The Redmen exploited the advantage the Pioneers gave them and came away with a 43-33 win in the second round of the inaugural state team tournament at Brecksville High.
“We’re starting to see there are some flaws to it I think,” Parma coach Chris Finowski said. “The mid-week weigh-in is kind of troublesome. Now we have the conference tournaments coming this weekend … I think some teams are going to hold some guys back.”
That’s exactly what Elyria did with 113-pound junior Armando Torres, 132-pound senior Brandon Egnor — a 2012 Division I state qualifier — and 195-pound junior Connor Kamczyc. All three wrestlers are in the top 16 of the recently released Intermat rankings by Josh Lowe.
“You’re trying to focus on the end of the year and get guys ready for March,” Pioneers coach Erik Burnett said. “That’s what played into here. You want to win every match, but a lot of times what your goals are at the end of the year individually supersede what’s going on in January.
“That’s just kind of how I do it, right or wrong.”
The primary issue that benched the Elyria trio was the weight cut needed to participate in the team tournament dual meets. The wrestlers cut weight to compete in last Wednesday’s opening round, again for Saturday’s Senior Night home dual and will again weigh in this weekend for two days of Northeast Ohio Conference tournament wrestling.
“I don’t know if you can find a viable solution,” Burnett said. “A lot of conferences wrestle on Thursdays — and would you want to do it on a Monday coming off a weekend? Maybe have it at a different time during the year, maybe earlier in the season.
“I do like the concept, and I’m sure the kinks can be worked out.”
The Pioneers still looked like they might down their NOC rival after taking a quick 16-5 lead thanks to three freshmen victories — a forfeit for Josh Kurtz at 106 pounds, a second-period pin for Nico O’Dor at 113 and a major decision for Ben Darmstadt at 120. O’Dor and Darmstadt were wrestling up one weight class to help fill the holes in the lineup.
“We could have easily won that match,” Darmstadt said. “We gave away extra points where we should have gotten extra points. I’m an example of that because I got lazy on top and I only got a major instead of maybe a tech(nical fall) or a pin.”
The Redmen roared back with a pair of pins to take a 17-16 lead before the teams traded wins for the next five matches. Winning for Elyria was senior Alex Parker — also wrestling up a weight — with a second-period pin at 152 and junior Taylor Workman with a technical fall at 170.
“As a wrestler, you’re made to wrestle … whether you’re born with it or you develop it over time,” Parker said. “I just went out and wrestled the match like I was wrestling at 145. There was no difference to me.”
The Elyria wrestler said that Parma senior Tony Ventura — the Redmen’s normal 152-pounder — was a little stronger than guys he normally faced, which only made his pin that much more satisfying.
“It definitely is a confidence boost to know that you can bump up and still wrestle to your full potential and go out and beat the bigger guys,” Parker said. “I don’t think a lot of people have heard of me this season and I want to make a name for myself. I feel it’s my time to shine.”
Parma senior Josh Zeck picked up a pin at 182 to again give the Redmen the lead, the Pioneers forfeited at 195 and Parma sophomore Matt Driver scored a 27-second pin at 220 to clinch the victory.
Elyria senior heavyweight T.J. Halstead finished the meet with a 55-second pin.
“Parma is always tough, they do so many things well,” Burnett said. “We had the majority of our starters here and they got an opportunity to get some work in. Nico didn’t want to take a forfeit (at 106). I left it up to him and wanted to move up, which I thought was pretty cool for a young kid.
“Overall (tonight was) a positive thing.”
Parma 43, Elyria 33
106 — Josh Kurtz (E) won by forfeit. 113 — Nico O’Dor (E) pinned Anthony Ramos, 3:41. 120 — Tyler Workman (P) tech. fall Darrian Meadows, 15-0. 126 — Ben Darmstadt (E) maj. dec. Chayse Csongedi, 20-6. 132 — T.J. Levitsky (P) pinned Mike Dolan, 3:50. 138 — Kyle Workman (P) pinned Jesse Orantek, 1:54. 145 — David Docherty (P) dec. Chad Shaffer, 6-4. 152 — Alex Parker (E) pinned Tony Ventura, 2:54. 160 — Patrick Juhn (P) pinned Walker Snowden, 2:36. 170 — Taylor Workman (E) tech. fall Jesse Karban, 16-1. 182 — Josh Zeck (P) pinned Dylan Reis, 2:30. 195 — Justin Halaska (P) won by forfeit. 220 — Matt Driver (P) pinned Tyler Giorgini, :27. 285 — T.J. Halstead (E) pinned Dylan Halaska, :55.