The Bees came away with a 46-16 victory, but everyone involved felt the meet was a bit more competitive.
“The final score wasn’t a good indicator of the match itself,” Amherst coach Brian Cesear said. “We won four (matches) and they won 10, but we had two forfeits so I look at it as we won four and they won eight. Out of those eight that they won, we were in three or four of them … they were close matches.”
The Comets started strong against the highly touted Bees — ranked No. 4 in Ohio and No. 26 in the nation by Intermat.com.
Bryce Williams opened with a third-period pin of Brecksville’s Joe Dimitrijeus at 145 pounds, and Mike Wearsch banged out an 11-3 major decision over Danny Pushpak at 160 to make it 10-3 after three weight classes.
“Bryce coming out right off the bat and getting the (pin) was huge — it kind of set the tone,” Cesear said. “Starting at 145 kind of worked out a little bit for us, I thought.”
Williams battled back and forth with Dimitrijeus, but always stayed in control of the match. He was leading on the scoreboard when he managed to grab the pinfall.
“I’ve actually never started a dual before, so it was kind of cool but kind of scary at the same time,” Williams said. “I wanted to get my team pumped up and get a win, but if I lose then it’s not starting the dual out very good.
“My brother (Austin) had wrestled the kid before at the Bellevue tournament, so I kind of knew what I was up against.”
Unfortunately, the rest of the Comets knew what they were up against, too.
Brecksville’s Quinton Hiles (170) and Austin Linden (220) breezed to first-period pins and the Assad brothers — Austin (113) and Aaron (120) — were given forfeits by the Comets.
The bonus points became too much for Amherst to overcome.
“It’s good to be in tough matches,” Brecksville coach Todd Haverdill said. “Don’t get me wrong, you want to go out there and dominate people and send a message, but at the end of the day if you want to go to the state tournament and you want to be on the state podium and you want to win a state title, then you’re probably going to be in close matches. So it’s good to be in some tight ones.”
The regular-season conference dual kicks off a condensed series for the schools. They will be back at it Wednesday in the second round of the inaugural state team tournament at Brecksville, will meet at the SWC tournament a few days later and will both be at the Division I district tournament at Cleveland State University.
“If you’ve got some good kids, they tend to wrestle each other a lot,” Haverdill said. “We could wrestle them tonight, then Wednesday, then in the conference and at districts. At the end of the day, if we win the first three and they beat us in a go-to (state) match, then they won the right one. So the idea is to keep getting better and make sure we wrestle our best match at the district and state tournament.”
Amherst also saw good matches from heavyweight Stephan Moody, who scored a reversal in the second overtime to pull out a 3-1 win over Rich LeAnza, and Bryan DeRuchie, who edged Grayson Davis 6-4 at 132 pounds.
Four of Brecksville’s win were by four points or fewer.
“You always want to wrestle competition that is at your level or better, and Brecksville has had a quality team for the last 10 years,” Cesear said. “Those close matches are the ones you have to win at district to make it to state. Those are the matches you have to win at the state tournament to place. So the more times we can put our kids in those situations the better off they’ll be when they really count.”
But Thursday night’s match counted plenty to some of the Comets … as will the next few times they meet up with the Bees.
“Any time I get a pin it feels great, especially against Brecksville because I’m not a very big fan of them,” Bryce Williams said. “I feel that if you beat them once, you can beat them again. It’s nice because going into (the SWC tournament) we know what they do. Half of our kids might be able to beat their kids now.”
Brecksville 46, Amherst 16
106 — Jarod Bronstrup (B) maj. dec. Mike Falencki, 12-1. 113 — Austin Assad (B) won by forfeit. 120 — Aaron Assad (B) won by forfeit. 126 — Matt Topoloy (B) pinned Christian Lough, 2:48. 132 — Bryan DeRuchie (A) dec. Grayson Davis, 6-4. 138 — Sonny Lucas (B) dec. Alex Funderburg, 5-2. 145 — Bryce Williams (A) pinned Joe Dimitrijeus, 5:24. 152 — Austin Strnard (B) dec. Austin Williams, 5-3. 160 — Mike Wearsch (A) maj. dec. Danny Pushpak, 11-3. 170 — Quinton Hiles (B) pinned Mike Sliman, 1:47. 182 — Troy Lang (B) dec. Derek Eibon, 4-2. 195 — Josh Murphy (B) dec. Dennis Breeding, 9-5. 220 — Austin Linden (B) pinned Mike Figuerora, 1:04. HVY — Stephan Moody (A) dec. Rich LeAnza, 3-1 (OT).