EATON TWP. — Midview coach Shawn Bristow envisioned a better debut when he took over the program this year. The Middies finished 14th out of 15 teams at the season-opening Knights of Columbus tournament at Avon Lake, then were swept in their first two dual meets last week.
So it was no surprise Bristow was smiling after the Middies picked up a 50-30 win over Elyria Catholic on Wednesday night in a West Shore Conference dual meet.
“We’ve been working hard to turn it around,” Bristow said. “We’ve been talking to the kids about technique, technique, technique. So it’s very important that we keep moving forward after this win.”
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The meet started at 106 pounds, and both teams felt the pressure of needing a good start. Elyria Catholic was giving up forfeits at 152, 170 and 182, while Midview was forfeiting 220 and knew the Kuchta brothers were at the back of the Panthers lineup.
“It was very important to start fast, especially with those two waiting,” Bristow said. “We knew they were a tough team, they have a nice lineup.”
Midview (1-2, 1-1 WSC) won the first three matches — Zach Carte (106) and Josh Gabor (120) picked up pins, and Sam Taylor won a decision — to grab a 15-0 lead.
Taylor’s 12-5 win over EC’s Mike Filiaggi was a key early match. Filiaggi entered the match at 7-0 before being handed the first loss of his high school career.
“I thought we had a good chance at 113 (pounds),” Panthers coach Tony Filiaggi, Mike’s father, said. “(Taylor) looked extremely strong and Mike never game up. He shot at the very end … he keeps his hips down and maybe that match goes into overtime.
“I think that 113 really changed the momentum for us and it changed the way we approached the rest of the lineup.”
Filiaggi scored with a takedown early in the first period and Taylor evened the score with a reversal. Filiaggi chose down to start the second and scored again with a reversal, but Taylor again reversed late in the period to knot the score at 4 going into the third.
Taylor had a couple clutch third-period takedowns to put the match away.
“Filiaggi scored first, but the one good thing you’ll get out of Taylor at 113 is he’ll go six minutes no matter who it is,” Bristow said. “He’ll keep fighting until the end and it kind of paid off. He went six minutes and got that win.”
Mason Harsar finally put the Panthers (6-2, 2-1) on the board with a pin, then Drew Schatz pulled the momentum back toward the Middies with a third-period pin of Sean Kilbane, who also entered the match with a 7-0 record.
“They met twice last year,” Tony Filiaggi said. “The first time he stuck Sean, the second time they met (Schatz) beat him in overtime. So we thought the advantage was for Sean to get on his toes, have a quick first shot and catch him flat-footed. We did, but he was extremely strong and ran the bar really well. He looked like he made a lot of improvement since the last season.”
Schatz is the only current senior — and returning district qualifier — in the Middies lineup and said his performance on the mat wasn’t as important as his performance in the locker room.
“Before the match I went in the back room and told them, ‘Guys, we have to give it our all,’” Schatz said. “We can’t lay down to this team. If we lay down they’re going to come out and give us all they’ve got. So when they’re pushing us, we have to push back. We can’t give it up.”
Tony Lupico followed with a technical fall at 138, which mathematically clinched the match for the Middies, but J.P. Morris added a pinfall win at 145 for good measure.
The Panthers finished strong with pins by Josh Pierce, Austin Kuchta and Adam Kuchta, but it was just for individual gain at that point.
“If we’re losing, I just want to go out there and do my best and show the rest of the team how it’s done,” Adam Kuchta said. “Show them how hard I worked to get where I’m at and show them what they need to do in practice … lead by example, that’s what I try to do.”
Kuchta bumped up from 220 to 285 for the final match of the meet, earning a first-period pin over Midview’s John Nowagarski.
“I like going up a weight class,” Kuchta said. “I think it’s a bigger challenge to go up against a guy who’s got 40 pounds on me. I like to work and if I have a forfeit (looming), I’m going to go up a weight class to get my spot.”
Midview 50, Elyria Catholic 30
106 — Zach Carte (M) pinned Jose Gracia, 2:42. 113 — Sam Taylor (M) dec. Mike Filiaggi, 12-5. 120 — Josh Gabor (M) pinned Nick Saxton, 2:44. 126 — Mason Harsar (EC) pinned Austin Lowe, 1:38. 132 — Drew Schatz (M) pinned Sean Kilbane, 5:14. 138 — Tony Lupico (M) tech. fall P.J. Hruby, 15-0. 145 — J.P. Morris (M) pinned Luke Whitacre, :40. 152 — Jacob Fanta (M) won by forfeit. 160 — Kolby Kirschfelder (M) won by forfeit. 170 — Josh Pierce (EC) pinned David Croftcheck, 2:20. 182 — Derek Ruffner (M) won by forfeit. 195 — Austin Kuchta (EC) pinned Tyler Strebel, :45. 220 — Andre Torres (EC) won by forfeit. 285 — Adam Kuchta (EC) pinned John Nowagarski, 1:30.