January 10, 2015 53rd J. C. Gorman Wrestling Invitational Championships
MANSFIELD – Drew Kasper didn’t want to be the three-time champ who walked away sulking.
In his haste to record a technical fall — which would have meant an extra half-point for Lexington in a tight team battle where every fraction of a point mattered — Kasper’s takedown attempt in his 182-pound championship match of the 53rd J.C. Gorman Invitational had the opposite effect.
“I fell to my hip and gave up two points instead,” he said, sheepishly. “I messed up.”
If you can call beating Northmor’s second-seeded Kyle Johnson by major decision (17-3) a screw-up.
It became a moot point when teammate Bailey Faust followed up with a threepeat title of his own, pinning Ashland’s Trent Weirich at 1:49 in the 195 class.
With Kasper and Faust posting back-to-back milestone wins, it didn’t matter that Lex heavyweight Nate Temple lost a 4-3 overtime battle royale with repeat champ Deaken McCoy. The Minutemen had already clinched their fourth straight title by the final margin of 198 to 195.5 over Fremont Ross.
Fremont’s only points in the last four weight classes came on a fifth-place win. Kasper was able to breath easier and his coach, Brent Rastetter, didn’t need to be hooked up to an oxygen tank.
Although it would have been less agonizing for Rastetter had he known the team score before the heavyweight bout. He figured the Minutemen were behind
“I miscalculated the points somewhere,” he said.
Instead of losing by a hair for the second time this decade, Rastetter saw his team captured its second four-peat in the last nine years. The only chink in the dynasty was a loss by 2.5 points to Clear Fork in 2011.
“For this (final) I was more nervous than I’ve ever been,” Kasper said. “I felt like I was going to puke. It was just butterflies. I think the spotlight got to me. And I was so focused on taking (Johnson) down at the end that I forgot the basics of the move.”
Faust caught his brother Jake, a three-time Gorman champ, by pinning his way through the tournament. Three of his four matches didn’t make it to the second period as he lifted his record to 23-2. Kasper had to wrestle an extra match and came out 26-0.
Faust concentrated extra hard on pins, realizing every bonus point was valuable.
“I knew (the team race) was going to be close,” he said of a 31-team field where no other school was within 29 points of the top two. “I heard we were down a miniscule amount (Ross led for most of the final round). Ratty (Rastetter) looked at me and said, ‘You know what you’ve got to do. Get it done.'”
Also getting it done was the tournament other’s three-time champ. Mansfield Senior’s Jesse Palser, the clear choice of the coaches in MVP balloting, throttled Norwalk St. Paul’s Hayden Miller 19-7 in the 170 finals.
Palser was a takedown machine, posting his second major decision of the tournament to go with two pins.
“I was just wrestling, trying to take it to the third period to fill up my gas tank,” said Palser, his way of saying he was working on his conditioning. “I put a lot of pressure on myself. I have high standards for myself and I try not to let anybody get in my head.”
Palser hurt his knee at the Walsh Ironman and will wear a brace as a precaution the rest of the season. He wants to go the full six minutes to build his stamina, but also knows it’s important to win quickly to reduce the risk of further injury.
“It’s a fine line,” the 2014 state runner-up said. “I’ll go out there and wrestle and take it if it’s there. If not I’ll grind it out.”
Some thought the MVP might come out of the 132 class, the only one that featured a championship showdown of returning champs. Lex’s second-seeded Brandon Leynaud prevailed 9-3 over No. 1 Carson Mills of Fredericktown.
Leynaud got an escape and takedown at the outset of the third period to break a 3-3 deadlock and then added a three-point nearfall at the end. Mills was a late entry at 132 after scratching at 126 earlier in the week with a knee injury. He got a second opinion from a specialist and got the green light to wrestle.
“This is a bigger accomplishment because the second (title) is always harder. People expect it more,” Leynaud said. “Putting two champs together was pretty cool.”
The area’s other champs were Madison’s Alize Merrell (120), Loudonville’s two-time state medalist Colton Ullman (138) and McCoy, who won last year at 220.
It was the fourth meeting between McCoy, a two-time state qualifier, and Temple, a 2014 state medalist. McCoy has won all four, but they know each other well, so the bouts keep getting tougher.
“I had a flashback to last year’s state meet when I lost a match in overtime and I said, ‘Uh, uh … not today,” McCoy said. “I’m 22-0 and my goal is to go undefeated. I’m trying to follow Foxy (Galion’s two-time state heavyweight champ Dustin Fox). He went 49-0.”
Ullman prevailed over Clear Fork’s 2013 state qualifer Drew Kinzel 3-1 in overtime and Merrell made two penalty points hold up for a 2-1 win over Massillon’s Jake Donahue.
“I stayed in my head; I stayed focus,” said Merrell, a 2013 state qualifier. “It only takes one point to win.”
In Ullman’s case, it took the two points he scored on a takedown 30 seconds into overtime with Kinzel.
