COLUMBUS – Losses in the middle weights of its match against Elyria put the Mason wrestling team in a tough spot Saturday in a Division I state quarterfinal in Ohio State’s St. John Arena.
Not only would the Comets need wins at the bigger weights, but they were in a position where pins became necessary.
In the end, fifth-seeded Mason didn’t have quite enough to beat a fourth-seeded Elyria team ranked 42nd in the nation according to intermatwrestle.com. Mason, which lost to Elyria 36-24, was one of three area teams to fall in state quarterfinals along with sixth-seeded Elder in Division I and seventh-seeded Ross in Division II.
“We were right there, and in the matches the kids didn’t win we didn’t wrestle badly,” Mason coach Craig Murnan said. “Unfortunately our (152-pounder) lost a close match and our 170-pounder wasn’t wrestling only for the win but for the pin. It forced our lineup at the back end to take some chances. It came down to the last match, but our heavyweight would have had to pin the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the state and that’s not a good place to be.”
After Zack Donathan (113), Patrick Kearney (120) and Nathan Williams (126) all picked up wins for the Comets, Elyria won the next four matches including at 152 where Mikah Price edged Jack Nick D’Agostino 5-3.
Also winning for the Comets were Jordan Collins (195) and Sheldon Sims (220) to cut Elyria’s lead to 30-24.
In the final at heavyweight, Elyria’s Kevin Vough pinned Doug Mullen in 4 minutes, 49 seconds to seal the victory.
Mason lost to Brecksville-Broadview Heights 36-25 a year ago in a Division I state quarterfinal.
“I felt like we battled, but we didn’t leave everything out on the mat like we should have,” Sims said.
Sims is 40-4, Donathan is 37-2 and Collins is 37-3 for the Comets, who had four qualifiers to the individual state tournament a year ago.
Elder lost to Brecksville-Broadview Heights 51-10 in its state quarterfinal. Neither Joe Isham (220) nor Gage Brock (195), who have been among the team’s top wrestlers and are seniors, were able to compete against the Bees after getting hurt in practice earlier in the week, according to coach Jason Roush.
“(Brecksville-Broadview Heights) is nationally ranked (41st by intermat.com) and they were in the finals last year,” Roush said. “We thought we could compete with them but we had to forfeit at 220 and heavyweight.”
Winning matches for the Panthers were Austin Murphy (113), Rocco Salamone (132) and Mark Adams (170).
At 145, Elder’s Connor Craig lost to Sonny Lucas 4-3.
Craig was one of 10 underclassmen to compete at state for the Panthers.
Ross, which made it to a state semifinal in 2013 but lost in a regional final a year ago, lost to second-seeded Toledo Central Catholic 48-27 in its state opener.
The Rams also have been battling injuries and were forced to forfeit at 195 and 220.
Earning victories for Ross were Tyler Bell (113), Aaron Cox (120), Brock Tatum (132), Brandon Luther (145) and Dalton Jones (170).
Ross also was the seventh seed when it edged Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy 31-30 in a state quarterfinal in 2013 and was hoping for a similar upset.
“We scored 27 points against (Toledo Central Catholic) and we were up on them most of the time,” coach Rich Dunn said. “We ended up forfeiting two of our last three weights but we battled really well. We came up with some nice pins early and maybe rattled them early.
“It’s still tough. It’s that time of year when we’ve really, really got to work hard to get back up. We’re going to be focused for the next few weeks.”