on the year.

Sophomore Brayden Adkins, Senior Austin Mayo and sophomore Jeff Kusar also represented Kirtland at the district tournament.

Adkins finished 0-2 at 152 pounds after dropping his consolation bout to Brooklyn’s Carl Ramers, 3-2, while Mayo was 0-2 at 195.

Kusar lost his first match then pinned Loudonville’s Brice Swindall in 55 seconds. He bowed out of the tournament with a loss to Springfield’s Ryan Thompson.

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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