COLUMBUS — The Keystone Wildcats exceeded the expectations of most outsiders with a tournament run that brought a regional title and a berth at the inaugural Team Wrestling State Tournament.
The eighth-seeded Wildcats finally met their match Saturday morning against top-seeded Delta.
The Panthers reeled off three quick pins to take a 24-point lead, and Keystone won only three matches en route to a 59-13 first-round loss in Division III at Ohio State’s St. John Arena. Delta added two more easy victories to take home the state dual meet championship.
“We got some good experience down here,” Keystone coach Jim Pycraft Sr. said. “We got to wrestle a really good team that was solid from top to bottom. We knew that coming in. We were hoping to match up a little better with the coin toss, but we didn’t win that, so we were hoping to do the best that we could.
“The kids all had a good kid to wrestle and I believe they did the best they could. This is something you dream about — being able to bring a whole team down to the state tournament. That’s a fun thing just in itself.”
Delta freshman Jake Speiss (106) pinned Daniel Cropp in 28 seconds and junior Alex Dailey (113) pinned Matt Dobrilovic in 25 seconds for a quick 12-0 lead. Kyle Keller drew a forfeit at 120 to bump the lead to 18-0, and senior James Dailey pinned Keystone’s Dylan Stiner in 3:40 to make it 24-0.
“Looking at it on paper, I felt we could dominate with the matchups that we had,” Delta coach Anthony Carrizales said. “Keystone is a solid team, but I think the individual matchups worked out for us a little bit better. I give our kids a lot of credit for taking care of business. They’ve been wrestling really well and I’m proud of them.
“In a dual meet, it’s really important to start off with pins. You could see the other team kind of deflate being able to do that right off the bat. Jake is a hammer and we expect him to set the tone like he did, and we were able to follow that with some solid kids who went out and took care of business.”
Junior Logan Stiner finally got Keystone on the board with a 7-1 victory over Dustin Marteney. However, the Wildcats weren’t able to follow up with any momentum.
“I think this was a really good experience for the team,” Stiner said. “Everyone picked up on a couple of things. However, I think we could have done a lot better team-wise. I think the big court setting psyched us out. I think the big crowd psyched us out. I think the whole entire experience psyched us out.
“I know that I’m one of the top guys on this team and that I had to start something up.”
Delta rallied with four consecutive pins and a technical fall to take a commanding 53-3 lead with four weight classes remaining. But as they did throughout their tournament run, the Wildcat heavyweights came through.
First, sophomore 182-pounder Jacob Worthington defeated Conner Keller 9-1.
“It feels good to come out here and wrestle at state with the team,” Worthington said. “A lot of kids don’t get to experience this state tournament-like feel, from the arena to the hotel. I felt pretty good. I thought by winning in dominant fashion, I’d be able to restart our team. It worked for Bus (Jason Bustance) but not for everyone.”
After Corbin Chizmadia, despite leading 6-5, gave up a third-period pin to freshman Devon Richards at 195, junior 220-pounder Jason Bustance ended the dual on a positive note for the Wildcats.
Bustance pinned Blake Parker in 5:33 for Keystone’s only pinfall.
“For me personally, this was amazing,” Bustance said. “To be able to go out there and walk off with my head up feels really amazing. Thanks to the coaches for giving me the option of either wrestling at 220 or taking the forfeit at 285. It was a real good thing to do, and I feel like winning a match in this type of environment gives me a shot in the arm. Hopefully, I can come back here in three weeks and win some more matches.”
Worthington believed a reason for Keystone’s struggles was that some of his teammates were simply happy to have qualified for state.
“I felt like a lot of the guys got here and decided not to wrestle,” he said. “Just by being here, I think a lot of the guys felt like they were done proving themselves. Our team didn’t go out to wrestle like we had been training to. They just went out and didn’t care anymore because we won the regional title.
“My attitude was, whether we were winning by a lot or losing by a lot, I was going to go out and pin my kid. I try to always have that attitude whenever I wrestle. I tried to pin him, but he balled up and made it difficult.”
The Wildcats felt the chance to compete in a state environment just before sectionals was a positive, despite the defeat.
“A lot of these kids may have never gotten a chance to be on the floor during a state tournament, so for them to be able to do this was a great experience for them,” Pycraft said. “They were part of the picture, and it was fun for them. We all wanted them to do better than they did, but (Delta) had a solid team.
“We only have one senior, so most of these guys will be back. Hopefully we can get a few more kids out next year and get those weight classes full and fill in the holes so we can make another run at this.”
Added Stiner: “All together, I think this was a great experience for the team. Now, we can pick up this with confidence and carry it over to sectionals next weekend. This is the state tournament. Sectionals won’t feel as big as this. Districts won’t feel as big as this. Some of our kids will say, ‘Hey, we’ve been to bigger things than this,’ and they’ll step it up and possibly make it out and come back here in three weeks.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Delta 59, Keystone 13
106 — Jake Speiss (Delta) pinned Daniel Cropp (Keystone), :28
113 — Alex Dailey (Delta) pinned Matt Dobrilovic (Keystone), :25
120 — Kyle Keller (Delta) won by forfeit
126 — James Dailey (Delta) pinned Dillon Stiner (Keystone), 3:40
132 — Logan Stiner (Keystone) dec. Dustin Marteney (Delta), 7-1
138 — Christian Valentine (Delta) pinned Chris McKenzie (Keystone), 3:05
145 — Tyler Fahrer (Delta) pinned Ben Ochletree (Keystone), 1:54
152 — Todd Miller (Delta) pinned Clay Hartley (Keystone), 1:22
160 — Seth Colvin (Delta) pinned Joshua Fisher (Keystone), 2:21
170 — Jared Mattin (Delta) tech. fall Jeremy King (Keystone), 18-3
182 — Jacob Worthington (Keystone) maj. dec. Conner Keller (Delta), 9-1
195 — Devon Richards (Delta) pinned Corbin Chizmadia (Keystone), 5:17
220 — Jason Bustance (Keystone) pinned Blake Parker (Delta), 5:33
285 — Double forfeit.