A third-place team finish wouldn’t get much attention at most wrestling championships around the area.
But in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference, third may as well be first for the league’s six schools not named Oregon Clay or Toledo Central Catholic. So in the eyes of Ross coach Mike Mezinger, his Little Giants taking third as a team in front of the home crowd at Saturday’s TRAC wrestling championships was a pretty big deal. Especially considering his team had finished second to last in the same tournament each of the league’s first two seasons.
Trayvion Scott (113 pounds), Bailey Mezinger (126) and Trey Grine (145) all earned league titles in their respective weight classes as Ross finished third with 129 ½points. Jordan Weissinger (152) finished as a runner-up, while Peyton Geary (160), Kieler Foster (182) and Tyler Grine (132) were all third for the Little Giants. Sergio Garcia was fourth at 120.
Clay, which had 13 of its 14 wrestlers finish among the top three, edged Central Catholic 230-214 ½ for the the program’s sixth straight league championship. The Eagles and Fighting Irish — both in the state team duals finals next week — each had 10 wrestlers in the finals.
“Our goal from Day One of the season was taking third in the TRAC,” said coach Mezinger, who was named TRAC coach of the year. “Each of our boys, even the ones that didn’t place, wrestled up to their potential, and even better. I can’t ask for anything more than that.
“It’s always nice when your son (Bailey) wins a championship,” coach Mezinger continued. “He’s either been sick or injured the last two years at this meet. For him to go out his senior year and have a nice solid match against a kid that had beat him two of their first three matches, that was a thrill.”
The younger Mezinger, 33-4 on the year, got a key second period reversal en route to 2-0 victory over Findlay’s Justin Joliff. It was a rematch of a battle on Jan. 22 when Mezinger topped Joliff 6-2 in the team duals at Perrysburg.
“My dad’s birthday was Thursday, so it was nice gift for him,” Bailey Mezinger said. “To win at home was really special. Not to mention, on top of that, my dad getting coach of the year and a teammate that I’ve grown up wrestling with, Trey Grine, gets wrestler of the year again. I’m so proud of this team this year. I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year.”
Trey Grine topped Central Catholic’s Alex Mossing in an ultimate tiebreaker last February to win TRAC wrestler of the year honors. This year’s came a little easier. He won a 15-4 major decision over Irish wrestler Richard Jackson, recording five takedowns.
“I love winning here (Purple Pit),” said Grine, now 29-1. “It’s the best feeling in the world. It might even be better than a state win. It’s home and everybody’s cheering for you.
“I came in with the mindset that I’m not losing anymore after I did a few weeks back. I’m motivating myself more and more now. It’s all practice for the state tournament.”
Grine earned a technical fall in 3 minutes, 33 seconds in his first match against Whitmer’s Long Cluckey.
“This is a hard conference to get third in,” Grine said. “Coach told us just to go out there, believe in ourselves and wrestle hard, which we did.”
At 113, it was all gravy for Scott.
Scott, whose nickname is Gravy, earned his first-ever tournament win by pinning Clay’s Evan True in 2:42.
“I came out flat in my semifinal match — a 3:04 pinfall of St. John’s Jesuit’s Trevin Dickerson — and the kid was strong,” Scott said. “Coming into the finals, I knew I had to come out strong and quick to win. Every finals match I’ve been in this year, I’ve kept it close, then lose at the last minute get a bad call and lose on it. I wouldn’t take leave out of the hands of others.”
Scott is 28-7 on the season.
“We told him to keep hammering away,” said coach Mezinger of Scott. “He always got the lead and started coasting, wrestling not to lose instead of wrestling to win. And he did. He didn’t let that kid breathe.”
Weissinger lost by pinfall in 1:17 to Mossing, a state champion from last year.
“Jordan went out there wanting to win, and thought he could knock him off, which is the right attitude to have,” caoch Mezinger said. “He was upset with himself. As long as we can take something away from a loss, that’s good.”
Division I sectionals are Feb. 14-15 at Mansfield Senior.
“We got to have a good couple weeks here, but we’re rolling along right now,” coach Mezinger said. “Sectionals won’t be easy. We have to keep plugging away.”