The Amherst Comets came away with five individual championships and the elusive team title at the Bob Bailey Invitational at Bellevue High on Saturday.
The win comes a week after the Comets’ team championship at the Knights of Columbus tournament at Avon Lake. Amherst has had tough times finishing on top at both events — coming in second at Bellevue four times in the past 12 years, and finishing second at Avon Lake four times in the past six seasons.
“Usually we’re always runner-up at these things, so it’s great for the kids to see that all their hard work is paying off,” Comets coach Brian Cesear said. “We still have a lot of things we need to work on — a lot of things I saw that we still have to fix. The fact that we have so many things that we need to get better at and we were still able to win the tournament … that’s huge.
“Once we fix those things, we’re going to be running at full force.”
Winning individual championships for the Comets were Mark Matos at 120 pounds, Bryan DeRuchie at 132, Austin Williams at 145, C.J. Basinski at 152 and Dennis Breeding at 195. Other Lorain County wrestlers who claimed individual titles were North Ridgeville’s Drew Dickson at 113, and Vermilion’s Jason Anthony at 170.
“This weekend has been great, a lot of fun,” said Basinski, one of three Comets — with Matos and DeRuchie — who defended their Bellevue titles. “But the fun happened because of our preparation. We prepared for this tournament, we had long hard practices and those practices paid off.”
The Comets’ conditioning must have been a focal point during the early season practices. Three Amherst wrestlers won their titles in overtime — including Williams’ triple-overtime 2-1 decision.
“That match was exhausting,” said DeRuchie, who used a late reversal to force overtime and a takedown to win the match. “Winning a match in overtime is special, especially when it’s for a championship and you were down a couple points and you get it in the last couple seconds.
“It was nerve-racking. I could hear everyone in our section cheering for me when I got those two points.”
Dickson didn’t even have to wrestle in the finals for his title. There were only six wrestlers in the 113-pound weight class, so a pool tournament during the day session determined the six placements. Dickson, who won the 103-pound Bellevue title as a freshman, finished with a pinfall, a technical fall and three major decisions.
“I got five matches, five good matches,” said Dickson, who finished second at 103 last year as a sophomore. “I like this tournament because you find kids you want to wrestle, who will give you a good match. The tougher ones get you better. The easy ones don’t do anything for you.”
Anthony had all the toughness he could handle during his 9-5 decision over Toledo Woodmore’s Cody Lockhart in the final. Lockhart became increasingly aggravated during the match, and at one point threw a forearm shot into the back of the unprotected head of Anthony, who said he suffered a minor concussion during a match Thursday night.
“My headgear came off and he was a little frustrated so he started dropping some blows and it started getting out of hand,” Anthony said. “But I kept my composure and pulled out the win. I was trying to tap the top of his head to throw him off his game so I could take a shot, and I guess he took it the wrong way and started getting angry about it.”
There was nothing but smiles for Amherst, especially for Matos, a returning Division I state qualifier who was awarded the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler trophy.
“The four years I’ve been in high school we haven’t won either of these tournaments,” Matos said of the Bellevue and Avon Lake events. “So it’s nice to get these our senior year, and we have to keep working because there’s going to be even tougher competition in our future.”
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TEAM STANDINGS: Amherst 338, Western Reserve 253, Hudson 227, Toledo Woodmore 186, Bellevue 185, North Ridgeville 185, Holy Name 117, Vermilion 103, Cardington Lincoln 84, Port Clinton 76.
106 — First: Evan Ulinski (TW); Second: Evan Collier (NR); Third: Anthony Mendez (A); Fourth: Billy Buehl (H)
113 — First: Drew Dickson (NR); Second: Christian Lough (A); Third: Brandon White (H); Fourth: Nathan Beal (WR); Fifth: Colten Datkun (TW)
120 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Mark Matos (A) tech. fall Bobby Vedda (NR), 16-1. THIRD: Tyler Grys (WR) pinned Tyler Harris (A), :28.
126 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Chase Griffith (WR) dec. Nathan Gregory (H), 4-1. THIRD: Alex Verhiley (HN) pinned Robbie Cutlip (A), 2:02.
132 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Bryan DeRuchie (A) dec. Mark Carosella (NR), 5-3 (OT). THIRD: Robbie Peterman (PC) pinned Sean Szoch (H), 1:57.
138 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Dexter Emch (TW) dec. Damon Cheek (B), 6-2. THIRD: Alex Funderburg (A) tech. fall Mason Robson (WR), 15-0.
145 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Austin Williams (A) dec. Michael Coleman (H), 2-1 (3OT). THIRD: Bryce Williams (A) dec. Josh Sommers (WR), 8-6.
152 — CHAMPIONSHIP: C.J. Basinski (A) dec. Cody Ramage (WR), 8-1. THIRD: Gavin Beard (TW) pinned Matt Zenowicz (B), 2:04.
160 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Skylar Caldwell (CL) dec. Dilan Buckner (B), 13-8. THIRD: Jacob Carrisales (PC) def. Kenny Bement (WR) by default.
170 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Jason Anthony (V) dec. Cody Lockhart (TW), 9-5. THIRD: Derek Eibon (A) dec. Colton Jenkins (CL), 4-3.
182 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Brendan Adkinson (B) dec. Mason Doyle (H), 7-1. THIRD: Phil Hicks (NR) dec. Deven Ventura (HN), 10-3.
195 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Dennis Breeding (A) dec. Alex Veltre (HN), 3-1 (OT). THIRD: Michael Kirkpatrick (PC) pinned Mike Esler (NR), 3:29.
220 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Marc Trommer (H) pinned Nick Mazzaro (B), 2:57. THIRD: Crew Cochran (CL) pinned Stephan Moody (A), 2:20.