CLEVELAND — The opening day of the Division I district tournament at Cleveland State was as memorable for the wrestlers who were missing as for those who battled their way into the championship semifinals.
Lorain County saw a pair of sectional champions — Elyria’s Brandon Egnor at 132 pounds and Lorain’s Luther Washington at 160 — end their seasons before one match was wrestled at Woodling Gym.
A tournament official confirmed that Washington was sidelined due to a case of pinkeye, while Egnor was eliminated when he couldn’t make weight.
“I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning and I was about six pounds over,” Egnor said. “I got to the wrestling room around 11:20 and I was down to 4.4, then I ran until 12:20 and I could only get to 1.8 over.
“It’s bad. I put in all this hard work, battle my way here and then don’t make weight. I let a lot of people down. I let myself down.”
The county wrestlers who did compete Friday night had moderate success. Amherst and Elyria each put three wrestlers into the semifinals, while Lorain and North Ridgeville finished with one. The St. Edward wrestler who hails from North Ridgeville — 113-pounder Sal Corrao — also made it to the semifinals.
Many other local wrestlers won their opening match before losing in the quarterfinals, and all 41 of them are still alive heading into today’s action.
“Well, we didn’t go 22-0,” Amherst coach Brian Cesear said. “There’s always some matches that you thought you could have won. We saw a lot of good things out there and we saw some things that we’re going to need to fix before the end of the weekend.
“Overall, though, not bad.”
Bryan DeRuchie was the first Amherst wrestler to go 2-0 Friday night, edging Avon’s Max Kuchenrither in the opener and Brunswick’s Zack Taylor in the 126-pound quarterfinals. Mike Wearsch also won a pair of decisions at 160, and Dennis Breeding had a pin and shutout at 195.
“They got the job done, they got their hands raised,” Cesear said. “At this point in the game, that’s all you can ask for.”
Elyria’s three semifinalists were Armando Torres at 113 pounds, Ben Darmstadt at 120 and Taylor Workman at 160.
Torres posted matching 15-0 technical falls in his two matches, Darmstadt had a technical fall and a pin and Workman had a 1-0 win over Wadsworth’s Shane Mast in the first round before pinning Anthony Wayne’s Garrett Switzer in the quarterfinals.
Switzer had a rare district bye in the first round, as Washington was slated to be his opponent and the Lorain sectional alternate at the weight was already filling in for injured Midview wrestler Zach Frambach.
“I came up a little short at the sectional last weekend, so this feels pretty good,” Workman said of his 2-0 start. “I think it was one of those deals where any one of three of us could have beat each other there.”
Workman and Washington squared off in the state dual tournament a month ago, and the Titans wrestler grabbed the overtime victory.
“It wasn’t until after weigh-ins that I saw that he wasn’t wrestling,” Workman said. “It’s too bad, because once I saw the brackets I kind of looked forward to a rematch with him.”
The other two county school semifinalists were North Ridgeville’s Drew Dickson at 120 pounds and Lorain’s Eli Garcia at 138. Dickson followed a 17-6 win in the opener with a 4-2 win over Fremont Ross’ Bailey Mezinger in the quarterfinals. Garcia won a pair of decisions to reach the semifinals.
Garcia was able to breathe easy after his 2-0 start. He lost in the first round of last year’s district tournament and failed to reach the state tournament — a feat he accomplished as a sophomore.
“I was definitely anxious, maybe a little nervous,” Garcia said. “I’m relieved now. It’s good to be in the semifinals. I had a tough match to get in there, because (Amherst’s) Alex (Funderburg) and I know each other and we’ve wrestled several times. He’s always tough.”
But the toughest moment of the night belonged to Egnor, who saw his career end from the bleachers. It was the latest in a string of non-wrestling eliminations the Pioneers have suffered — including older brother Kodie also missing weight before his junior year and Torres failing a skin test before last year’s district tournament.
Brandon’s situation was a bit different.
“I know how he feels, but the thing that kept me optimistic when it happened to me was that I knew I still had two more years left,” Torres said. “I’m upset about this. It really hasn’t sunk in. I feel bad for him, but this is one of those situations where he brought it on his own shoulders.”
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him @shaunbennettct on Twitter.
TEAM SCORES: St. Edward 114, Oregon Clay 81, Brecksville 80, Perrysburg 66, Elyria 46.5, Amherst 34, Wadsworth 32, Nordonia 31, Brunswick 27.5, Fremont Ross 17, Medina Highland 15, Maumee 15, Westlake 14, Toledo Whitmer 13, North Ridgeville 12, Akron Firestone 12, Strongsville 12, Ashland 12, Lorain 7, Olmsted Falls 7, Cloverleaf 7, Wooster 7, Toledo St. Francis deSales 6, Findlay 5, Mansfield 5, North Olmsted 4, Copley 4, Sylvania Southview 4, Toledo St. John’s Jesuit 2, Avon 0, Avon Lake 0, John Marshall 0, Lakewood 0, Midview 0, Berea 0, Medina 0, Anthony Wayne 0, Holland Springfield 0, Sylvania Northview 0, Lima 0, Marion Harding 0.
106 — Tony DeCesare (Nordonia) vs. Josh Heil (Brunswick); L.J. Bentley (St. Edward) vs. Austin Assad (Brecksville)
113 — Armando Torres (Elyria) vs. Sal Corrao (St. Edward/North Ridgeville); Aaron Assad (Brecksville) vs. Jared Davis (Oregon Clay)
120 — Drew Dickson (North Ridgeville) vs. Richie Screptock (Oregon Clay); Austin Hiles (St. Edward) vs. Ben Darmstadt (Elyria)
126 — Justin DeMicco (Brecksville) vs. Adam Salti (Olmsted Falls); Bryan DeRuchie (Amherst) vs. Chance Driscoll (St. Edward)
132 — Alec Herhold (Perrysburg) vs. Sonny Lucas (Brecksville); Gavin Nelson (Oregon Clay) vs. Dean Heil (St. Edward)
138 — Mike DeCesare (Nordonia) vs. Eli Garcia (Lorain); Colin Heffernan (St. Edward) vs. Mathias Zollinger (Wadsworth)
145 — Austin Strnad (Brecksville) vs. Edgar Bright (St. Edward); Wyatt Music (Ashland) vs. Ryan Roth (Perrysburg)
152 — Peyton Geary (Fremont Ross) vs. Markus Scheidel (St. Edward); Damon Dominique (Oregon Clay) vs. Robbie Bosley (Wadsworth)
160 — Quinton Hiles (Brecksville) vs. Mike Wearsch (Amherst); Nick Stencel (Oregon Clay) vs. Taylor Workman (Elyria)
170 — Matt Stencel (Oregon Clay) vs. Tyler Hughes (Brunswick); Rocco Caywood (Perrysburg) vs. Tim Knipl (Wadsworth)
182 — Edward Silva (Oregon Clay) vs. Domenic Abounader (St. Edward); Logan Paul (Westlake) vs. Kadin Llewellyn (Perrysburg)
195 — Adam Kluk (Medina Highland) vs. Johnny Arroyo (Maumee); Dennis Breeding (Amherst) vs. Josh Murphy (Brecksville)
220 — Parker Knapp (St. Edward) vs. Austin Linden (Brecksville); Alex Woicehovich (Nordonia) vs. Mark Delas (Perrysburg)