“I knew he was going to be defensive, so I wrestled my match, controlled things at the end and came out on top,” Ullman said. “I just wrestled my style. If you stopped the match (in overtime) and asked me if it would end in the first minute I would have said no, just because of how defensive he was.”
53RD J.C. GORMAN INVITATIONAL
• Site: Pete Henry Gym, Mansfield Senior
• Team Score: Lexington 198; Fremont Ross 195.5; Sandusky Perkins 166.5; Akron Manchester 128; Anthony Wayne 122.5; Bellevue 122; Ashland 120; Loudonville 119; Massillon 107.5; Cambridge 91.5; Madison 91; Norwalk St. Paul 85; Northmor 82; Sandusky St. Mary 79; Galion 74; Bay 72; Hopewell-Loudon 71; Fredericktown 65.5; Mansfield Senior 62; Tiffin Columbian 61; Clear Fork 55; Black River 43; Norwalk 39; Shelby 33; Ontario 27; Bucyrus 23; Crestview 19; East Knox 13; Cardington 9; Newark Catholic 7
• 106: Alex Bailey, Manchester pin Caleb Yates, Anthony Wayne 5:06
• 113: Joey Bowen, Manchester pin Chet Swartzmiller, Hopewell-Loudon 2:27
• 120: Alize Merrell, Madison dec. Jake Donahue, Washington 2-1
• 126: Keysean Amison, Perkins dec. Jacob Supina, St. Mary 5-2
• 132: Brandon Leynaud, Lexington dec. Carson Mills, Fredericktown 9-3
• 138: Colton Ullman, Loudonville dec. Drew Kinzel, Clear Fork 3-1 OT
• 145: Derek Gross, St. Paul dec. Jon Watkins, Lexington 7-3
• 152: Seth Boggs, Perkins pin Roman Williams, Columbian 2:37
• 160: Damion Vitt, Hopewell-Loudon pin Tucker Bender, Loudonville 3:13
• 170: Jesse Palser, Mansfield Senior dec. Hayden Miller, St. Paul 19-7
• 182: Drew Kasper, Lexington dec. Kyle Johnson, Northmor 17-3
• 195: Bailey Faust, Lexington pin Tristan Weirich, Ashland 1:49
• 220: Jerek Cropper, Manchester pin Kordell Chaney, Perkins 3:27
• 285: Deaken McCoy, Galion dec. Nate Temple, Lexington 4-3 OT
• 106: Kyle Murphy, Massillon dec. Lamonte Chapman, Fremont Ross 3-0
• 113: Travyion Scott, Fremont Ross dec. Logan Ball, Cambridge 9-1
• 120: Juwan Minniefield tech fall Joshua Wenhold, Manchester 17-1
• 126: Rico Puente, Fremont Ross tech fall Cody Moosman, Anthony Wayne 20-4
• 132: Vince Zitiello, Bay dec. Noah McCumbers, Massillon 5-1
• 138: Wes Fritz, St. Paul dec. Matt Salmon, Perkins 6-2
• 145: Chris Harris, Bellevue pin Tyler Grine, Fremont Ross 4:38
• 152: Jordan Weissinger, Fremont Ross by default over Drake Barnett, Galion
• 160: Collin Keil, Anthony Wayne pin Jacob Campbell, Black River :52
• 170: Stefan Johnson, Fremont Ross dec. Drew Lowery, Loudonville 6-3
• 182: Trent Newlan, Ashland dec Colton Lybarger, Fredericktown 8-6
• 195: John Mercer, Cambridge dec. Logan Vannest, Bellevue 10-2
• 220: Matt Beniard, Bay pin Jared Hoy, Bellevue 2:07
• 285: Tristen Roberts, Massillon pin Blake Cary, Loudonville 1:13
• 106: Carson Speelman, Madison dec. Cameron Gesnner, St. Mary 3-1
• 113: Mickey Baumberger, Madison dec. Cody Hutt, Anthony Wayne 7-2
• 120: Daniel McAfee, Fremont Ross dec. Max Baker, Lexington 6-2
• 126: Evan Reed, Cambridge dec. Carson McLe 6-4
• 132: Taylor Komives, Ontario by default over Luke Leonard, Bellevue
• 138: Chuck Mikelait, Lexington pin Colin Adkins 1:32.
• 145: Sam Neer, Northmor by forfeit over Sid Ohl, Ashland
• 152: Josh Weber, Loudonville dec. Chase Fetter, St. Mary 8-3
• 160: Tyler Mesnard, Columbian dec. Garrett Barth, Fremont Ross 4-3
• 170: Logan Barnett, Ashland pin Jake Pershing, Cambridge 4:34
• 182: Kieler Foster, Fremont Ross dec. Rashad Raymore, Norwalk 8-2
• 195: Ryan Slone, Black River pin Carson Dye,St. Mary 2:23
• 220: Brandon Myers, Mansfield Senior, dec. Michael Kahoun, Lexington 7-5
• 285: Grant Moyer, Bellevue dec. Devin Williams, Shelby 3-2